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13 May 2020 – Italy

Asylum Seekers Queuing in Italy in April 2017, (UNHCR,
Asylum Seekers Queuing in Italy in April 2017, (UNHCR, "Italy to Regularise 600,000 Undocumented Migrants," The African Courier, 6 May 2020,

The Italian Minister for Agricultural Policies, Teresa Bellanova, said (6 May) that she wants to regularise some 600,000 undocumented workers. She said: “If this doesn’t happen, the State becomes not only an accomplice but also a promoter of illegality in which these workers are forced.” The confederation of Italian farmers said the regularisation of undocumented workers working in the agricultural industry would bring an additional 1.2 billion euros into the national economy.

Italy maintains a network of seven Return Detention Centres (CPRs). The total capacity of these was 751 as of 2019. According to the European Migration Network contact in Italy, the CPRs are required to take particular precautions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, including:

– Informing migrants of the proper safeguards to be adopted to prevent the spread of Covid-19;
– Ensuring social distancing;
– Providing personal hygiene products;
– Cleaning and sanitising the premises on a regular basis

During the period January-March, there were 2,794 maritime arrivals.

Médecins Sans Frontières has reported that they are providing medical assistance in a clinic at Selam Palace, a building hosting more than 500 refugees in Rome. In addition, on 7 April 2020, the Italian government informed the German foreign ministry that due to the Covid-19 crisis, it will not allow the disembarkation of migrants rescued by German Search and Rescue NGOs, even if other EU Member States accept relocation.

Despite the impossibility of carrying out returns due to flight suspensions, Italy has not formally suspended forced repatriation measures. Also, no general policy on releasing immigration detainees from detention centres has been developed, not even regarding the Gradisca Detention Centre, where Covid-19 cases have been confirmed. ECRE reported that the number of detainees was reduced, but as of late April, there were still 229 people detained.

Following the adoption of a decree modifying regulations concerning house arrest on 16 March 2020, the prison population was reported to have been reduced by 6,000 on 18 March 2020. Nonetheless, on 30 March, two prison guards were reported to have died from Covid-19. On 23 April, 68 prisoners at the Lorusso e Cutugno prison in Turin tested positive for the disease and five were transferred to hospital.