At the beginning of 2006, in Italy, total immigrants amount to almost four million individuals, who represent 7% of the whole population, 19.4% of whom are irregular. Most of them, that is to say more than 50%, are employed in the service industry, and 14.5% hold a degree. About 11% immigrants own the house in which
they live. Minors are growing too, totalling 22%, and represent 5% of all the students attending the school. Unaccompanied minors amount to more than 7,500 individuals. A further run-up is expected over the next decade, and immigrants might reach a total amount of 7 million units. In particular, foreign immigrants’ age
segments might change, through the growth of the over-45 age segment, while the 25-44 year segment, which represents the active and more productive population, would decrease accordingly.
These are the major data emerging from the 12th Report on Migrations published and presented by Fondazione Ismu (Iniziative e studi sulla multietnicità). The meeting for the presentation of this report, was jointly organized with the Chamber of Commerce of Milan, and was attended also by Paolo Raineri and Vincenzo Cesareo, respectively President and General Secretary of Fondazione Ismu, Carlo Sangalli,
President of the Chamber of Commerce of Milan and President of Unioncamere (the national body that gathers all the local Chambers of Commerce), and Giuseppe Guzzetti, President of Fondazione Cariplo.
On that occasion, the 2007 Prizes for Ethnic Entrepreneurship were also awarded. All the winners of this year, which was declared the European Year of Equal Opportunities for All, are women, and namely, Luz Adriana Poveda Gutierrez (a foreign entrepreneur) owner of the firm Adriana Pulizie of Milan and Luisa Zanetti (an Italian entrepreneur), promoting partner of Cooperativa Sociale Amelinc of Milan.
Beginning from this edition, for the first time also the prize Media and Immigration was awarded. This prize was awarded to the publishing group Il Sole 24 Ore “for having constantly and authoritatively faced with the utmost attention the problems related to the phenomenon of migration, and having caught its innovative
1) How many are the immigrants living in Italy?
At the beginning of 2006, they almost total four million individuals (3.772 millions), that is to say, about 7% of the whole population. This figure includes both regular and irregular migrants.
Regular Migrants. As to January 1, 2006, they total 3.012 million individuals (about 1.2 millions more than in the previous triennium), 2.671 millions of whom are residents, that is to say, nine foreigners out of ten, 4.3% of the total amount on a national scale (as to July 1, 2005, they totalled 4.1%).
Irregular Migrants. As to July 1, 2006, they amount to 760,000 individuals, about 19,4% out of total migrants, reporting a 3.3% rise compared to 2005 (as to July 1, 2005, they were in total 541,000 units).
Minors. There is, in addition, a persisting considerable growth of minors: the 50,000 minors reported among residents in 1991, rose to 284,000 units in 2001, and further doubled over the last five years, up to touch an amount of 585,000 units at the end of 2005, that is to say, about 21,9% of the whole foreign population. A
strong boost has been given by births: the 34,000 births reported in 2003 have risen to almost 52,000 in 2005, representing 9,4% total births reported in Italy, and a 6.2% increase in comparison with 2004. The growing number of minors depends by 60% on newborn children, while the remaining 40% consists of those who have come to Italy for family reunification reasons.
Immigrants find a regular employment. At the end of 2005, Inail (the national institute for industrial injuries) reports 1.7 million foreign workers (a little more than 10% out of all registered workers). In relation to the recruitments made in 2005, immigrants’ incidence has further spread, reaching 16% of the total. But even
higher is immigrants’ incidence on new recruits, which reaches 19% (in addition to the 3% represented by foreigners originating from the new EU member countries), and totals 172,692 engagements of non-EU workers, plus 27,802 engagements of workers from the new EU member countries).
Quite different are instead the data provided by Istat (the national statistics institute), which most likely underestimate this phenomenon. In the second quarter of 2006, Istat reports 1,375,000 individuals, that is, 834,000 men and 541,000 women, who correspond to an 84.2% employment rate in the case of men, and 51.2% in the case of women.
Regularly Employed Immigrants, basing on Istat data, gather mostly in the North (65%), by 25% are settled in the Centre, and only by 10% in the South. Most of them (786,000) work in the service industry, which includes 57% men and 84% employed women (services remain an area in which female employment predominates, although it partly represents an occupational segregation form). 27% immigrants are employed in manufacturing industries (more than 80% of which situated in the North), 28% in the building industry, and only a residual percentage of them work in agriculture. The large majority of employed immigrants (85%) have been recruited with open-end work contracts. This datum would lead to retrench the
commonplace of foreign workers’ greater exposure to precarious jobs (the overall gap being 1.6 per cent points only), but the inquiry carried out by Istat most probably has involved only the most stable immigrants’ component. Among women, temporary employments reach an 18% rate.
Educational Qualification. Almost 40% employed immigrants hold an educational qualification equivalent to a diploma, 36% have attended the compulsory school, 14.5% hold a university degree, and the rest of them, namely those who hold a primary school diploma or no educational qualification at all, amount to 28%.
Entrepreneurs. Basing on the data provided by Infocamere, at the end of 2006 foreign entrepreneurs totalled 4.2%, that is to say, more than 334,000 individuals, while six years before they were in total less than 160,000 individuals (2.1% of the total). They concentrate particularly in the North, representing 6 cases of out ten, and particularly in Lombardy, where they reach a 21% peak.
Women. Among them, there is a marked primacy of East-European immigrant women, originating in particular from Romania, employed in jobs that were formerly a prerogative of a few “historical” communities. For example, in housework, Romanian women have reached in quantitative terms Filipino maidservants. East-European women are also at the first place as home caretakers. Chinese women are instead the undisputed protagonists of female entrepreneurship, representing a little less than 60% foreign artisan women, and more than one third of the women who run trade activities.
Unemployment affects in particular irregular (24.9%) and illegal (19.7%) immigrants, but also a share of regular immigrants: 8.6% of those who hold a residence permit, 4.5% of those who hold a residence card, and 4.2% naturalized immigrants.
3) The school
In classrooms, immigrants’ children have become a “normal” presence. In the school year 2005/2006 424,683 foreign students were enrolled in State and private schools, representing 4.8% total students, while in 2000, they totalled 2%. They are now 8 and a half times as many as in the school year 1995/1996.
Foreigners concentrate especially in the infant school, where they reach a 5% share, and in the primary school (6%). However, in the last few years, their presence has grown also in the secondary school, reaching a 4.8% share in the school year 2005/2006 (the same rate as the overall national average). And for the first
time, the percentage of foreigners enrolled in the upper secondary school has exceeded the share of those who are enrolled in the infant school: out of all foreign students, they represent now respectively 19.4% and 19.2%. In the school year 2005/2006, most foreign students (43.7%) originate from non-EU European
countries. In comparison with the previous year their growth totals about 30,000 additional units. Albanian (+9,000) and Romanian (+11,000) students are constantly increasing.
Private Schools. The number of foreign children in private infant schools is growing too: 4.6% against 5.3% of those attending State schools, while in the school year 2004/2005 they totalled respectively 4.4% and 4.7%.
Educational delay in relation to age. This is a widespread phenomenon among foreign students and the difference in relation to Italian students grows as the educational level increases. While in the primary school educational delay is almost absent among Italian students, it involves instead 10% foreign students. At the end of the secondary school, foreigners’ delay rises to 60.5% foreign students, while it stops to 8.8% among Italian ones. At the and of the upper secondary school this delay slightly lowers, most likely because school abandonment and renouncing grow at this educational level.
Successful results. The differences between foreign and Italian students grow as soon as the educational level rises. In the primary school, foreign successful students total 96.7%, while Italian students total 99.9%.
In the secondary school, immigrants failures amount to 11%, and they further and considerably increase in the upper secondary school, involving more than one fourth examined students.
Diplomas. Despite the high share of school delay and failures in the upper secondary school, the number of foreign boys and girls who hold a diploma is continuously growing: in the school year 2005/2006, they total 6,005 units, and mostly originate from non-EU European countries (1,198 Albanians, 541 Romanians).
Type of School. By 40% Italian students attend the high school (“liceo”), while this type of school is attended only by 18.6% immigrants, who instead gather in professional (40.6%) and technical (37.9%) schools.
4) Unaccompanied foreign minors
An unaccompanied foreign minor is a foreign minor who does not hold the Italian citizenship or the citizenship of another EU-member country, who has not submitted an asylum petition, and lives in Italy on his/her own, without any assistance and representation exerted by parents or other adults. Unaccompanied foreign minors reported by Cms (Comitato per Minori Stranieri, Foreign Minors’ Committee) totalled 6,663 units in 2002, 6,550 in 2003, 7,040 in 2004, 7,583 in 2005. Considering the year 2005, most of them originate from Romania (2,616), Morocco (1,408), and Albania (1,064). These minors are mostly 17 year-old males (81.54%) and mainly gather in Lombardy (1,479), Lazio (1,292) and Sicily (942).
53% of them do not hold any residence permit, 14% hold a foster care permit, and only the remaining 33% are in possession of a regular residence permit.
There is a growing number of foreigners who own a house. By mid-2005, non-EU immigrants who own the house in which they live total 10.9%, and have concluded 116,000 house purchases. Among immigrants, 18% have a mind to buy a house in the near future. Banks and real-estate agencies have gradually become more confident and have also devised special made-to-measure “packages” for the different nationalities of prospect purchasers.
The Turro-Termopili Case. North of Milan, in an area situated between via Padova and viale Monza, 30% inhabitants, in mid-2005. are of foreign origin. This neighbourhood resembles that of Belleville in Paris, an old peripheral working-class neighbourhood, which due to the de-industrialization processes that took place
in the last few decades, is now experiencing the coexistence of urban re-qualification, on the one hand, and decay and segregation on the other, as well as a sudden growth of the immigrant population, according to a “mosaic-like” cohabitation model.
