Migrants are rescued at sea as they are disembarked at the Catania port | Photo: ANSA/Orietta Scardino
Migrants are rescued at sea as they are disembarked at the Catania port | Photo: ANSA/Orietta Scardino

With a foreign-born population of 3.4%, Catania is the city in Sicily with the highest number of immigrants. The figure has risen by 4.4% since last year.

Some 37,591 foreigners live in the Catania province on Sicily, making it the area of the Italian island that is home to the most foreigners. The number grew by 4.4% between 2018 and 2019. Of Catania's total population, 3.4% are of foreign nationality.

With 12,000 nationals, the largest community is Romanian, followed by Sri Lankan with just over 4,000 and Chinese with 2,000. Other significant communities are Albanian (under 2,000) as well as from Mauritius and Morocco (about 1,500 each).

Almost 14,000 in city of Catania

The city of Catania alone is home to nearly 14,000 foreign residents, accounting for about 4.5% of the total city population. The three largest groups of foreign nationals are those from Sri Lanka (2,629), Romania (2,269), and China (1,109).

These figures were included in a 2018-2019 report issued by the Italian branch of Caritas and Fondazione Migrants on migration. It was recently presented at Catania's Museo Diocesano. Migrant "reception must go beyond statistical aspects," said Catania Vicar-General Salvatore Genchi.

"Behind every number, there is the face of a man, woman, or child that needs our attention," Genchi said.

World of 'the invisibles' 

Father Piero Galvano, director of Caritas Diocesana, said the report had been inspired by a message Pope Francis issued on the 105th World Day of Migrants and Refugees at the beginning of October.

Caritas said the numbers in the report represent only a fraction of the real number as it includes only those officially registered.

The charity also said that ''there is the other face of migrants, mainly from non-EU countries, that are invisible to the authorities and often get crushed by illegal work or organised crime. It further noted that this number may rise due to measures included in a recent 'security decree'.
 

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