Workers sleeping in cow shed  wake-up call for Malta

With tourist season raising prices everywhere, migrant workers had no recourse but to live in unhygienic accomodations meant to hold livestock. 

Daiva Repeckaite
Daiva Repeckaite NewsMavens, Malta
Workers sleeping in cow shed  wake-up call for Malta - NewsMavens
Cow shed. Pixabay

Why this story matters:

Many migrants are desperate to find work, and, when stuck in joblessness-ridden Italy, they quickly discover that Malta's booming economy offers more opportunities. This was the case for 120 persons who were evicted from a cow shed last week in a police operation in Malta.

The Prime Minister stated that the government was working on sending them back to Italy, as they didn't hold a valid work permit in Malta. Students, workers and just about everyone else can move freely in the EU, but not refugees and asylum seekers.

The Maltese media described them as 'migrants' and didn't specify what their status was in Italy.

But it is an emerging pattern that many people travel to Malta to seek work while they are waiting for their asylum case to be processed in Italy.

As such, they cannot take advantage of any protection offered to asylum seekers. It was not clear from media reports whether the men had been directed to Maltese NGOs, as refugees should be according to procedure. For all the Maltese authorities care, these were Italian residents who could not afford any reasonable accommodation on the overpriced Mediterranean island.

Details from the story:

  • About 120 migrants, many of whom came to Malta from Italy, were kicked out of the farm in the limits of Qormi as part of enforcement action by the Planning Authority.
  • They paid their €100 monthly rent for their beds in a cow shed and shared bathrooms that were later declared a health hazard.
  • The place was closed because its change of use from a farm to a place of residence had not been sanctioned by a planning permit. However, many of them couldn't find anywhere else to live during the tourist season in Malta.
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