To better understand women’s experiences of asylum in Malta, the focus was refugee women, defined as having been recognized as in need of some form of humanitarian protection – subsidiary, temporary or Convention refugee status.
Malta was chosen for several reasons:
- First, at the time it was selected, the country was experiencing an increasing number of female migrants arriving by boat and seeking asylum.
- Second, one of the official languages of Malta is English, the native language of the researchers.
- Finally, as part of the EU since 2004, Malta is obliged to apply the common European asylum procedures.
These procedures have been largely developed over the past decade and their impact on women has received limited academic attention.
This is particularly true of the Dublin II Regulation, which prevents on-migration by restricting asylum applications to the country of entry into the EU. This regulation places great emphasis on countries at the border, like Malta.
Interviews were conducted with 26 women with refugee status in Malta, using qualitative methods aimed at drawing out women’s daily-lived experience following their arrival in Malta.
To further contextualize the research, interviews were also conducted with two representatives from the Maltese Government and two representatives from non-government organizations operating in Malta. The government agencies interviewed were responsible for overseeing migration and border control.