Like other countries in Southern Europe, Italy has, in the course of less than two decades, rapidly and unexpectedly changed from a country of emigration to one of immigration. The immigrant population is approximately three million people out of a total of 58 million inhabitants. While the immigrant population amounts to just under 5 per cent, among them, asylum seekers (successful and rejected ones) are only a tiny fraction. Immigrants come to Italy mainly in search of employment and of a better life. They come from many different countries and continents of origin, profess different religions, and carry with them a mosaic of cultures and habits. Italy has developed a piecemeal approach to immigration, lacking until recently a comprehensive and consistent policy framework. Because of its geographical position, this country is highly exposed to penetration by illegal immigrants from the south and from the east. Moreover, like other southern EU countries, Italy has a widespread informal economy, thereby providing fertile ground for illegal migration to operate in. Combating undocumented immigration and the trafficking of human beings is a priority for both security and foreign policy. It is also an issue to which public opinion is extremely sensitive. Despite several regularization programmes enacted since the late 1980s, allowing the legalization of more than two million immigrants, immigrant integration is still at an early stage in Italy. Significant steps toward integration were taken in the period 1998−2001, when a centre-left government was in power. The Berlusconi government on the other hand put more emphasis on tight management of flows, limited the scope of integration to legal migrants only, and made the procedures involved in obtaining or renewing legal status even more bureaucratic and cumbersome. Nonetheless, in 2002, this centre-right government enacted the largest regularization programme ever, involving 700,000 immigrants. At the same time, public opinion remains concerned about immigrants ‘invading’ their national territory, as well as endangering their national welfare and identity.
Scheda prodotto non validato
Attenzione! I dati visualizzati non sono stati sottoposti a validazione da parte dell'ateneo