The updated AIDA Country Report on Italy provides a detailed overview on legislative and practice-related developments in asylum procedures, reception conditions, detention of asylum seekers, content of international protection, as well as procedure for and content of temporary protection in 2022.

In 2022, 105,129 people reached Italy through disembarkations, marking a 55.79% increase compared to the previous year. In terms of migratory routes, 53,310 came from Libya, 32,371 from Tunisia and 16,205 from Türkiye. Around 13,000 people arrived from the Balkan Route at the land border of Trieste. The number of registered unaccompanied minors rose from 10,053 in 2021 to 13,386, in 2022. On 2 February 2023, the Memorandum of Understanding between Italy and Libya was renewed for the second time after February 2020, despite the evaluation of the dramatic effects having been reported by numerous organisations, and notably by IOM and UNHCR. Many people fleeing from Ukraine also reached Italy in 2022. Between 8 March and 31 December, 151,435 temporary protection beneficiaries were registered in the country.

Problems continued to be signalled for what concerned access to the asylum procedure, both at the borders and in the country’s main cities. Despite said issues, 77,200 people presented asylum applications, while 84,290 were still pending at the end of 2022. The main countries of origin of asylum applicants were Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Egypt. Out of the 53,065 first-instance decisions issued throughout the year, a slight increase in the recognition of protection statuses was noticed. Overall, around 48% of applicants received a protection status at first instance: 28% were recognised as one form of international protection, while 20% obtained special protection status.

On 2 January 2023, the Government adopted Law decree 1/2023, then converted into Law 15/2023, introducing rules of conduct and corresponding sanctions for vessels carrying out search and rescue activities at sea. On 26 February, a tragic shipwreck took place near to the Calabrian coastal town of Steccato di Cutro, causing the death of at least 94 people, several of whom were children. The Government’s response was the adoption, on 10 March 2023, of an urgent decree on migration matters. While the government declared to have strengthened the criminal response against human trafficking and increased channels to access Italy through labour permits, no significant improvements in national legislation on legal migration were observed by NGOs. Through the conversion of the “Cutro Decree” into law n. 50 of 5 May 2023, several changes to national asylum provisions were realised. Among these, the scope of application of the border procedure was expanded, and additional grounds for the detention of asylum seekers were introduced. Notably, the new law also severely limited the cases in which special protection can be recognised.

Some issues connected to reception capacity were registered in 2022. On 5 December 2022, the Italian Dublin Unit issued a letter informing that, from the following day, incoming transfers to Italy would be suspended due to the absence of places in the reception system. At the end of 2022, the total number of asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection accommodated in reception facilities was 107,677. Law 50/2023 once again – as was the case through the Salvini Decree in 2018 – excluded asylum seekers from the possibility to access the SAI system, which is currently granted only to asylum seekers identified as vulnerable and to those who have legally entered Italy through complementary pathways. Additionally, services in accommodation centres for asylum seekers were strongly reduced. As of February 2023, SAI comprised of a total of 934 smaller-scale decentralised projects, with a total of 43,923 accommodation places. Among the SAI projects currently funded, 36,821 offer ordinary places, 6,299 are dedicated to unaccompanied minors, and 803 to people with mental distress or physical disabilities.

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