Parents from Serbia are crushed, desperate and sad: No money, no children
Twenty-two children, originally from non-EU countries, most of them children from Serbia, are not eligible to reside in Malta anymoreSource: Tanjug
The reason for it - their parents' annual income is not high enough.
It was first announced back in September, and in the meantime, parents have formed a group "Parents of Malta" and have asked the authorities to accept their applications or provide them with written evidence that they were rejected both in September and this month, paper "The Times of Malta" reports.
Families from third countries, non-EU countries, must earn at least € 19,000 a year, plus € 3,800 for each child. But that amount does not include bonuses or overtime.
Vladica and Dragan Popovic, the parents of the two girls, needed just $ 143 to reach $ 26,000, the legal minimum.
Vladica Popovic has been in Malta for two years, while his wife and daughters joined him six months ago, seeking a residence permit. Because of everything that has happened, they are in shock, especially because it is a small amount of money, and as their children have said, due to this, they feel isolated and depressed.
Similar situation is in other families. Aleksandra Ilic said her two-year-old daughter Neda, born in Malta, is considered "legal" in all institutions, since she has an ID, except for the Agency for Citizenship and Residence.
"We can't send her back to Serbia, that's not an option, because she can't go to school there, she barely speaks Serbian. She speaks English. Also, we don't have anyone to send her to", Alexandra said.
Maja Brown, from the Committee of the Serbs, tried to contact the agency and arrange a meeting, however, as she said, there was no will to resolve the issue. "This policy is clearly discriminatory. Why doesn't the Agency want to consider other sources of income, such as renting out properties in other countries or saving money", Brown said, accusing the commissioner of children of no help, although Malta is a signatory to international conventions on child protection.
She noted that over the past few years, she has noticed a change within the system - from one accepting foreign workers and their families, to another rejecting them.
One of the founders of "Malta Parents", Ana Zdravkovic, says parents are lost and do not know who to turn to. "We are desperate and sad because we don't know what to do anymore. We are not looking for much, just a normal and peaceful family life in Malta", Ana Zdravkovic said.
Allegedly, there were exceptions to this policy earlier, and the decision of exemption could be made by the director of a government agency if both parents were employed, but did not earn the prescribed amount, however, the policy was tightened in the meantime and many families were not granted requests because their income was less than prescribed by law.
"The Times of Malta" tried to contact the Agency regarding this issue, but received no response.