Just 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 into one of immigration. Italy has witnessed a steady increase in the number of foreign nationals during the period between 1986 and 2002. On 1 January 2004, there were an estimated 2.6 million foreigners present in Italy, who account for approximately 4.2% of the total resident population. Most of these immigrants are young people (aged between 20 and 40 years) who emigrated mainly for economic reasons. Already in 2001, more than half (about 59%) of the immigrant population had lived in Italy for more than five years. Acquisition of Italian citizenship, given the difficulties posed by the law currently in force, is still infrequent, with a high rejection rate. Immigration towards Italy did not begin in a period of reconstruction and economic development, as it did in North-Western European nations, but rather during time of a severe economic crisis, characterized, among others, by growing unemployment. Italy has developed a piecemeal approach to immigration, lacking until recently of a comprehensive and consistent policy framework. Several regularisation programmes were enacted since the late 1980s (five times in sixteen years: 1986, 1990, 1996, 1998 and 2002), allowing the legalisation of more than 2 million immigrants. Nevertheless, these ‘amnesties’ did not solve the problem of undocumented migration. The 2002 regularisation brought to the fore a large number (700,000 approx) of undocumented migrants working as care providers, domestic helpers and manufacture workers. The first comprehensive law on migration was law 40/1998 (the Single text - Testo Unico) which regulated not only immigration control but also immigrant integration. This law was more recently modified by law 189/2002 (the so-called Bossi-Fini Law) which introduced small changes in relation to asylum, as well as modified the work/stay permit system in use. Italy, because of her geographical position, is highly exposed to penetration by illegal immigrants from the South and from the East. Moreover, Italy as other southern EU countries, has a widespread informal economy that appears to be a prime determinant for illegal migration. Combating undocumented immigration and the trafficking of human beings is a priority both in terms of security and foreign policy, a priority to which public opinion is also sensitive. During the last two decades, the Italian mass media have promoted a negative and highly stereotyped image of immigrants. The main criticism against the media is the tendency to transmit alarmist information on immigration. News reports have been linking immigration and undocumented (clandestine) entry to Italy, transforming all immigrants into ‘illegal’ ‘criminals’ ‘threats’ in the ‘common imaginary’. Several NGOS, trade unions and charitable organisations have been active since the 1980s providing assistance to undocumented immigrants who wished to obtain legal status. To facilitate contacts, these organisations encouraged the civic participation of immigrants and their involvement in representative bodies. Furthermore, these organisations provided support to immigrant associations. Immigrant participation in trade unions, voluntary organisations and immigrants associations ensures their access to what is called ‘intermediate political rights’. From an institutional perspective, civic and political participation remains mostly the realm of Italian citizens and naturalised immigrants. This paper gives an overview on the arguments relevant for immigrant civic participation. The paper is divided in two parts. The first part concerns the conditions for immigrant civic participation in Italy: (1) key events and demographic developments in the migration history of country; (2) public discourse on migration (i.e., the current public discussion on migration related issues and the major topics that receive media attention); (3) institutional setting framing immigrant participation (the current major legal and institutional conditions that are important for immigrants civic participation, trying to differentiate between restrictive and encouraging conditions). The second part of the paper concerns an overview of the literature on active civic participation of third country immigrants in Italy. In the annex we provide for a mapping of the research competencies on immigrant civic participation and immigration in general.

Active Civic Participation of Third Country Immigrants: Italian Country Report / Kosic, Ankica. - (2005).

Active Civic Participation of Third Country Immigrants: Italian Country Report.

KOSIC, Ankica
2005

Abstract

Just 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 into one of immigration. Italy has witnessed a steady increase in the number of foreign nationals during the period between 1986 and 2002. On 1 January 2004, there were an estimated 2.6 million foreigners present in Italy, who account for approximately 4.2% of the total resident population. Most of these immigrants are young people (aged between 20 and 40 years) who emigrated mainly for economic reasons. Already in 2001, more than half (about 59%) of the immigrant population had lived in Italy for more than five years. Acquisition of Italian citizenship, given the difficulties posed by the law currently in force, is still infrequent, with a high rejection rate. Immigration towards Italy did not begin in a period of reconstruction and economic development, as it did in North-Western European nations, but rather during time of a severe economic crisis, characterized, among others, by growing unemployment. Italy has developed a piecemeal approach to immigration, lacking until recently of a comprehensive and consistent policy framework. Several regularisation programmes were enacted since the late 1980s (five times in sixteen years: 1986, 1990, 1996, 1998 and 2002), allowing the legalisation of more than 2 million immigrants. Nevertheless, these ‘amnesties’ did not solve the problem of undocumented migration. The 2002 regularisation brought to the fore a large number (700,000 approx) of undocumented migrants working as care providers, domestic helpers and manufacture workers. The first comprehensive law on migration was law 40/1998 (the Single text - Testo Unico) which regulated not only immigration control but also immigrant integration. This law was more recently modified by law 189/2002 (the so-called Bossi-Fini Law) which introduced small changes in relation to asylum, as well as modified the work/stay permit system in use. Italy, because of her geographical position, is highly exposed to penetration by illegal immigrants from the South and from the East. Moreover, Italy as other southern EU countries, has a widespread informal economy that appears to be a prime determinant for illegal migration. Combating undocumented immigration and the trafficking of human beings is a priority both in terms of security and foreign policy, a priority to which public opinion is also sensitive. During the last two decades, the Italian mass media have promoted a negative and highly stereotyped image of immigrants. The main criticism against the media is the tendency to transmit alarmist information on immigration. News reports have been linking immigration and undocumented (clandestine) entry to Italy, transforming all immigrants into ‘illegal’ ‘criminals’ ‘threats’ in the ‘common imaginary’. Several NGOS, trade unions and charitable organisations have been active since the 1980s providing assistance to undocumented immigrants who wished to obtain legal status. To facilitate contacts, these organisations encouraged the civic participation of immigrants and their involvement in representative bodies. Furthermore, these organisations provided support to immigrant associations. Immigrant participation in trade unions, voluntary organisations and immigrants associations ensures their access to what is called ‘intermediate political rights’. From an institutional perspective, civic and political participation remains mostly the realm of Italian citizens and naturalised immigrants. This paper gives an overview on the arguments relevant for immigrant civic participation. The paper is divided in two parts. The first part concerns the conditions for immigrant civic participation in Italy: (1) key events and demographic developments in the migration history of country; (2) public discourse on migration (i.e., the current public discussion on migration related issues and the major topics that receive media attention); (3) institutional setting framing immigrant participation (the current major legal and institutional conditions that are important for immigrants civic participation, trying to differentiate between restrictive and encouraging conditions). The second part of the paper concerns an overview of the literature on active civic participation of third country immigrants in Italy. In the annex we provide for a mapping of the research competencies on immigrant civic participation and immigration in general.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/49566
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