Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Italian government, during the cabinet meeting, Rome, 5 October 2020 | Photo: Angelo Carconi / ANSA
Palazzo Chigi, seat of the Italian government, during the cabinet meeting, Rome, 5 October 2020 | Photo: Angelo Carconi / ANSA

The Italian cabinet, on Monday, approved a new decree on migration and security in the country. It is in distinct contrast to the two previous decrees by former interior minister Matteo Salvini. The new decree is intended to return to a “system of reception and integration.”

The Italian cabinet on Monday evening approved a new security and migration decree that rewrites the security decrees by former interior minister Matteo Salvini. The cabinet confirmed the draft decree, which was worked out via a majority agreement in July.

The new decree does away with million-euro fines of NGOs and reforms the migrant reception system, introducing, among other things, a special protection mechanism. The decree was approved in less than an hour after the start of the cabinet meeting on Monday evening.

In addition to changes in the area of migration, the decree also makes some alterations in the area of security; including two regulations to tighten restrictions on the Daspo law, which bans violent people from attending sporting events; as well as toughening the general penalties for violence and drug dealing.

New system of welcoming and integration

The new decree on migration and security reforms the reception system destined for international protection seekers and protection holders by creating a new "system of reception and integration."

Initial assistance activities will continue to be carried out in ordinary and special government centers.Thereafter, the system will divide into two levels of service, the first dedicated to international protection seekers, and the second for those who are already international protection holders, with added services aimed at integration.

NGO fines up to €50,000

The text of the new decree on migration modifies the sanctions on the transit ban on ships in territorial waters. If a ban is required for reasons of public order and safety, or for a violation of the rules on migrant trafficking at sea, it will be put into place by a proposal from the interior minister together with the defence and infrastructure ministers, after informing the Italian premier.

With regards to rescue operations, the ban will not be applied so long as the rescue operation is communicated to the coordination center and the country of the ship's flag and respects the directions of the authorities with jurisdiction over search and rescue at sea.

If a ban is violated, the penalty is from the navigation code, which includes jail time of up to two years and a fine of between €10,000 to €50,000. These measures are expected to eliminate the administrative sanctions contained in the previous decree.

Conversion of stay permits to work permits

The new decree on migration and security also tackles the topic of converting stay permits issued for other reasons into work permits. In addition to the stay-permit categories already eligible for conversion, the decree adds the categories of special protection, calamity, elective residence, acquisition of citizenship or stateless person status, sporting activity, artistic work, religious reasons, and assistance to minors.

There is also an expanded access of special protection for foreigners contained within the new decree. Current regulation regarding international protection for foreigners stipulates a ban on expulsion and pushbacks in the event that repatriation would put the repatriated person at risk of torture.

The new decree adds to this the risk that the foreigner would be subject to inhumane or degrading treatment, and also bans expulsion in cases where there would be a risk of violation of rights with respect to private life or family life.In these cases, the decree offers the possibility of issuing a stay permit for special protection.

 

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