The foreign ministry said it had taken specific measures inside its Central Visa Unit to facilitate visa issuance to Libyan nationals, in response to criticism made by the Opposition leader during at the New Libya Forum, a two-day conference organised by Deloitte and EMCS.
Joseph Muscat said a Labour government would simplify the issuing of visas for Libyans wanting to travel to Malta, to send the message that Libyans were welcome in Malta.
In their reply, the foreign ministry said that prior to Schengen membership in 2007, the government had already simplified such issuance through the various initiatives.
"A bold initiative was the further issuance of National "D" Long-Stay visas to Libyan nationals wishing to visit Malta for visits exceeding three months," the ministry said, referring to Libyan nationals who have close family ties in Malta or business interests, or following up medical or educational programmes.
"In appropriate cases, such a visa may be issued for more than one year, up to a period of five years, for multiple-entries. The reduction in the visa fee for National "D" visas which stands at Libyan Dinars 10.00 also facilitated visa issuance to Libyan nationals was another initiative undertaken by the Central Visa Unit."
As a result, in the last two months, the Central Visa Unit issued 2,439 visas and refused 157. The majority, 1,985, were from Tripoli; the rest from Benghazi.
In 2010, there was a 70% increase in multiple-entry Schengen visas, and a 20% increase in multiple-entry national visas.
(Source: Malta Today)