last update: January 2016
last update: January 2012
Since 2001, immigration in Italy is regulated by the Bossi-Fini Law, which determines a very tight migration management. It is not possible to enter legally in Italy, except with a regular labour contract which is supposed to be stipulated between the worker and the master when the former is still in his/her country of origin. For undocumented migrants, there is not possibility of applying for regularization. However, the Government periodically establishes the “quotas” of migrant workers allowed to enter according to the labour market demand. In this case, the most of undocumented migrants living in Italy apply for a regularization “as if” they were outside the country.
In Italy, migrants who have an Italian residence permit have free access to public health services in the same way as Italian citizens. Illegal foreigners are entitled only to emergency and essential health care by requiring a card called STP (foreigners temporarily present).
Once obtained a residence permit, it is necessary to have a regular labour contract in order to renew it. Those who are not able to provide it, can apply for a 6-months permit for the research of a new job. When it is not found, the documents expired definitively, with no possibility to obtain them again. Then, an expulsion decree is enacted. When migrants do not complain with the decree, they are detained in administrative detention centers (called CIE, Centri di Identificazione ed Espulsione) up to 18 months before deportation.
Family reunion was highly harder after the enactment of the so-called “pacchetto sicurezza”, the law about security which increased controls over the reunions and reduced the number of relatives that can benefit of it.
In Italy there is not a comprehensive law concerning the right of asylum. Asylum seekers may deliver their application to the border police when they arrive in Italy, or to the local police offices. The application is automatically extended to the minor children of the applicant. Unaccompanied minors are provided with a tutor and may apply personally; afterwards, their age is ascertained through medical exams. All the applicants are entitled to have an interpreter, and allowed to stay in Italy until their request is accepted or denied (the police chief – Prefetto – decide where they must reside); the temporary permit does not allow to work. Those migrants who have not documents with them, those who tried to force the border control and those who apply for asylum after having been denounced because undocumented are detained in the so called CARA (Centri di Accoglienza per Richiedenti Asilo – Welcome Centers for Asylum Seekers) where their identity is ascertained.
After the asylum demand is delivered, migrants are called for an interview in front of the Special Territorial Commission, which evaluates their request. They must be personally present at the interview, and they have a right to be accompanied by a lawyer. Although according to the law the interview must take place in 45 days since the demand is delivered, actually it requires from 15 to 24 months. During this period, the migrant is not allowed to work and is supposed to depend upon a system of assistance (when assistance is actually provided).
When the request is accepted, three kind of residence permit could be accorded. The refugee permit (5 years duration) and the subsidiary protection (3 years duration), both allowing a renew, the possibility to work and study, medical assistance, family reunion; the humanitarian permit, which could last from 6 month to 2 years and does not allow family reunion, while requiring an income and housing standard to be renewed. However, less than 10% of application obtains a positive response.