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Foreigners in Italy: more regular, more students, more workers

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Foreigners in Italy: more regular, more students, more workers

Presented on XXIX Migration Report 2023 by ISMU Foundation: irregular attendance decreases, students with migratory backgrounds increase, hiring record

In his Report 2023 ISMU ETS Foundation (Initiatives and Studies on Multiethnicity) of Milan estimates that as of 1 January 2023 the foreigners present in Italy were approximately 5 million and 775 thousand, 55 thousand less than the same date in 2022. The demographic balance shows a significant growth in the foreign population resident in Italy (+110,000 units). However, the irregular component decreased, which stood at 458 thousand units, compared to 506 thousand the previous year. The decline in irregular immigrants is mainly due to the progress of the regularizations implemented in 2022 to complete the “2020 emergence” procedures. Of note is the significant reduction in “regular non-residents”: their number fell from 293 thousand to 176 thousand (-117 thousand).

For what concern Work, 2023 marked the historical record for the hiring of immigrant staff – 1,057,620 people – planned by Italian companies (source Unioncamere – ANPAL). However, numerous critical issues remain, which show the need for a new governance of migration and inclusion processes (subject of analysis of the White paper on the governance of migration developed by ISMU).

On the school frontthe number of pupils with a migrant background in Italian schools has started to grow again at a rate that suggests that, in about 10 years, we will be able to reach the goal of one million pupils with a migrant background (in the school year 2021/ 22 the number stands at 872,360 presences). Furthermore, it should be noted that those born in Italy represent 67.5% of students with non-Italian citizenship.

As for religious confessionsChristians as a whole represent the absolute majority (53.1%) among foreigners residing in Italy, with a presence of Catholic immigrants standing at 17.0% (Muslims represent 29.7%).

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Where they come from

Among foreigners regularly present in Italy the non-EU component is around three quarters of the total. The increase of 166 thousand units compared to the same date in 2022 confirms the “post-Covid” recovery trend that began last year. 40% of non-EU citizens come from four countries: Ukraine, Morocco, Albania and China. This is followed by eleven countries with shares of regular non-EU presences between 2% and 5%. In order: India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Philippines, Pakistan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Senegal Nigeria, Tunisia and Peru. Overall, the top fifteen nationalities cover more than three-quarters of the total.

Ukrainians in Italy

The increase in foreigners coming from third countries in 2022 should almost entirely be attributed to the events that led to the strong growth of the Ukrainian population, a presence which, among other things, had long been consolidated in the Italian reality. As of 1 January 2022, Ukrainians in Italy with a regular residence permit were just over 230 thousand, the majority (81.2%) with a long-term permit. After the outbreak of the war, there were significant new arrivals in Italy, with a peak in May 2022. Over the course of the year, entries then largely reduced and, at the end of 2022, there were around 146 thousand Ukrainian citizens in Italy under temporary protection, including almost 54 thousand minors. Migratory pressure has weakened since the beginning of 2023, settling on an average of just under 350 new permits per month, compared to 67 thousand permits issued between 2 March and 30 April 2022 and a further 27 thousand permits issued between May and July .

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Citizenship acquisitions on the rise

During 2022, there will be approximately foreigners who have acquired citizenship 214mila, compared to 121,457 the previous year. The non-EU citizens who became Italian in 2022 are mainly Moroccans, Albanians and Ukrainians.

Birth rate of foreigners decreasing

The role of immigration in mitigating the numbers of our “demographic winter” remains important: the 393 thousand births registered in Italy in 2022 are 27% less than the 2002 figure, but are the product of a 56% increase in births foreigners and a 33% decrease in Italian ones.

However, although between 2002 and 2022 foreign births rose from 34 thousand to 53 thousand (while Italians fell from 505 thousand to 340 thousand), it should be noted that their contribution to supporting the low birth rate in our country tends to increasingly diminish. The 53 thousand births in 2022 are 27 thousand fewer than the maximum observed in 2012 (with 80 thousand births). The birth rates of the foreign population are in fact progressively converging towards those of Italians: from 23.5 births per thousand inhabitants in 2004 (with over 14 points ahead of the natives) they have fallen in 2022 to a more modest 10.4 per thousand. (with only about 4 points more).

Landings

The landings recorded on the Italian coasts in 2023 reached volumes similar to those of the period 2014-2017, the years of the so-called refugee crisis. In particular, between 1 January and 31 December 2023 the landings amounted to 157mila, with a growth of 67.1% compared to the same period in 2022 and 133.6% compared to 2021. Deaths attempting to cross the central Mediterranean are growing from 1,417 to 2,498, equal to 9 and 13 per 1,000 respectively attempted crossings. The total number of people who have died since 2014 is over 22 thousand, of which 485 are children.

In 2023, flows from Tunisia increased (+200% in the first 10 months compared to the overall figure for 2022) and those from Libya decreased slightly (-2.4%). If we consider the countries of origin of the people who landed in 2023, the number of citizens originating from Guinea grew (constituting 11.6% of the total), followed by those from Tunisia (11%), Ivory Coast, (10 ,2), Bangladesh (7.7%) and Egypt (7.0%).

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Land entrances

Arrivals at land borders are also growing: in 2022 they had been at the border with Slovenia 13.500 (+44% compared to 2021), mainly from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal. In the 2023 admissions between January and November were higher 11.000still predominantly from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh.

Asylum requests

Moving on to asylum requests, it should be noted that only a portion of the people who entered Italy irregularly make an application. Furthermore, not all of them derive from landings, but also from land entries, humanitarian corridors, airport border entries, entries under the Dublin Regulation. In the 2022 asylum requests were 84.289 (of which 7,090 repeated), with a growth of 57% compared to 2021, when there were 53,609 applications. In the 2023 asylum requests to Italy were instead 135.820submitted primarily by citizens of Bangladesh (17.3%), Egypt (13.5%) and Pakistan (12.6%).

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