The parents of the 22 children facing eviction from Malta have invited the Parliamentary Secretary for Citizenship into their homes to “enlighten” her on the conditions in which they live.
The letter, written by activist Patricia Graham on behalf of the families, was sent to Julia Farrugia Portelli on Wednesday, after the parliamentary secretary said that the policy resulting in the eviction of 22 children was necessary to safeguard them from poverty.
“I will accompany you on each visit and will arrange a schedule to work with their working hours, and yours. Most of them work 50 hours plus per week but are willing to take a time out with no salary, to enlighten you,” she said.
The decisions taken by Identity Malta were in the best interest of the children, Ms Farrugia Portelli had said on Tuesday, explaining the authorities were safeguarding the children from living in poverty.
In the letter, Ms Graham also drew attention to the negative impact on the mental health of the children obliged to accompany their parents to Identity Malta to apply for residence permits.
Many of them have no choice but to be witness to the "adult conversations" involving their parents being told they don’t earn enough to keep them, Ms Graham told Times of Malta.
She also offered Ms Farrugia Portelli the opportunity to meet with these children and explain to them why she thinks refusing their residence permits would be in their best interest.
“I want you to meet with these children and explain to them, face to face, why you think that their best interests are served by being sent somewhere else. Removed from their parents.
“I personally don't know exactly where you want them to be 'sent' but perhaps you can enlighten these children. You will be able to see their rental properties and the conditions they live in.”
Finally, Ms Graham shed light on the costs these families will incur if their parents are forced to leave, asking for confirmation that Ms Farrugia Portelli's department "will pick up the financial losses due to them leaving Malta before their rental contracts are up”.
In response, Ms Farrugia Portelli said as a politician she had done her part on this case. She had been reassured that all the refusals were based on what was officially declared by Identity Malta which has the responsibility to approve or reject such applications.
“I think you can understand that I have no involvement in decisions taken on individual applications for a residence permit,” she said.
To add to this, she said that an adult wishing to relocate or work in another country was expected to check the regulations of the host country and prospective employers were expected to explain the basics prior to employing foreign workers.
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