Immigration to Italy

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Foreign residents as a percentage of the regional population, 2011

As of 1 January 2017, there were 5,047,028 foreign nationals resident in Italy, this amounted to 8.2% of the country's population and represented an increase of 92,352 over the previous year. These figures include children born in Italy to foreign nationals (who were 75,067 in 2014; 14.9% of total births in Italy), but exclude foreign nationals who have subsequently acquired Italian nationality; this applied to 129,887 people in 2014. Around 6,2 million people residing in Italy have an immigration background (around the 10% of the country population),[1][2] they also exclude illegal immigrants whose numbers are difficult to determine. In May 2008, The Boston Globe quoted an estimate of 670,000 for this group,[3] the distribution of foreign born population is largely uneven in Italy: 59.5% of immigrants live in the northern part of the country (the most economically developed area), 25.4% in the central one, while only 15.1% live in the southern regions. The children born in Italy to foreign mothers were 102.000 in 2012, 99.000 in 2013 and 97.000 in 2014.[4]

Since the expansion of the European Union, the most recent wave of migration has been from surrounding European states, particularly Eastern Europe, and increasingly Asia,[5] replacing North Africa as the major immigration area. About a million Romanians, around 10% of them being Roma,[6] are officially registered as living in Italy. As of 2013, the foreign born population origin was subdivided as follows: Europe (50.8%), Africa (22.1%), Asia (18.8%), America (8.3%), and Oceania (0.1%).[7]

Statistics[edit]

Senegalese workers at the Potato festival in Vimercate (Lombardy) in 2015
Total foreign resident population on 1 January[note 1]
Year Population
2002 1,341,209[8]
2003 1,464,663[8]
2004 1,854,748[8]
2005 2,210,478[8]
2006 2,419,483[8]
2007 2,592,950[8]
2008 3,023,317[8]
2009 3,402,435[8]
2010 3,648,128[8]
2011 3,879,224[8]
2012 4,052,081[9]
2013 4,387,721[10]
2014 4,922,085[11]
2015 5,014,437[1][12]
2016 5,026,153 (8.29%)[13]
Immigration by country[note 2]
Country 2008 2009 2010 [14] 2011 [15] 2012 [16] 2013 [17] 2014 [18] 2015[19] 2016 2017 2018
 Romania Increase 625,278 Increase 796,477 Increase 887,763 Decrease 823,100 Increase 834,465 Increase 933,354 Increase 1,081,400 Increase 1,131,839 Increase 1,151,395
 Morocco Increase 365,908 Increase 403,592 Increase 431,529 Decrease 407,097 Increase 506,369 Increase 513,374 Increase 524,775 Decrease 518,357 Decrease 510,450
 Albania Increase 401,949 Increase 441,396 Increase 466,684 Decrease 451,437 Increase 491,495 Increase 497,761 Increase 502,546 Decrease 498,419 Decrease 482,959
 China Increase 156.519 Increase 170,265 Increase 188,352 Increase 194,510 Increase 197,064 Increase 304,768 Increase 320,794 Increase 332,189 Increase 333,986
 Ukraine Increase 132,718 Increase 153,998 Increase 174,129 Increase 178,534 Increase 180,121 Increase 224,588 Increase 233,726 Increase 236,682 Increase 240,141
 India 105,863 116,797 118,409 128,903 160,296 Increase 166,514 Increase 169,394
 Tunisia 123,584 129,015 129,188 139,835 165,783 Increase 169,046 Decrease 167,176
 Moldova 105,600 130,619 Increase 147,519 Increase 149,231 Increase 150,021 Decrease 146,654 Decrease 141,305
 Bangladesh 73,965 80,639 81,683 92,695 127,861 Decrease 115,301 Increase 118,790
 Egypt 82,064 65,985 66,932 76,691 135,284 Increase 141,243 Increase 143,232
 Peru 87,747 93,905 109,668 Decrease 103,714
 Sri Lanka 75,343 71,203 71,573 79,530 104,405 100,558 Increase 102,316
 Pakistan 64,859 69,877 71,031 80,658 106,485 96,207 Increase 101,784
 Senegal 72,618 72,458 73,702 80,325 97,781 94,030 Increase 98,176
 Poland 105,608 84,619 84,749 88,839 97,566 98,694 Decrease 97,986
 Philippines 103,678 82,066 82,997 88,291 122,354 96,012 Decrease 95,645
 Serbia
 Kosovo
 Montenegro
53,875 n.a. 43,022 43,816 109,474 92,378 Decrease 88,076
 Ecuador 85,940 80,645 80,333 82,791 91,145 91,259 Decrease 87,427
 Nigeria 71,158 Increase 77,264
 Macedonia 92,847 73,407 73,972 76,608 84,318 77,703 Decrease 73,512
 Bulgaria 56,576 Increase 58,001
 Ghana 50,414 Decrease 48,637
 Brazil 42,587 Increase 43,783
 Germany 36,749 Decrease 36,661
 Russia 35,211 Increase 35,791
Rest of Europe 219,210
Rest of Sub-Saharan Africa 145,490
Rest of Americas 141,632
Rest of North Africa and Western/Central Asia 98,089
Rest of East and South-East Asia 22,342
Rest of South Asia 1,390
Europe 2,601,313
North Africa and Western/Central Asia 741,090
South Asia 474,736
East and South-East Asia 459,572
Americas 376,556
Sub-Saharan Africa 369,567
Oceania 2,104

