When the pandemic came around in 2020, the number of boat arrivals remained steady up until autumn, which saw arrivals decrease suddenly.
From then on, arrivals figures reached 838 people in 2021 and 444 people in 2022.
A spokesperson from the Home Affairs Ministry said that a significant number of these people are no longer in Malta as they have been relocated to other EU member states or have returned to their country of origin. Others might have left the country without renouncing their status.
The decline in arrivals coincides with the signing of a memorandum of understanding on illegal migration between Malta and Libya. The scope of the memorandum was to enhance communication between the two countries.
“Indeed, the decrease in the number of illegal arrivals from Libya is greatly attributed to the collaboration between the two countries,” the ministry told MaltaToday.
As part of the memorandum, Malta is hosting a Libyan officer who is stationed at the Malta-Libya Coordination Centre in Malta.
The MoU was signed in May 2020 for a three-year period to be renewed automatically for another year.