According to the previous Reception Decree, asylum seekers had the right to work after 6 months from the moment they filed the asylum application, if the procedure was still ongoing and the delay was not due to the conduct of the asylum seeker.1 According to LD 142/2015, an asylum applicant can start to work within 60 days from the moment he or she lodged the asylum application.2 Even if they start working, however, their stay permit cannot be converted in a work stay permit.3
In addition, LD 142/2015 states that asylum applicants living in the SPRAR centres may attend vocational training when envisaged in programmes eventually adopted by the public local entities.4
In addition, the SPRAR has implemented standardised integration programmes. Asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection accommodated in the SPRAR system are generally supported in their integration process, by means of individualised projects which include vocational training and internships.5
SPRAR is the only integrated system that provides this kind of services to the beneficiaries. Vocational training or other integration programmes can be provided also by the means of National public funds (8xmille) or the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF). In this case, the Ministry of Interior can finance specific projects to NGOs at national level concerning integration and social inclusion. The projects financed under AMIF are, however, very limited in terms of period of activity and in number of beneficiaries.
Municipalities can also finance vocational trainings, internships and specific employment bursaries (“borse lavoro”). This fund is available both to Italians and foreigners, including asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection. The possibility to attend vocational trainings or internships is considerably limited in the case of those asylum seekers accommodated in governmental centres.
Even though the law makes a generic reference to the right to access to employment without indicating any limitations, and albeit being entitled to enlist into Provincial Offices for Labour, in practice, asylum seekers face difficulties in obtaining a residence permit which allows them to work due to the delay in the registration of their asylum claims, on the basis of which the permit of stay will be consequently issued.
Moreover, as reported to ASGI, many Employment Centres do not allow asylum seekers under the Dublin procedure to enroll in the lists of unemployed persons. This happens for examples in Veneto region and in Friuli Venezia Giulia region.
In addition, the objective factors affecting the possibility of asylum seekers to find a job are the current financial crisis affecting Italy, language barriers, the remote location of the accommodation and the lack of specific support founded on their needs.
Moreover, it must be pointed out that there is a considerable difference of opportunities in accessing integration programmes depending on the services provided by the reception centres where asylum seekers are accommodated.