The NGO Sea-Eye ship Alan Kurdi, pictured off the Sardinian coast | Photo: ANSA/ETTORE LOI
The NGO Sea-Eye ship Alan Kurdi, pictured off the Sardinian coast | Photo: ANSA/ETTORE LOI

The latest draft of the decree to modify two previous security decrees by former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is now headed to the Italian cabinet. The draft includes a reform of the migrant reception system, the broadening of conditions that allow for applying for humanitarian protection, and the possibility to convert stay permits into work permits.

A new migration decree in Italy is now ready for examination by the government's cabinet of ministers, and it includes a series of modifications to previous security decrees issued under former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

The draft of the new decree provides for shorter wait times for obtaining Italian citizenship; the restoration of the possibility of performing socially useful work; and the cancellation of million-euro fines placed on NGO ships. Potential jail time for activists at sea however remain. It concerns those who don't coordinate with the maritime authorities of the countries of the flag their ships fly or who are working in rescue.

The new decree, in contrast with measures currently in effect, provides for a return to a "system of reception and integration".

Contents of the decree

The new decree, made up of nine articles, was created in a new perspective in which the word "security" doesn't appear in the title.

The draft text of the document, titled "Urgent measures in the field of migration, international and complementary protection, as well as the field of criminal law", has already been shared by majority political forces and is the result of work coordinated by Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese.

It could be modified by the cabinet before passing to parliament.

In addition to reforming the migrant reception system, the decree also provides for broadening conditions under which migrants can apply for humanitarian protection, the possibility for asylum seekers to register with the city registry, and the possibility to convert stay permits into work permits.

Observations by the Italian president's office that were made months ago were also taken into the decree, including the reintroduction of the respect for constitutional and international obligations on the choices for the issuing of stay permits.

Cases of "special protection" regarding persecuted people will also be broadened.

The new draft is a return to the past: it takes into account not only those who are fleeing torture, but also those fleeing inhumane and degrading treatment.

In addition, the mandatory term for Italian citizenship will go down from 48 months to 36 months.

Another new measure includes the reintroduction of the possibility for international protection seekers to perform socially useful work.

Provisions on NGOs

For NGOs that violate the sailing ban, there will no longer be fines of up to one million euros, but rather between 10,000 and 50,000 euros, and rescue operations that are "communicated in a timely manner" will be exempted from the fines.

However, criminal sanctions of up to two years' jail time will be possible for NGOs that don't coordinate with the maritime authorities of the country of the flag their ships fly, or those who are conducting rescue operations.

The ban with a limitation on sailing for ships, which the Salvini decrees brought to the interior ministry, will go back to the transport ministry. The latter will decide on a proposal from the interior minister, after consulting the defence minister. The overall jurisdiction, however, goes back to the transport ministry.

In the stay centres for repatriation (CPR), the transfer of convicted criminals will be prioritized. Stays in the CPRs will go from a maximum of 180 days to a maximum of 90 days, but will still be extendable by 30 days if the foreigner is a citizen of a country with a readmission agreement.

Regarding assistance for asylum seekers, there is a two-level scheme, with the first level concerning reception in Special Reception Centres (CAS), likely during the time necessary for submitting the asylum application.

The second provides for widespread reception across Italy in small groups in the so-called SIPROIMI system, which stands for System of Protection for International Protection Holders and for Unaccompanied Foreign Minors.


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