Forms and levels of material reception conditions


Country Report: Forms and levels of material reception conditions Last updated: 30/11/20


According to the law, the scope of material reception conditions and services offered to asylum seekers shall be defined by decree of the Ministry of Interior so as to guarantee uniform levels of reception across the territory, taking into account the peculiarities of each type of reception centre.[1] The Reception Decree provides for a monitoring system in reception centres by the Prefecture, through the social services of municipalities.[2]

The latest decree approving the tender specifications schemes (capitolato d’appalto) was adopted on 20 November 2018.[3]

Under the tender specifications schemes issued following Decree Law 113/2018, the daily amount per person allocated to the centres’ management was reduced from €35 to €21, de facto forcing contractors to opt for large centres, reducing the number of operators and the activities offered in the centres.

As expected, government policies on the design of the reception system opened a market for large companies such as European Homecare in Germany and the UK, Hero in Norway, and ORS in Switzerland. The latter, already present in the accommodation sector in Rome according to a 2018 report[4], won the call for tenders for the first accommodation centre based in Fernetti, at Trieste border with Slovenia, in 2019.[5]

Moreover, the tender specification schemes only guarantee basic needs such as personal hygiene, pocket money, and €5 for phone cards. They no longer cover integration services. Compared to the Capitolato published in 2017, the following expenses are no longer covered: Italian language courses; orientation to local services; professional training; leisure activities.

The new schemes also omit psychological support (which is maintained only in CPR and hotspots), replace legal support with a “legal information service” reduced to 3 hours a week for 50 people, and significantly reduce cultural mediation to an overall 12 hours a week for 50 people. No services for vulnerable people are provided, thus leaving the protection of these persons to purely voluntary contributions.

In 2019 Prefectures published new calls for tenders strictly in line with the new Capitolato.

However, many calls went deserted due to the poverty of the offer, in terms of funds and services offered. Therefore, in the meantime, many Prefectures had to renegotiate the tenders in order not to leave the reception centres uncovered.[6] This has happened, for example, in Florence, Siena, Bologna, Genoa, Modena, Trieste.[7] However, even in these contexts, the situation created is an extremely precarious limbo in which the most worthy organizations have tried to guarantee with less funds the services that the government has not foreseen and required, considering them not essential.

With the express purpose of dealing with deserted calls and homogenizing the responses of Prefectures in their territories, as of 4 February 2020, the new MoI issued a Circular allowing Prefectures to minimally vary the auction bases.[8]

The suggested flexibility of the tender specifications schemes, limited to an increase around € 3 per day, does not affect in any way the type, quality and quantity of services to be guaranteed as it only allows to adjust the daily amount to the different costs of the accommodation facilities leased along the national territory and to foresee an increase on surveillance services, in line with the preference for big centres, aimed at control rather than integration of the asylum seekers.[9]

Moreover, the circular allows Prefectures to admit, in selecting the managing companies, to derogate from the minimum professionalism requirements indicated in the tender specification scheme, including, for example, the minimum three-year experience in accommodation services.

As documented by the Actionaid and Openpolis report, the tender specification schemes resulted in 2019 in the disappearance of many small centres (CAS) also because of the third sector's refusal to take part to a reception system based on the mere control of migrants.[10]

In Rome and Milan the accommodation scene sees the prevalence of big social cooperatives (Medihospes in Rome and Versoporobo in Milan) and the appearance of profit-making organizations without any social purpose such as Ospita Srl, Engel Italia Srl, Nova Facility and Ors Italia srl. [11]

The appeals filed by small and specialized social cooperatives and non-profit organizations against the call for tenders were rejected or are still pending before the Administrative Tribunal of Lazio at the time of writing.

The law does not provide a definition of “adequate standard of living and subsistence” and does not envisage specific financial support for different categories, such as people with special needs. 

In relation to financial allowances i.e. pocket money for personal needs, each asylum seeker hosted in first reception centres receives €2.50 per day as pocket money. Although the level pocket money in CAS is agreed with the competent Prefecture, according to the Decree of 20 November 2018, the amount received by applicants hosted in CAS should be €2.50 per day for single adults and up to €7.50 for families.

The Reception Decree does not provide any financial allowance for asylum applicants who are not in accommodation and often, where there are no places available in CAS or governmental centres, the Prefecture sends asylum seekers to one of those facilities, thereby exceeding their maximum reception capacity. As a result, this causes overcrowding and a deterioration of material reception conditions (see Conditions in Reception Facilities).

It is not possible to say that the treatment of asylum seekers concerning social benefits is less favourable than that of nationals, since the Qualification Decree establishes only a comparison between nationals and international protection beneficiaries but not with asylum seekers.


[1] Article 12(1) Reception Decree.

[2]Article 20(1) Reception Decree.

[3] Ministry of Interior Decree of 20 November 2018, available in Italian at: available at:19, available in Italian at:

[4] Valori, Migranti gli sciacalli della finanza brindano a Salvini, January 2019, available in Italian at:

[5] Valori, Dai timori alla realtà: «I centri-migranti sempre più ghetti senza servizi». E a Trieste rispunta ORS January 2020, available in Italian at:

[6]According to the report published by Openpolis and Actionaid on October 2019, from the entry into force of the new tender specifications schemes (10 December 2018) to the beginning of August 2019, out of the 428 procurement contracts banned by 89 Prefectures, more than half were extensions of ongoing contracts or procedures aimed at solving specific situations, usually to find temporary solutions pending the put in place of the new system. See the first part of the report available at :

[7] Valori, Accoglienza migranti, i quattro fallimenti del decreto sicurezza, 31 July 2019 available at :

[8] MoI Circular, 4 February 2020, available at:

[9]  Redattore Sociale,  Accoglienza migranti, più fondi ma sui servizi non si cambia. "Solo maquillage", 6 February 2020, available in Italian at:

[10] Actionaid, Openpolis, La sicurezza dell’esclusione, Second part, December 2019, available in Italian at :

[11] Openpolis and Actionaid report that in Rome 83.5% reception places are located in large centres. Medihospes manages 63% of all reception places. In Milan, 64% of reception places are provided in large centres. See:; for a complete picture of the accommodation system in Milan see NAGA, Senza Scampo, December 2019, available at:; see also Internazionale, Il decreto Salvini ha favorito il “business dell’accoglienza”, 17 February 2020, available at:


Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation