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					                 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: christine.chircop@gov.mt

       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: carmel.inguanez@gov.mt

       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.

				
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