A large immigrants’ presence allows local householders to rather easily sell buildings and flats the Italian city-dwellers consider crumbling. This phenomenon leads to the rise of a double circuit in the real-estate market: next to decayed blocks there are re-qualified and gentrified houses and streets.
At the beginning of 2005, most immigrants profess the Christian religion, totalling 1,683,000 units, that is to say, 50.1% out of all non-EU immigrants, and 944,000 of them are Catholics. Muslims amount to 1,233,000 units, that is to say, 36.7% total immigrants. Other religious confessions follow: 119,000 are the Buddhists
(3.5%), 42,000 the Hinduists (1.3%), while further 73,000 persons belong to religious communities that individually constitute less than 1% of the immigrant population, and 6.1% are the atheists. The immigrants who belong to the Catholic and Islamic religion mostly concentrate in Milan (respectively 126,200 and
124,000 individuals), Rome (respectively 120,400 and 93,900), Brescia (respectively 23,600 and 65,000), Turin (respectively 53,500 and 47,000), and Bergamo (respectively 23,600 and 45,100). The largest Buddhist communities are established in Milan (14,100), Rome (5,200), and Florence (5,000). The largest Hindu
communities are established in Bergamo (3,000), Mantua (2,500), Brescia (2,400) and Vicenza (2,000).
7) Laws and Regulations
Migration Flow Planning. The events related to migration flow planning have evidenced the inadequacy of the regulations concerning foreign workers’ admission procedure. In the future, it would be advisable to outline not only one, but rather a variety of entry channels. To the current admission possibilities connected to the availability of an employer prepared to recruit a foreign worker, it might be added a revised and amended version of admission for the purpose of seeking a job through the support of a sponsor, which had already been provided for by the Consolidated Act, but was subsequently cancelled in 2002. These two channels addressed in particular to low-qualification workers, might be joined by a third channel addressed
to those who have, or would anyway be in a position to have, before their coming to Italy, the necessary qualifications for having a rather easy access to the Italian labour market or Italian society. This third channel provides, such as it happens in many other countries, for allocating a part of the admission quotas on the basis of a classification by “scores”, in order to reward a good knowledge of the Italian language, a good basic education, etc.
The Laws on Citizenship. It would be advisable to re-define these rules. The grant of citizenship should be considered as the point of arrival of a process of immigrants’ stabilization and full enjoyment of rights. This process might involve for adults a “stabilization” period of two years, which might be added to the five years
of regular permanence required for the issue of the residence card. Therefore, an overall period of 7 years might be assumed for entitling an immigrant to obtain the Italian citizenship. For minors, instead, in order to make their “integration process” better identifiable, it might be useful to fix, as a necessary requirement for
acquiring citizenship, a regular school attendance conforming to the regulations on compulsory schooling, which would also act as a deterrent against school abandonment.
As to July 31, 2006, imprisoned foreigners represent 33% of the whole prison population (20,088 out of a total population of 60,710 units). The five most represented nationalities are Moroccans, Albanians, Tunisians, Romanians and Algerians.
Effects of the Pardon. In August 2006, owing to the pardon, 16,568 persons were released, and in mid- November their number rose to 17,455 individuals. The situation in the Italian prisons, as to September 30, 2006 has therefore changed: the total number of prisoners has lowered to 38,326 individuals, 12,369 (32%)
of whom foreigners. For the first time since many years, the number of prisoners is again below the overall capacity of prisons (42,233 places). Foreigners could benefit from the pardon proportionally in relation to Italian prisoners: in fact, the percentage of foreign prisoners out of the total has remained almost unchanged.
As to the end of September 2006, the five major nationalities to be found in prisons are Moroccans, Albanians, Romanians, Tunisians, and former-Yugoslavians.
9) Future developments
The very high rates of immigrants’ growth reported in Italy need to be attentively and closely studied. Over the last twenty-five years the foreign component has grown by almost ten times, passing from 400,000 units reported in 1981, to about 4 millions, according to the latest estimates. A run-up is further expected over the
next decade. In 2016, immigrants living in Italy might range from a minimum of 5.5 million persons to a maximum of about 7 millions. This increase is also bound to births, which in the forthcoming years might double, or even triple: this means that in 2016, minors might range from a minimum of 1,395,000 units to a maximum of 1,720,000. As a consequence, the age of the migrant population would change accordingly: the percentage of over-45 people would pass from the current 14.3% rate to 23-25%, depending on the assumed parameters, while the relative weight of the active and more productive population (the 22-44 years age segment) would decrease by 10 per cent points. Gender distribution, too, might change: today
there are 112 males out of 100 females, but within ten years, the ratio might lower to 107-108 males to 100 females.