On the basis of an agreement leading almost all persons rescued by Maltese Armed Forces or on Maltese waters to be disembarked in Italy, Malta has overhauled its reception system away from a previous policy of systematic detention. With the transposition of the recast Directives, the main feature of the new reception system is that detention is now no longer either mandatory or an automatic consequence of the decision to issue a removal order. Asylum seekers arriving irregularly in Malta are now taken to an Initial Reception Centre. According to the authorities, only 20 asylum seekers were detained in 2016. However, the interpretation of detention provisions remains concerning, namely due to the application of alternatives to detention even where there are no grounds for depriving an asylum seeker of their liberty.