Marsa, Malta - 17 August, 2012: Sub-saharan migrants play pool in one of the recreation rooms of the Marsa Open Centre, in Marsa, Malta, on 17 August, 2012.
The Marsa Open Centre's capacity is of 650 people, most of which are from Somalia. The centre's popoulation is composed of immigrants who received subsidary protection, asylum seekers (immigrants who applied and wait for their case to be handled), and rejected asylum seekers.
The Open Centres in Malta serve as a temporary accomodation facility, but they ended becoming permanent accomodation centres. 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. The migrants who do not receive neither refugee status of subsidiary protection are considered illegal, though living in the open centers. They end up living in Malta for months or years, while some go aboad illegally.
Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times