A migrant disembarkation in Italy | Photo: ANSA
A migrant disembarkation in Italy | Photo: ANSA

The number of new stay permits issued to migrants and refugees in Italy decreased in 2018, according to the Italian statistics bureau ISTAT. The number of stay permits issued to asylum seekers went down over 40%.

Italy issued a total of 242,009 new stay permits in 2018. That's 7.9% fewer than the previous year, according to a new report by the Italian statistics bureau ISTAT. 

The report showed the largest drop was in the number of stay permits granted to asylum seekers, which went down 41.9%. Work permits went up 19.7% and family reunification permits rose by 8.2%. 

Study permits inceased by 20%, and of those, nearly 21% were issued to Chinese students (more than 4,500).

Most new non-EU migrants settled in northern Italy -- nearly 56% of permits were issued in the north. Only 23% of new permits were issued in the country's south.

Albania and Morocco top countries of origin

Albania and Morocco were the top two countries of origins for new migrants, according to ISTAT. Migration from Nigeria decreased 40%.

Gambia and Senegal both slipped out of the top 10 countries of origin, while Egypt and Ukraine joined the top 10.

Migration from the Indian subcontinent held steady; while arrivals from Bangladesh and Pakistan went down, permits issued to people from India went up.

Fewer naturalizations 

The ISTAT report also showed that fewer people from non-EU countries aquired the Italian citizenship in 2018 compared to 2017. As of January 1, 2018, there were 1,354,261 new Italian citizens.

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