Hal Far, Malta - 20 August, 2012: Two Sub-Saharan migrants enter the Hal Far Hangar Site open centre after buying some vegetables in Hal Far, Malta, on 20 August, 2012.
The Hangar Open Center is a field with an ex-aircraft hangar which, until 2011, included Swiss Red Cross tents in a dark, non lit space in very poor conditions and with inflamable oil on the floor. Today, the hangar is closed and the migrants live in 34 external containers with no water.
The Open Centres in Malta serve as a temporary accomodation facility, but they ended becoming permanent accomodation centres, except for those immigrants who receive subsidiary protection or refugee status and that are sent to countries such as the United States, Germany, Poland, and others. All immigrants who enter in Malta illegally are detained. Upon arrival to Malta, irregular migrants and asylum seekers are sent to one of three dedicated immigration detention facilities. Once apprehended by the authorities, immigrants remain in detention even after they apply for refugee status. detention lasts as long as it takes for asylum claims to be determined. This usually takes months; asylum seekers often wait five to 10 months for their first interview with the Refugee Commissioner. Asylum seekers may be detained for up to 12 months: at this point, if their claim is still pending, they are released and transferred to an Open Center.
Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times