Malta is the most densely populated country in Europe. This, combined with Malta’s small size, is often used as a justification for anti-immigrant statements.
However, to date, no assessments of the potential impact of migration on the Maltese environment have been carried out. Certainly, given Malta’s size and population density, over the past 12 years, the number of arrivals of migrants to Malta has been considerable. In 2013, for example, Malta recorded the highest number of asylum-seekers compared to national population (20.2 applicants per
1,000 inhabitants). However, as previously noted, the majority of asylum-seekers arriving in Malta over the past few years appear to have left the islands, whereas the majority of migrants living in Malta are European Union citizens.
This would suggest that, if a meaningful discussion is to be held on the environmental impact of migration, it would necessarily need to reflect the actual scenario and thus to consider the impact of European Union migration, the broader third-country national population, and the impact of schemes such as the Malta Investment Programme. Issues related to, inter alia, the development of more residences and high-rise buildings in popular coastal areas, poverty and the development of ethnic clusters in deprived urban areas are also of particular relevance in this context