Italy is Struggling to Keep Up With Arrivals

Illustration (Photo via Al Jazeera Twitter)

Italy has had another busy week when it comes to the question of migration: arrivals are on a steady increase, but the support system is seemingly lacking to cater for the climbing demand for accommodation. Meanwhile the IDOS study and research center’s most recent note contains surprising conclusions: Italy would actually need immigration, just not the way it is now.

On October 23, 20 people arrived in Rome from Cyprus through humanitarian corridors established by the Comunità di Sant’Egidio, in a joint effort between Italy’s interior and foreign ministries. In a separate initiative, 11 Afghan nationals also recently arrived in Rome from Pakistan through similar humanitarian corridors.

The people helped to Rome had fled conflict in Afghanistan and other war-torn countries such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Cameroon, and Somalia, and spent extended periods of time at the Pournara refugee camp near Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus.

The refugees, including individuals and families, one of which includes a five-year-old child and a nine-month-old infant, were welcomed at Rome’s Fiumicino airport on October 23. They will be hosted in the Lazio, Marche, and Sicily regions and will receive immediate assistance with integration, including learning the Italian language and entering the labor market after being granted refugee status. This effort was a coordinated one but elsewhere in Italy, migration processes are much more difficult to manage.

Trieste is Becoming Overwhelmed by the Influx

Concerns about 391 asylum seekers in Trieste who have stated their desire to seek international protection but have not been given housingleaving them in a state of “utter abandonment”were raised by a number of associations on October 23. The participating organizations at the meeting included ICS, the San Martino al Campo community, Donk, International Rescue Committee, Diaconia Valdese, and Linea d’Ombra.

The associations emphasized that “many of them are living in extreme conditions” within a dilapidated silo near the train station, where approximately 220 people are currently taking shelter.

According to statistics released on October 23, since the beginning of 2023 to September 30 some 12,190 people have been assisted in Trieste: an average of 45 per day.

The majority of these people were adults, with 72 percent from Afghanistan. Out of the total, 8,627 were men, and 2,316 were unaccompanied minors, with 95 percent originating from Afghanistan. Most of them were believed to be en route to other European countries. Moreover, the records show that 202 families and 135 women, either alone or with children, were recorded.

The associations that took part in the meeting emphasized that the current reception system is ill-equipped to meet the present requirements. They reported that during the previous winter, daily requests for dormitory beds exceeded the approximately 45 available spaces.

Immigration Should Be Desirable but Not Like This

Italy’s population is expected to continue to age, necessitating the need for at least 280,000 foreign immigrants annually until 2050 to make up for the anticipated 7.8 million fall in the working-age population by that time.

This is stated in a note by the IDOS research institution that was released on October 17 in association with the Istituto di Studi Politici ‘S. Pio V’ and Centro Studi Confronti.

According to IDOS, foreign workers in Italy frequently have precarious, taxing, and poorly compensated employment that pose health risks, even when they are employed on a regular basis. Almost twice as many foreign workers as Italians—roughly two out of every three—are low-skilled. This is also reflected in salaries that are about one-quarter lower than the national average.

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