In 2018, 242,009 new residence permits were issued, 7.9% less than the previous year. The decrease was largely due to the drop in permits issued for asylum applications which passed from almost 88.55 thousand in 2017 to less than 52.500 thousand in 2018 (-41.9%).
The new flows of non-EU migrants particularly involved the North of the country: almost 56% of the new permits were issued in northern Italy while only 23% of the new permits were issued in the South and the Islands. A very low percentage of permits for family reasons (15.8% of the total) and for study (7.5%) were issued in the South and the Islands. The situation completely changes if the permits issued for asylum and international protection are considered: in this case just over 42% were issued by North prefectures, while almost 41% from the South ones.
The decline in permits for asylum seekers has involved some citizenships more than others. In relative terms, the most significant decreases concerned Guinea (-63.4%), Ivory Coast (-61.2%), Gambia (-56.5%) and Senegal (-53.8%). The decrease was significant also for Nigeria both in relative (-53.2%) and in absolute terms, being the country with the highest number of new permits for this reason(-11,500 permits compared to the previous year). The only exception to the decrease was Ukraine, which showed a 21.2% increase in the number of permits issued in response to asylum applications.
The number of non-EU citizens in Italy however continues to increase, albeit slightly: on January 1, 2019 they were 3,717,406 (3,714,934 in 2018). Despite the increase in incoming flows, the decline in historical communities from Morocco and Albania continues, above all due to the acquisition of citizenship.
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Fabio Massimo Rottino
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