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Posted on March 18th, 2013, by

In this essay I would like to consider the current immigration problem in Italy and history of this issue. Moreover, I would like to analyze the Bossi ”“ Fini law. To begin with it should be noted that immigration to Italy is a relatively recent phenomenon, which began to reach significant size, roughly in the early 70-ies of the XX century, and later became a phenomenon characteristic of the Italian population in the early twenty-first century.

As a matter of fact, on January 1, 2009 Italy was the fourth European country on the absolute number of foreign residents, behind Germany (7.2 million), Spain (5.7 million) and the United Kingdom (4 million). It is essential to note that Italy, for most of its recent history has been a country of emigration, it is estimated that between 1876 and 1976 from Italy left more than 24 million people. Throughout this period, immigration was virtually non-existent however, if we except the displacement due to the consequences of World War II, there have been a flow from the former Italian colonies in Africa. Italy was basically a country from the negative net of migration, the phenomenon of immigration began to wane significantly only since the sixties, after the years of economic growth. In particular, in 1973, Italy had the first time a slight positive net of migration. It should be noted, however, that the inputs in that period were still largely made up of Italian emigrants returning to their country, rather than by foreigners. The flow of foreigners began to take root only in the late seventies, due to “open door policy”¯ practiced by Italy, and for more restrictive policies adopted by other countries. However, in 1982 was first proposed a program of regulation of undocumented migrants, while in 1986, was passed the first law with which Italy sets the goal of ensuring that workers outside the EU have the same rights as Italian workers. In 1991, the number of foreigners was virtually doubled to 625,000 people. In the 90-ies of the XX century the net of migration has continued to grow.

As a fact, on January 1, 2011 there are 4,563,000 foreigners in Italy, 7.5% of the total population, an increase over the previous year is 7.45% (328.000people). It is essential to note that this value continues to grow. The foreign population has an average age much lower than the Italian one, in 2009, minors were 932.675 people (22% of the total) while foreigners born in Italy (the so-called second generation) were about 573.000, i.e. 13.5% of total strangers. In particular, foreigners born in Italy in 2010 represented 14% of total births, an incidence about twice that of foreigners in the total population.

The official statistics based on residency, of course, do not include the number of foreigners staying illegally in the country. However, many studies on multi-ethnicity have shown that for a January 2008, it was the presence of an estimated 17.9% more illegal immigrants on the Italian territory (about 650.000). Analyzing the areas of origin of the immigrants I would like to note that in recent years there has been a sharp increase in flows from Eastern Europe, which have exceeded the countries of North Africa. This is particularly due to the rapid increase of the Romanian community, which in 2007 has approximately doubled from 342.000 to 625.000 people and represents the largest foreign community in Italy. This is due, probably, from the entry of Romania into the European Union, which has facilitated the flow and linguistic affinity. Besides this, major foreign communities in Italy are Albanian, Moroccan, Chinese and Ukrainian. As for January 1, 2010 about half of foreign residents came from Eastern Europe, in particular quarter from countries in the region that joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007.

Also, the distribution on the Italian territory is very uneven: in the north-west lies the 34.9% of foreign nationals in the Northeast – 26.3%, 25.3% in Central and Southern Italy and 13.5% on islands. In 2010, however, the increase of the foreign population was more significant in the South than in Central and North. Within this distribution it should be mentioned that a significant disparity between the provincial capitals (with more admissions) and rural areas. Among the Italian provinces, the one with the largest foreign community is Milan (371,670), followed by the Roma (366,360), Turin (185,073) and Brescia (149,753). In 2009, foreigners living in Italy were significantly younger than the Italian citizens, with a middle age of 32.3 years against 43.9. This is the second youngest among the foreign community to EU countries (after Denmark) against the second oldest national population (after Germany). The foreign population resident in Italy has a level of education similar to the Italian population. Many sources reported that 39.4% of the Italian population has a higher education in comparison with 38.9% of the foreign population.

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