2000s Mediterranean Sea crossings crisis[edit]

Due to the peninsula geographical position and close proximity to the North Africa coast, the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea has historically been the most used route for undocumented migrants, this route has become gradually more prominent as people flows through other routes to the EU gradually faded and political turmoil in Libya caused a general weakening of borders and coastal control, opening opportunities to people smuggling organisations.

The principal destination for sea crossings boats and rafts are the southernmost Italian territories, the Pelagie Islands, these islands are 113 km from Tunisia, 167 from Libya and 207 from Sicily.

The close distance between these islands and the African mainland has caused people smuggling organisations to employ boats and rafts otherwise hardly seaworthy, generally vastly filled above their capacity. Official reports list boats filled up to 2 or 3 times nominal capacity, including the use of rubber dinghies, this has led to several accidents at sea, as in 2007, the 2009, the 2011, the 2013, 2015.[20] These accidents have become harder to document between 2014 and 2017, as people smuggling organisations changed their tactics: instead of aiming for a full crossing of the sea towards Lampedusa, their boats aimed just to exit Libyan territorial waters and then trigger rescue operation from passing mercantile vessels, seek and rescue organisations, Italian and Maltese coastguards and militaries, as per the United Nations Convention of the Sea, of which Italy is a subscriber, people rescued at sea have to be transported to the closer safe harbor: as Libya continues to be in political turmoil this means they are transported to Italy.

Once in Italy, the EU Dublin Regulation requires migrants to apply for legal residence, protection or asylum permits in the first EU country they cross into, effectively barring them from legally crossing internal EU borders until their case has been processed and positively concluded, as the vast majority of migrant people landing in Italy targets destinations in Central and Northern European States, there is a tendency to avoid filing permits applications in Italy and rather try a northwards land journey.[21]

Refugees and migrants arriving in Italy by sea, 1997–2015[22]

As a reaction to the gradual increase in migration flows through the Mediterranean Sea, Italian governments stepped up cooperation with Tunisian and Libyan authorities to halt activities of people smuggling organisation on land, as well as to allow boats rescued from the Italian Military in international waters to be towed back to the port where they left from, this policy, enacted in 2004 and 2005, sparked controversies related in particular to the compatibility with Italian and EU laws, as numerous reports documented acts of violence from Libyan authorities on migrant people. The policy was openly criticised by the EU Parliament.[23]

In 2008, Berlusconi’s government in Italy and Gaddafi’s government in Libya signed a treaty including cooperation between the two countries in stopping unlawful migration from Libya to Italy; this led to a policy of forcibly returning to Libya boat migrants intercepted by the Italian coast guard at sea.[24] The cooperation collapsed following the outbreak of the Libyan civil war in 2011; in 2012 the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Italy had violated the European Convention on Human Rights by returning migrants to Libya, as it exposed the migrants to the risk of being subjected to ill-treatment in Libya and violated the prohibition of collective expulsions.,[25] thus effectively ending the policy.

In 2009, as the flow of migrants picked up again, the overcrowded conditions at the Pelagie Islands' temporary immigrant reception centre came under criticism by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The unit, which was originally built for a maximum capacity of 850 people, was reported to be housing nearly 2,000 boat people. A significant number of people were sleeping outdoors under plastic sheeting.[26] A fire started as an inmate riot destroyed a large portion of the holding facility on 19 February 2009.

