The photo shows the building of the Rome Constitutional Court. FOTO/ARCHIVIO/ANSA STEFANO SNAIDERO
The photo shows the building of the Rome Constitutional Court. FOTO/ARCHIVIO/ANSA STEFANO SNAIDERO

The Italian Constitutional Court has ruled that requiring foreigners to have long-term residence to gain access to low-income rent subsidies is ''illegitimate''.

In a sentence deposited on July 20, the Italian Constitutional Court has ruled that a 2008 regulation requiring foreigners to have lived in Italy for 10 years or 5 years in the region to be eligible for low-income rent subsidies. 

Basis for the ruling 

The case was initiated by an appeal made by a citizen of San Salvador, the Associazioni Studi Giuridici sull'Immigrazione (ASGI) and the Avvocati per Niente (APN), against the Lombardy regional government on the national regulations concerning low-income rent subsidies. 

The highest court in Italy ruled that the 10 years of residence in the country is ''intrinsically irrational'', since it is the same length of time required for Italian citizenship requests, and that the five-year residency requirement is also irrational since there is no correlation ''between the meeting of primary housing needs of someone in a state of poverty and whether they have been in the region'' for a certain amount of time. 

Decision upholds equality between Italians and foreigners 

The ruling comes after similar decisions by the Constitutional Court of a few weeks ago, which had ruled that Liguria region regulations on access to public housing and daycare centers were unconstitutional. The sentence ''reaffirms not only a fundamental principle of equality between Italians and foreigners. 

It also halts once again the political choices of those who, in a fanatical locally-focused logic, end up awarding 'immobile needy' and punishing those who make sacrifices and move from one region to another to seek better conditions: a choice that many regions, Lombardy first and foremost, continues to make,'' said ASGI lawyer lberto Guariso, according to a statement issued by the association. Italian regional governments will now have to reexamine the division of funds and allow foreigners to be eligible for the subsidy if they fall into the lowest income bracket.

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