Most Maltese people believe that the country should reopen its doors to asylum seekers once the COVID-19 pandemic is over. However, one in four remain adamant that we should stop rescuing migrants forever.
The survey was carried out by Esprimi for Lovin Malta between 25th April and 2nd May to assess the Maltese population’s opinions on issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
With Malta and other neighbouring countries closing its ports, migration has emerged as a significant issue during the health crisis. Six people died and over 150 people are currently in limbo on board a Captain Morgan Vessel. However, the government maintains it will not allow migrants into Malta without an EU relocation policy.
Asked whether they believed the government should stop rescuing migrants at sea, 31.4% of respondents said that the government should resume its operations once the pandemic is over, while 29.4% said the government should not have stopped them in the first place.
Still, 24.8% of respondents believed the government should stop rescuing migrants forever.
Generational gaps in opinion are clear. People over 65, who have been declared ‘vulnerable’ during the pandemic, make up 35.6% of all people who believe the government should entirely halt its rescue operations. Meanwhile, just 11.1% of people under 24 held the same view.
Conversely, 38.9% of people under 24 believed the government should continue rescuing migrants at sea regardless of the pandemic, with 20.7% of those over 65 agreeing.
Those between 50 and 64 years old seem to agree with younger generations, with 34.3% agreeing that rescue operations should continue, and around 20.9% saying they should be stopped forever.
Opinion is split among people between 35 and 49 with the same number of respondents believing rescue operations should continue and those that believe they should stop forever.
There are smaller disparities between genders. However, more men did believe the government should stop rescuing migrants while more women thought they should continue unperturbed. Meanwhile, 35.4% of men and 27.6% of women believed the government should restart rescue operations when the health emergency ends.
The survey was carried out among a sample of 500 people, with a quota based on age and gender implemented to ensure a representative of the Maltese population.
It was carried out by means of a mixed online and telephone survey, with the CATI technique adopted for telephone interviews.
What do you make of these results?