People waiting to apply for basic income aid at a CGIL CAF trade union tax assistance center in Naples. Credit: ANSA
People waiting to apply for basic income aid at a CGIL CAF trade union tax assistance center in Naples. Credit: ANSA

The Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (ASGI) has announced that the first appeals by foreigners living in Italy will soon be filed against the ''discriminatory'' nature of a basic income introduced in the country.

The new "citizens' income" program in Italy provides those eligible with welfare and unemployment benefits. It's open to Italians, EU citizens, and legal residents who have lived in Italy for at least 10 years and whose annual household income doesn't exceed €9,360 euros. 

The Association for Legal Studies on Immigration (ASGI) claims the measure is discriminatory against foreigners. Alberto Guariso, a lawyer with the ASGi, told ANSA:  After a few months, ''I think we will manage to file the first appeals" against the allegedly unconstitutional nature of Italy's new basic income. 

The ASGI has in recent years dealt with many discrimination cases. 

Legal basis for the appeal 

Guariso said that, especially as concerns the requirement of ten years of residency, the focus could be on sentence 166 of the Constitutional Court of July 2018, which found that five-year or ten-year residency required of non-EU citizens for access to rent aid for the poor was unconstitutional. As concerns the other requirement affecting foreigners, that of having a ''long-term permit'', the lawyer said, this ''excludes those holding stay permits of limited terms, who account for 35 percent of foreigners legally living in Italy." 

The lawyer said that there are previous sentences on this matter too passed by the Constitutional Court, starting in 2013, especially as concerns issues linked to ''invalidity and disability''. He added that when the first requests for basic income by foreigners are rejected - for not fulfilling the requirements noted above, ASGI will initiate the first appeals, assisting the immigrants and probably beginning with a ''pilot case at the Milan Court of Labor, the fastest''. 

'Lodi amendment' is discriminatory, ASGI 

In addition to the introduction of the 10-year residency and the limitation to foreigners with long-term stay permits, the association claims that an amendment provided for in the conversion from decree to law on the basic income is also discriminatory. The amendment requires citizens of non-EU countries to produce documentation from their countries of origin - translated into Italian and legalized by the Italian consular authority - attesting to the applicant's ''nuclear family, income, and property in their country of origin."

The measure has been dubbed the "Lodi amendment" after the well-known case of school lunches in Lodi on which Milan judges recently ruled after an ASGI appeal. The measure is seen as yet another way to limit access to the basic income for foreigners as much as possible.

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