Report on the Obstacles in accessing Proper and Correction Documentation.

The right to access employment, social services, education and other services essential to a dignified life are inextricably linked to the possession of personal documents, such as an identity document or a residence document. These identification documents usually display a person’s name and surname, country of birth, nationality, date of birth, country of residence and also address.

An identity or residence document contains a person’s information which also includes the person’s legal status in the issuing country. In this context, the legal status would refer to the law or regulation on which their right to reside in a particular country is based.

The end result of lack of documentation is an increased risk of poverty and social exclusion borne of the inability to secure regular and stable employment, healthcare and education. Prone to discrimination, exploitation and abuse, undocumented or incorrectly documented persons’ risk remaining in the legal and social shadows unable to regularise their situations and set on the path of self-sufficiency and self-reliance.

Findings of the Report

The Documentation = Employability report was written within the ambit of the Documentation = Employability: Support Services for the Documentation of Various Communities. Through the provision of our services, we have identified the personal and/or institutional obstacles preventing persons from being appropriately documented through client interactions and also meetings with stakeholders, such as homeless NGOs and migrant-led NGOs.

We have also carried out desk-research covering publicly available academic literature, published government policies and other relevant reports and studies.

The main recommendations for the problems identified can be found below, however for a full examination of the issues at hand read the full report.


  • Grant legal aid to trans and non-binary persons to ensure documentation that reflects their gender identity.
  • Waive Identity Malta fees for trans and non-binary persons when changing their documentation.
  • Enact legislation that permits a change in name for persons wishing indicate “X” on their identity documents.
  • Allow for the change of name and gender or the inclusion of the “X” marker in residence permit for TCNs, including persons with protection on the basis of an affidavit containing a declaration by the TCN that the gender assigned sex at birth does not correspond to the lived gender, and a specification of name and gender that the TCN would like to be registered.
  • Set up an official temporary address for homeless persons in order for them to be issued with a temporary Identity Card which can be renewed on verification of their status on a bi-monthly basis.
  • Provide for Jobsplus to issue employment licences on the presentation of other forms of documentation, such as a valid passport or driver’s licence.
  • Ensure that pregnant women retain ‘worker’ status for 12 months under the free movement rights provided by EU law.
  • Ensure that this 12-month period contributes to the period of time necessary to acquire the right of permanent residence under Directive 2004/38 for EU citizens.
  • Reduce the fee for citizenship applications by naturalisation.
  • Amend the law to include the obligation of the Minister to give reasons for the refusal of citizenship applications.
  • Introduce a facilitated naturalisation process for children who have been residing in Malta long-term.
  • Amend the law to include the right of appeal for refused citizenship applications.
  • Increase capacity within the IPA in order to register asylum seekers and issue their ASD within a reasonable time.
  • Establish a procedure where all asylumseekers are released from detention with their ASDs.
  • Ensure that the details included in the ASD are correct and reflect the true name and status of the applicant/s.
  • Grant family units a uniform protection status, being the highest protection that any one of them would be entitled to. In specific, grant reuniting family members derivative international protection, and not the status of “family member of”.
  • Grant children born to protection beneficiaries a protection certificate to reflect their parents’ status and issued with a birth certificate and residence card reflecting that.
  • Issue family members reuniting with refugees a protection certificate that reflects the status of the family member they are reuniting with.
  • Establish a short and reasonable timeframe within which to issue residence cards to reuniting family members of protection beneficiaries, considering that the application to be reunited should have already been approved.
  • Re-open applications for the SRA to those who satisfy the criteria contained in the SRA policy.
  • Protect the right to the unity of the family when issuing SRA documentation.
  • Recognise the homemakers, vulnerability, illness and involuntary unemployment as such and without penalisation during the renewal process.
  • Allow for the issuance of residence cards through the use of a temporary address set up for this purpose.
  • Issue public guidelines that are used in the identification and determination process of victims of trafficking by the police.
  • Amend the legislation to allow for EU nationals who are victims of trafficking to be issued with a residence card on the basis of S.L. 217.07.
  • Allow for the facilitated issuance of autonomous residence permits for victims of domestic violence and any of their dependent children.
  • Allow for the facilitated issuance of autonomous residence permits of TCN spouses or partners after 5 years.
  • Allow for access to the labour market of TCNs partners of Maltese nationals.
  • Amend the law to reflect the right of Maltese and EU children residing in Malta to have the Maltese state allow for their TCN parent to reside and work in Malta.
  • Issue the requirements that need to be satisfied in order to be eligible for the Zambrano-type permits, together with guidelines on how to satisfy such requirements.
  • Make the process of application less burdensome and more reflective of EU and national jurisprudence, specifically with reference to financial stability, bank accounts and regular entry.
  • Facilitate the issuance of residence permits based on humanitarian consideration and shorten the timelines.
  • Issue guidelines to applicants on what is considered to be a humanitarian reason in the broad sense and what type of 45 Article 17A(2), ibid. documentation can be submitted to strengthen the application.
  • Broaden the eligibility criteria for Temporary Humanitarian Protection to include issues relating to gender and domestic violence, LGBTIQ+ individuals, pregnancy and the situation of the country.
  • Publicise the guidelines and procedures used by the IPA to examine new and renewal applications for Temporary Humanitarian Protection.
  • Amend the International Protection Act to include the right to an effective appeal in those instances where there was a rejection decision on eligibility for THP.
  • Amend the International Protection Act to include the right of appeal an IPA decision to revoke, end or not renew THP.
  • Grant THP applicants a document confirming their status as such, with related rights that – as a minimum – secure dignified livelihood.
  • Ensure that any person appealing any IPA decision relating to the granting or withdrawal of THP are given an identification document valid throughout the appeals procedure.
  • Establish an effective and efficient statelessness determination procedure, with an identification and referral mechanism for individuals who are undocumented and at risk of statelessness.
  • Introduce a stateless protection status within the local legal system.
  • Raise awareness about statelessness among relevant Government institutions that may encounter stateless persons, such as immigration and asylum authorities, citizenship authorities and civil registries among others.
  • Accede to the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
  • Amend the Maltese Citizenship Act to address the shortcomings in relation to stateless children and children born to unmarried Maltese men.

For more information please contact carlacamilleri@aditus.org.mt.


This publication has been funded by the European Social Fund, Cohesion Policy 2014 – 2020 Operational Programme II investing in human capital to create more opportunities and promote the wellbeing of society.

This publication reflects the views only of the author, and the Parliamentary Secretariat for European Funds cannot be held responsible for the content or any use which may be made of the information contained therein.


Paperless and Invisible: the importance of having residence papers

Documentation & Rights

For most people, it is hard to understand the importance of having a residence card and the repercussions on daily life not having one can have. A residence card or permit contains vital information that is relied upon by authorities, healthcare providers and private persons, such as employers. It can also determine what rights that person is entitled to depending on the basis of his or her residence in Malta. These rights include the right to enter the labour market under certain conditions depending, again, on the type of residence card or permit to stay that a person holds.

Therefore, although it sounds obvious, the implications of either not holding a residence card or holding a residence card based on the incorrect law has far reaching effects for the individual. Without holding a residence card or permit an individual remains at the fringes of society, invisible and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

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