The migrants who were evicted from converted stables in Marsa during a raid yesterday have all been freed from police custody after it was ascertained that they were living in Malta legally.
A police spokesperson confirmed with Lovin Malta that 47 people aged between 19 and 45 were interrogated by Immigration police following yesterday’s raid so as to verify their immigration position.
“Once this was verified and confirmed that they hold residence permits, they were all immediately released,” the spokesperson said.
The migrants have been left homeless and must now find new accommodation or sleep on the streets.
Police raided stables in Marsa early this morning… finding around 80 migrants living in squalid conditions
Posted by Lovin Malta on Wednesday, July 17, 2019
The eviction operation was carried out by Planning Authority enforcement officials on the grounds that the landlord had breached the terms of his permit.
The Planning Authority had in 2017 approved the change of use of the stables into four residential units, but issued an enforcement notice on 1st July “after taking into account the provisions of the development plans and other substantial considerations”.
The PA gave the landlord 16 days to get in line with the permit and its enforcement officials swooped in once the deadline was up.
The police were only involved in terms of assessing the immigration status of the migrants as it is not a crime for landlords to rent out properties in abject conditions.
The migrants said they each paid €100 a month in rent and, since there were at least 47 of them, this means means the landlord stood to gain €56,400 a year by letting them use his stables.