DETAILED TWINNING ‘LIGHT’ PROJECT FICHE Programme Title: 2004 Transition Facility Programme for Malta Project Title: Strengthening Malta‟s capacity to issue Visas Project Number: 2004/16762.03.01 Twinning Number: MT04-IB-JH-01 ___________________________________________________________________________ BACKGROUND Detailed Description of the Beneficiary Institution Having signed the EU Accession Treaty in April 2003, and in accordance with Article 8 of the Protocol of the Treaty of Amsterdam, Malta has accepted to apply, in full, the EU acquis in the fields of Justice and Home Affairs, including the Schengen acquis. Implementation of the Schengen acquis is largely the responsibility of the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs. In so far as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is concerned, the main objective is to process and issue visas, including Schengen visas, when Malta is an operative member of Schengen, and to upgrade and strengthen the ability of Malta‟s diplomatic and consular missions in this respect. It was in this context that, in April 2003 a Schengen Implementation Unit, was set-up within the Consular, Protocol and Information Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Schengen Implementation Unit is responsible for the administrative and operational implementation of that part of the Schengen acquis which devolves under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This Unit is the beneficiary of this Twinning „light‟ project. The Consular, Protocol and Information Directorate is composed of the Director, an Asst Director; a Protocol Section, a Consular Affairs Section, as well as the Head of the Schengen Unit. The Protocol Section consists of four Protocol Officers. The Consular Affairs Section consists of two Diplomats while the Head of Schengen Unit is assisted by a Diplomat. The results of the project may lead to a change in the institutional framework described above. Context in the Beneficiary Country As mentioned, upon accession to the European Union on 1 May 2004, Malta accepted the whole of the Schengen acquis. Prior to the lifting of the internal borders, however, it will have to be ascertained that all necessary „compensatory measures‟ (namely in the field of visas, external border control, police and judicial cooperation) have been put in place. Malta‟s alignment with the visa regime as laid down in Council Regulation (EC) 539/2001, coupled with new practices in accordance with the Common Consular Instructions, has necessitated a substantial investment in infrastructure, security equipment, human resources, training and information. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Immigration Police, under the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs have the institutional competence in visa matters. Malta is currently preparing the setting up of a Central Visa Unit in accordance with the terms of Article 17 (Paragraph 2) of the 1990 Schengen Convention. In order to improve its current processes and also to comply with the Schengen Acquis, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has commissioned Malta Information Technology and Training Services Ltd (MITTS Ltd) to develop a computerised visa system. The computerised system is set to provide fast and real time information about the visa applicant at the embassy or consular mission; synchronise various databases (both national and EU-related) in order to provide more information to the embassy user; provide better utilisation of resources by reducing duplication of effort in human and computer resources, as well as facilitate communication. In terms of the findings of the scope study carried out in July 2003, the implementation of the visa system is to be divided into two phases: phase 1, which should computerise the visa system upon Malta‟s accession date; and phase 2, catering for the consultation purposes according to the Schengen requirements, to be in place by the time Malta has become an operative member of Schengen. Malta has not yet implemented phase 1. Nevertheless, several capacity building measures have already been taken towards aligning visa practices with EU/Schengen standards, such as the procurement and distribution of anti- forgery detection equipment to all Malta‟s diplomatic missions and consular posts; some training of consular officers in interviewing techniques and procedures; as already mentioned; the preparation for setting up a Central Visa Unit as required by Article 17 (Paragraph 2) of the 1990 Schengen Convention; the negotiation of bilateral consular cooperation agreements; the adoption of the uniform visa sticker and application forms and other mission-specific measures. The following training activities have taken place in the EU/Schengen adaptation process: Senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited Austria in May 2003 to study and assess Maltese requirements in the upgrading process of the capacity to issue visas. This visit was coupled with an on-site visit to the Austrian Consulate in Bratislava. This visit was followed up by a visit in July 2003 of high officials of the Malta Police and MITTS to establish the information technology requirements and interconnectivity network needs. Both visits were financed by the Government of Malta. The investment component of pre-accession project MT-01-03 'Capacity building in the fields of Asylum and Borders' Management', provided for procurement of forgery detection equipment and necessary training on the detection of forged documents for consular officers stationed or to be stationed in Maltese representations overseas. Under the Institution Building component of pre-accession project MT-01-03 (Twinning covenant MT2001/IB/JH-01 between Malta and the United Kingdom), Austrian experts were invited by the United Kingdom authorities to facilitate a workshop on the use of the Common Consular Instructions Manual and Schengen