Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Malta, together with University of Malta senior lecturer Maria Pisani, is starting a research programme on youth transitions for unaccompanied minors in Malta.

The study will be focusing on how young asylum seekers transition into adulthood within the context of forced migration, as well as how they perceive, experience and navigate this journey towards independence. The study will also look into the socioeconomic and legal challenges that arise.

Participants will be supporting the JRS Malta efforts to inform and strengthen the asylum process for unaccompanied minors who seek asylum in Malta.

The study will be conducted through a series of interviews with participants.

As things currently stand, in Malta, the process for unaccompanied minors within the migrant community is particularly riddles with hurdles. The court that was invested with the powers of making decisions on Care Orders is the juvenile court and since it operates within a criminal jurisdiction, it had been very hard to prove that unaccompanied minors are indeed minors and unaccompanied because this has to be proven beyond reasonable doubt.

In fact, for the past year and a half no care order was issued. The law has recently been amended and the juvenile court has been put under civic jurisdiction (when it deals with unaccompanied minors care orders).