In 2011, as Arab Spring rebellions in Tunisia and Libya disrupted government control over borders and coasts, migrant flows increased again.[27] By May 2011, more than 35,000 immigrants had arrived on the island of Lampedusa from Tunisia and Libya.[28] By the end of August, 48,000 had arrived,[29] as migration and asylum policies are exclusive responsibilities of each member State, the increased migration pressure at the EU Southern border sparked tensions between EU States on how to differentiate between people migrating due to economic reasons, which in principle are regarded as unlawful immigrants and thus are forced to leave or deported, and people fleeing violence or persecution for religious, sexual orientation, political reasons, who can be granted asylum rights.[30] As the Libyan authoritarian governments struggled to keep control of the country, it allowed an increase in northbound migrant flows as a tactic to pressure Italy and the EU not to militarily intervene in the country, as Gaddafi feared his regime would be overthrown.[29]

Controversies regarding NGOs[edit]

After 2015, as an increased use of unseaworthy vessels by people smuggling organisations caused a marked increase in accidents at sea involving loss of lives, several European NGOs have started seek and rescue operations in close coordination with Italian Navy and coast guard units, these operations often happen close to Libyan territorial waters at the same time in order not to unlawfully enter Libyan jurisdictions and yet ensure migrants' safety. As per UNCLOS, rescued people are brought to the closer safe harbor, which is in most cases on Italian shore, this effectively means NGOs vessels are covering most of the distance between Libyan and Italian coast. Right-wing Italian newspapers and activists picked on that to make various claims, among which that NGOs active in migrants' assistance and rescue at sea would reap financial profits from their collaboration with the Italian authorities,[31] or that some NGOs are part of unlawful people smuggling operations in coordination with operatives on Libyan coast, and funded by international criminal groups and financial institutions interested in developing political turmoil in Italy.[32] The Italian Parliament investigated these claims and has found them to be unsubstantiated, with no further actions[33]. Regardless of this, right-wing newspapers have continued campaigning aganst Italian and foreign NGOs.

In August 2017 the ship "Iuventa" operated by the German NGO "Jugend Rettet" (youth to the rescue) was impounded on the island of Lampedusa on the order of an Italian prosecutor on suspicion of facilitating illegal immigration. Jugend Rettet is one of the six out of nine NGOs which refused to sign a new code of conduct by the Italian government covering migrant rescues in the Mediterranean, the prosecutor alleged that there were "contacts, meetings and understandings" between the boat's crew and the smugglers. No crew members from the "Iuventa" had been charged and the prosecutor admitted that their motive was likely humanitarian.[34] (Five out of eight refused to sign the new code of conduct, according to a Guardian article, the others refusing to sign being MSF, the Germany groups Sea-Watch, Sea-Eye and Jugend Rettet, and France’s SOS Mediterranée '[all of whom] abstained'. 'MSF, SOS Mediterranée and Jugend Rettet... called for clarification of the rules' while MOAS and Spanish group Proactiva Open Arms agreed to the conditions, and Save the Children 'backed the measures'.)[35]

Italian naval mission to Libyan waters[edit]