Visas for consular officers stationed or to be stationed in Maltese diplomatic and consular missions. At present, no designated training unit exists within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Prior to being posted abroad however, consular staff are given instructions by the Consular Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and new personnel undergo some in-house training. Furthermore, latest developments are shared at the annual Ambassadors‟ conference. As far as the national training concept for IT staff is concerned, training is provided by MITTS. The staff is trained on demand. Building on the results achieved in the above-mentioned training activities, there is a need for additional training on: (i) the application of the Common Consular Instructions (ii) detection of false and falsified documents; (iii) training in operating IT systems, with respect to visa issuance and the creation of databases and (iv) further developing the document security concept for Malta. Based on the number of visitors to Malta from third countries and their location outside the Schengen border, the Ministry has identified five priority missions – - Tripoli, - Moscow, - Beijing, - Tunis, and - Cairo. At present, there is a consulate section in each mission, with that of Tripoli being the only being housed in separate premises and to have undergone minor upgrading. The others - Moscow, Beijing, Tunis, and Cairo - are in need of radical upgrading. Two staff members are employed at the consular sections within the Missions in Tripoli, Cairo and Beijing, while one staff member is employed at the Missions in Moscow and Tunis. The current facilities at the consular sections within these five missions need to be upgraded in order to comply with EU requirements in the field of visa issuance. A number of directives, based on the Immigration Act, dealing with visa matters exist. These are however not structured according to the Common Consular Instruction (CCI) and its annexes and therefore a consolidated national consular instruction, based upon the CCI is planned. Furthermore, for the implementation of the CCI, it is obviously of importance to emphasise training of consular staff, but also to provide some common training to all staff categories of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration Police involved in visa matters, to create a solid knowledge base on the implementation of the Schengen Convention, particularly the application of the Common Consular Instructions. Besides the present Twinning „light‟ scheme, Project 2004/16762.03.01 includes also an investment component co-financing the necessary upgrading of Malta‟s diplomatic and consular representations through the establishment of a secure communications network between Malta‟s missions and the future Central Visa Unit, contract work to refurbish and upgrade facilities such as security screens, counters and enclosures; the upgrading of secure storage facilities for the EU uniform visa stickers and the provision of computer servers and related specialised software. The target audience of this Twinning „light‟ are the officers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including of course, those to be posted at the five priority Missions. DESCRIPTION OF THE ASSIGNMENT Contracting Authority: Department of Contracts, Malta on behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Contact Person: Mr Edwin Zarb Director General Department of Contracts Floriana CMR 02 Malta Tel: (+356) 21220212 Fax: (+356) 21247681 email: firstname.lastname@example.org Beneficiaries: Ministry of Foreign Affairs Consular, Protocol and Information Directorate Palazzo Parisio Merchants Street Valletta CMR 02 Malta Project Leader: Mr Carmel Inguanez Director Tel: (+356) 212231734 Fax: (+356) 21240083 email: email@example.com Overall Objective Further compliance with the EU acquis concerning visa policy. Project Purpose Contribute to the development and strengthening of the current administrative and operational capacity in order to enhance Malta‟s capacity to issue visas in compliance with the Common Consular Instructions for the Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts (CCI) The Mandatory Results, including Benchmarks The achievement of the following results is envisaged by the end of the Twinning „light‟: 1. 20 consular officers trained in the procedures of visa issuance in order to cope with the influx of visa applicants and to deal with visa matters without fears of harassment or duress; 2. The proper capacity to monitor and control the visa registers in each Maltese diplomatic and consular representation; 3. The ability of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, conjointly with the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs able to perform the tasks and functions of the Central Visa Unit. Assistance sought from a Member State A Twinning „light‟ agreement with a counterpart organisation in an EU Member State is being sought to respond to the demand of further training of consular officers and staff of the Central Visa Unit. The activities foreseen are described below: Activity 1: Advice on the elaboration of National Visa Instructions in accordance with the EU acquis and the Common Consular Instructions (CCI) Malta has a number of directives, based on the Immigration Act, which deal with visa matters. The existing directives are however not structured according to the Common Consular Instruction (CCI) and its annexes. A consolidated National Consular Instruction, based upon the CCI is needed and planned. In order for this process to be as efficient as possible and in order to facilitate the drafting process and ensure acquis compatibility, external support is needed. Linked to the training on the Common Consular Instructions provided through Activity 2, two short-term experts will provide advice on visa legislation in general and the elaboration of a national