The adoption of legislation on illegal immigration, particularly its provisions on removal (2001-May 2002) [ITA40428.E]

Despite criticism from the United Nations (AP 11 Apr. 2002), the Italian Reform Minister Umberto Bossi of the anti-immigration Northern League party was eager to pass legislation in the spring of 2002 that would enable the deportation of unemployed immigrants, asylum seekers who were appealing negative decisions, and illegal immigrants (ibid. 20 Mar. 2002). "The Bill was drafted by Bossi and Deputy Premier Gianfranco Fini of the right-wing National Alliance" (ibid.). Ruud Lubbers, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), "called for a bill that would allow [Italian] authorities to assess requests for asylum seekers more carefully" and that would also allow for appeals in the case of negative decisions (ibid. 11 Apr. 2002). In another report, Lubbers encouraged Italy to develop separate laws for asylum, noting that Italy was the only country in Europe without such legislation (AIW 18 Apr. 2002).

In March 2002, due to an increase in illegal immigration, Premier Berlusconi declared a "state of emergency" which gives police the power to make rapid decisions on immigration matters, including expediting asylum requests and removal procedures (AFP 21 Mar. 2002; Migration News Apr. 2002). According to the Consul at the Embassy of Italy in Ottawa, there has been no change to the extended decision-making powers given to police (6 Nov. 2002).

According to Migration News:

Italy enacted a new immigration law, the Bossi-Fini law, in July 2002 that among other things, requires that all non-European Union immigrants be fingerprinted and allows the use of naval ships to patrol Italian coastlines and to intercept smuggling ships.
Non-EU foreigners must have contracts from Italian employers before their arrival. The law links residence and work permits - a foreign worker who loses his job also loses his work permit. There are new restrictions on family unification (only children under 18 can join families), and on immigrants' access to public housing. The new law makes it harder for immigrants to get their pension contributions back if they leave Italy before retirement age.
Penalties for being or employing an illegal migrant are being raised, and entering Italy illegally more than once can lead to prison terms of up to four years, while smugglers can be punished with up to 12 years jail plus a fine of E15,000 for each clandestine migrant they bring to Italy.
Italy's 2002 immigration law was prompted in part by a wave of much publicized burglaries, blamed on immigrants, in prosperous northern Italy. Illegal immigrants [represent] 20 percent [of] Italian prisoners (Aug. 2002).

No information pertaining specifically to the removal provisions of this new law could be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

According to an Asia Pulse article, there are approximately 40,000 undocumented Filipino workers in Italy, many of whom are domestic workers (4 Nov. 2002). Under the new Immigration Law, employers have until 10 November 2002 to file an application for amnesty:

Under the regularization scheme, foreigners working as domestic helpers or caregivers who have been working for at least three months beginning June 2002 are eligible to apply for regularization.
Contrary to earlier reports, there is no official indication that there will be mass deportation of illegal aliens in Italy after the expiration of the amnesty period... (Asia Pulse 4 Nov. 2002).

In addition to national immigration laws, EU countries are currently coordinating efforts to combat illegal immigration flows (AP 13 June 2002; ibid. 22 Jun. 2002; EIW 18 June 2002; ibid. 19 Oct. 2002; European Report 22 June 2002). In June 2002, EU leaders gathered in Seville, Spain, to discuss, among other items, the following immigration issues: illegal immigration, the definition of the right of asylum, external border controls, and cooperation agreements with migrants' countries of origin (AIW 6 June 2002; European Report 22 June 2002). Please refer to the 19 October 2002 EIW article (available on the Website of the UNHCR) entitled "European Report: Commission Sets Out EU Plan for Expelling Illegal Immigrants" for more information.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Agence France Press (AFP). 21 March 2002. "Concern Over Italy's Wide 'Emergency Rule' Against Illegal Migrants." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Asia Intelligence Wire (AIW). 6 June 2002. "Italy, Spain to Press for EU Immigration Strategy at Seville Summit." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

_____. 18 April 2002. "Italian Government Not to Remove Contested Provisions From New Immigration Bill." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Asia Pulse. 4 November 2002. "Filipino Workers In Italy Urged to Register Under New Law." (NEXIS)

Associated Press (AP). 22 June 2002. "European Immigrants on Hunger Strike." (NEXIS)

_____. 13 June 2002. "EU Nations Draw Up Plans for Crackdown on Illegal Immigration." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

_____. 11 April 2002. "U.N. Refugee Agency Asks Italy to Ease Proposed Immigration Law." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

_____. 20 March 2002. "Italy Copes With Illegal Immigrants." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

European Intelligence Wire (EIW). 19 October 2002. "European Report: Commission Sets Out EU Plan for Expelling Illegal Immigrants." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

_____. 18 June 2002. "Spanish PM Aznar Tones Down EU Dispute on Illegal Immigration." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

European Report. 22 June 2002. "European Council: EU Leaders to Set Deadlines for Asylum and Immigration Measures." (NEXIS)

Italy. Embassy of Italy in Ottawa. 6 November 2002. Telephone interview with Consul.

Migration News. August 2002. Vol 9, No. 8. "Spain, Italy, Portugal." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

_____. April 2002. Vol. 9, No. 4. "Italy: Migrants, Labor." [Accessed 5 Nov. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Internet sites, including:

Amnesty International (AI)

Human Rights Watch (HRW)