On 2 August 2017 Italy's parliament authorized a limited naval mission to Libyan waters aimed at supporting the country's coastguard in the fight against illegal migration. Italy sent two patrol boats at the request of the UN-backed government in Tripoli and insisted it had no intention of violating Libyan sovereignty. However, General Khalifa Haftar, who controls most of eastern Libya, threatened to use his own forces to repel the Italians.[34][36]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The figures for 2002–2011 have been revised downwards as a result of the 15th General Census of Italy which offered more precise data. The figures since 2012 are calculated adding to the foreign population enumerated by the census the foreign population inflows and outflows recorded in all Italian municipalities during each calendar year.
  2. ^ Since 2013, the European Union foreign nationals are no longer counted in the immigration statistics. This includes the Romanians, the largest minority group in Italy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Cittadini Stranieri. Popolazione residente e bilancio demografico al 31 dicembre 2014". ISTAT. 15 June 2015. 
  2. ^ "Bilancio demografico nazionale". ISTAT. 15 June 2015. 
  3. ^ Rosenthal, Elisabeth (16 May 2008). "Italy cracks down on illegal immigration". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Programma, Integra (12 February 2015). "Istat: nel 2014 oltre 90mila i nuovi nati stranieri". Retrieved 25 March 2016. 
  5. ^ Willey, David (13 April 2007). "Milan police in Chinatown clash". BBC News. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  6. ^ Ciobanu, Claudia (16 May 2008). "EUROPE: Home to Roma, And No Place for Them". Inter Press Service. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  7. ^ IDOS (30 October 2012). "Dossier Statistico Immigrazione 2012" (PDF). Caritas. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ricostruzione della popolazione residente per età, sesso e cittadinanza nei comuni". ISTAT. 26 September 2013. p. 9. 
  9. ^ Statistics for 2011 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  10. ^ Statistics for 2013 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  11. ^ Statistics for 2013 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  12. ^ Statistics for 2015 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  13. ^ Statistics for 2016 at istat.it Accessed 30 October 2017
  14. ^ Albani, Mauro (22 September 2011). "La popolazione straniera residente in Italia nel 2011". ISTAT. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 
  15. ^ "Gli stranieri al 15° Censimento della popolazione" (PDF). ISTAT. 23 December 2013. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 
  16. ^ "I cittadini non comunitari regolarmente soggiornanti". 30 November 2011.  Accessed 30 October 2017
  17. ^ "I cittadini non comunitari regolarmente soggiornanti". 30 November 2012.  Accessed 30 October 2017
  18. ^ I cittadini non comunitari regolarmente soggiornanti 5 August 2014 Archived 13 November 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "CITTADINI NON COMUNITARI : PRESENZA, NUOVI INGRESSI E ACQUISIZIONI DI CITTADINANZA (information for 2015-2016)" (PDF). istat.it. istat. Retrieved 2 September 2017. 
  20. ^ "Italy's illegal immigrants: Tidal wave". The Economist. 5 July 2014. 
  21. ^ Grant, Harriet; Domokos, John (7 October 2011). "Dublin regulation leaves asylum seekers with their fingers burnt". The Guardian. 
  22. ^ "Sbarchi e richieste di asilo 1997–2014". Fondazione Ismu. 
  23. ^ European Parliament resolution on Lampedusa, 14 April 2005
  24. ^ "Pushed Back, Pushed Around". Human Rights Watch. 21 September 2009. 
  25. ^ "Italy: 'Historic' European Court judgment upholds migrants' rights". Amnesty International. 23 February 2012. 
  26. ^ United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. "News". 
  27. ^ Reid, Sue (4 April 2011). "Special dispatch: Gaddafi's diaspora and the Libyans overwhelming an Italian island who are threatening to come here". Daily Mail. London. 
  28. ^ "Hundreds more migrants reach Italy from Africa". Reuters. 14 May 2011. 
  29. ^ a b "Gaddafi planned to turn Italian island into migrant hell". AsiaOne. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. 
  30. ^ https://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5jYWyqZanCi2M7i3Z_qsl0FmHlBkA?docId%3D6562488. Retrieved 2016-02-26.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link][dead link]
  31. ^ De Lorenzo, Giuseppe (12 July 2017). "Le 15 coop dalle "uova d'oro": 100 milioni lucrati sui profughi". ilgiornale.it. 
  32. ^ "Nomi, finanziatori e intrighi. Ecco tutti i segreti delle navi Ong". ilgiornale.it. 10 July 2017. 
  33. ^ "DOCUMENTO CONCLUSIVO APPROVATO DALLA COMMISSIONE SULL'INDAGINE CONOSCITIVA SUL CONTRIBUTO DEI MILITARI ITALIANI AL CONTROLLO DEI FLUSSI MIGRATORI NEL MEDITERRANEO E L'IMPATTO DELLE ATTIVITA' DELLE ORGANIZZAZIONI NON GOVERNATIVE (Doc. XVII, n. 9)". Senato.it. 16 May 2017. 
  34. ^ a b "Italy impounds German NGO migrant rescue ship, lawmakers boost support for Libyan coastguard". DW. 2 August 2017. 
  35. ^ Reuters in Rome, 31 July 2017 "Aid groups snub Italian code of conduct on Mediterranean rescues: Five of eight groups operating migrant rescue ships refuse to agree to new measures, citing concerns over operational effectiveness and neutrality" at theguardian.com Accessed 24 October 2017
  36. ^ "Libyan military strongman threatens Italian ships trying to stop flow of migrants". The Telegraph. 3 August 2017.