consular instruction in line with the CCI and its annexes in particular. This activity would be implemented as a series of three 3-day workshops for relevant officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As consular instructions deal with the implementation of legislation, best results would be achieved through the input of two experts covering legislation and practice respectively. This activity will take place in Malta and participants will comprise 10 officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Two short-term experts per workshop would be involved. Activity 2:Train-the-trainers on the application of the Common Consular Instruction (CCI) Three short-term experts are required to deliver training on visa matters, focusing on visa procedures. In particular, the following topics should be addressed during the seminars: - Schengen types of visas - Standard procedure for assessment of the visa application according to Schengen requirements - Collection of statistics - Conditions for granting a visa: supporting documentation, including travel insurance, verification procedures - Manual / list of documents to which a visa can be affixed Three 4-day seminars (36 man-days) are planned. This activity will take place in Malta and participants will comprise 10 officials from Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs. A further 8 visa officials from the five priority missions will also take part. Activity 3: Training in operating IT systems with respect to visa issuance and consultation procedures The training in the use of an online visa system will be implemented against a background of the computerised visa system (phase 1) and will contribute towards the implementation of phase 2, i.e. the consultation purpose according to Schengen requirements (VISION) as described in the section “context in the beneficiary country” above. The relevant Ministry of Foreign Affairs officials will need to be trained on the newly acquired software. 17 officials – including 7 consular officers from the five priority missions – will participate in this activity. Two short-term experts will be required to deliver a 4-day training seminar (8 man-days). Activity 4: On-the-spot training in Moscow and in Tripoli and visits to the EU MS representations in Moscow and Tripoli Following the theoretical information and training activities carried out in Malta, on-the-spot training shall be carried out in Moscow and Tripoli, as priority missions outside the Schengen area. This on the spot-training activity will allow the training to be adapted to local conditions prevailing at the consular posts in question. It will also be used to visit EU/Schengen consulates, and in this context Moscow and Tripoli are of particular interest, since EU Member States issue large numbers of visas in these two countries. Up to 18 officials working in the consular field will participate in this activity. 7 officials will travel from Malta to participate in the visit to Moscow and these will be joined by 2 officials posted at the Moscow embassy. A further 7 officials from Malta will participate in the visit to Tripoli, and these will also be joined by 2 officials working at the Tripoli mission. The cost of air tickets for these Maltese officials will be financed out of Malta funds, but a provision for per diems is requested under the Twinning „light‟. One short-term expert would be required to accompany the Maltese officials on the study visits to Moscow and Tripoli. The study visit to Moscow will have a duration of 5 working days, requiring an STE mission of 7 working days to cover STE return travel to Moscow. The study visit to Libya will have a duration of 3 working days, meaning an STE mission of 5 working days to cover STE return travel to Tripoli. Activity 5: Elaboration of training manuals for further development of the training (train-the-trainers) of consular officers Training material, which is used for the training activities, will be compiled into training manuals. The short-term experts will provide advice on the design of training programmes. The objective of this activity is to ensure the multiplier effect and to contribute to the further consistent application of the rules and knowledge by all officers involved. Two 5-day missions by a two short-term expert are envisaged (20 man-days). EXPERTS’ PROFILE The Project Leader should: - be in possession of an academic degree; - have a minimum of 7 to10 years experience in EU/Schengen visa matters with a focus on consular aspects; - have strong communication skills; - have a good knowledge of written and spoken English All MS short-term experts should have extensive experience in their particular field of expertise. They are required to provide/contribute to project activities in fluent spoken and written English. The duration of each expert‟s mission is indicated against the respective activity in the relevant section above. Working Language The working language of the project shall be English. LOCATION AND DURATION Starting date1 October 2005 Finishing date of the assignment May 2006 1 Cannot be before the date of signature of the Twinning „light‟ contract Schedule and number of days for the assignment Months Activity OCT NOV DEC JAN FEB MAR APR MAY 2005 2005 2005 2006 2006 2006 2006 2006 1 x x 2 x 3 x x 4 x x Location of the assignment Malta REPORTING Inception Report in English detailing work plans, objectives and milestones within three weeks of starting assignment. Interim Quarterly Report in English in terms of section 6.4.2 of the 2005 Reference Manual on Twinning Projects. A final report in English in terms of section 6.4.3 of the 2005 Reference Manual on Twinning Projects, accompanied by an audit certificate from a recognised independent auditor. The reports should be submitted to the Department of Contracts and the Beneficiary, with a copy to the European Commission. BUDGET Total budget available: €122,000.