Freedom of movement

Italy

Country Report: Freedom of movement Last updated: 30/11/20

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Italian legislation does not foresee a general limitation on the freedom of movement of asylum seekers. Nevertheless, the law specifies that the competent Prefect may limit the freedom of movement of asylum seekers, delimiting a specific place of residence or a geographic area where asylum seekers may circulate freely.[1] In practice, this provision has never been applied so far.

 

Dispersal of asylum seekers

 

Asylum seekers can be placed in centres all over the territory, depending on the availability of places and based on criteria providing about 2.5 accommodated asylum seekers per thousand inhabitants in each region. The placement in a reception centre is not done through a formal decision and is therefore not appealable by the applicant.

At the end of 2019, the total number of asylum seekers accommodated was 67,036 (not including those in Siproimi) and their distribution across the regions was as follows:

 

Distribution of migrants arriving in Italy per region: 31 December 2019

Region

Number of migrants

Percentage

Lombardy

10,576

15%

Lazio

5,766

8%

Campania

5,340

8%

Emilia-Romagna

7,066

10%

Sicily

3,316

5%

Piedmont

6,716

10%

Tuscany

4,840

7%

Veneto

5,400

8%

Apulia

2,181

3%

Calabria

2,092

3%

Liguria

2,998

4%

Friuli-Venezia Giulia

2,373

3%

Marche

1,522

2%

Trentino-Alto Adige

1,687

2%

Abruzzo

1,193

2%

Sardinia

1,194

2%

Umbria

1,166

2%

Molise

426

1%

Basicilata

986

1%

Valle d’Aosta

120

0%

Source: Ministry of Interior Cruscotto Statistico Giornaliero

 

Transfers between reception centres

 

After their initial allocation, asylum seekers may be moved from one centre to another, passing from: (1) CPSA / hotspots; to (2) governmental first reception centres or to CAS.

Asylum seekers are often moved from one CAS to another, in order to try to balance the asylum seekers’ presence in the centres across the regions and provinces. These transfers are decided by Prefectures, while the consideration for people’s choice to move varies from place to place. Transfers cannot be appealed.

The first reception centre of Castelnuovo di Porto, Rome, Lazio was closed in January 2019; more than 300 asylum seekers accommodated there were moved within a week without notice or information and without taking into account the individual paths that linked many of them to the local social network and labour market. The transfer modalities triggered widespread criticism.[2]

On 7 June 2019, the MoI communicated to the Centre HUB Mattei in Bologna, Emilia Romagna, the decision to close the centre due to urgent renovation works and transfer within a week the 169 hosted asylum seekers to Caltanisetta, Sicily, without keeping in consideration people’s integration in the territory. Thanks to the mobilitation of the local civil society, asylum seekers were able to remain in the municipal area and only few people moved voluntary to Sicily. The centre was recently reopened as CAS[3].

 

Restrictions in accommodation in reception centres

 

The Reception Decree also clarifies that asylum applicants are free to exit from first reception centres during the daytime but they have the duty to re-enter during the nighttime. The applicant can ask the Prefecture for a temporary permit to leave the centre at different hours for relevant personal reasons or for those related to the asylum procedure.[4] The law does not provide such a limitation for people accommodated in CAS, but rules concerning the entry to /exit from the centre are laid down in the reception agreement signed between the body running the structure and the asylum seeker at the beginning of the accommodation period.

Applicants’ freedom of movement can be affected by the fact that it is not possible to leave the reception centre temporarily e.g. to visit relatives, without prior authorisation. Authorisation is usually granted with permission to leave for some days. In case a person leaves the centre without permission and does not return to the structure within a brief period of time (usually agreed with the management body), that person cannot be readmitted to the same structure and material reception conditions can be withdrawn (see Reduction or Withdrawal of Material Reception Conditions).

On 16 June 2017, the Prefecture of Naples adopted a new regulation to be applied in CAS. The regulation establishes a curfew at 22:00, or 21:00 in spring and summer. The regulation also foresees Withdrawal of Reception Conditions if the curfew is not observed. The regulation has been challenged by ASGI before the Council of State but the latter rejected the appeal considering that the regulation cannot imply an automatic withdrawal of the reception conditions since the administration is required to evaluate case-by-case the reasons of the absence.

However, in these situations the existence itself of measures regulating the access to the structure and the potential lack of legal advice prevent recipients from challenging revocations.

 


[1]  Article 5(4) Reception Decree.

[2]  Redattore Sociale, ‘Non difendiamo i grandi centri ma così è inumano’, 23 January 2019, available in Italian at: https://bit.ly/2TEGca1.

[3]https://cutt.ly/WyONeu7.

[4] Article 10(2) Reception Decree.

 

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