In the first six months of 2019, the Italian government issued more than 100,000 new stay permits. In 2020, fewer than 43,000 were issued during the same period -- a 57.7% decline. This is a consequence of the coronavirus emergency, according to a report on non-EU citizens by Italian statistics bureau ISTAT.
As a consequence of the Covid emergency, in the first six months of 2020 the Italian government issued 57.7% fewer stay permits than the same period in 2019. In the month of March, which marked the start of the lockdown, the number of stay permits issued for reasons of asylum went to nearly zero.
This snapshot showing the impact of the coronavirus on migrant arrivals and the overall situation of migrants in Italy is the focus of a report on non-EU citizens by Italian statistics bureau ISTAT.
In the first six months of 2019, more than 100,000 new stay permits were issued, while in the same period in 2020, that total was less than 43,000. The biggest reduction was seen in April and May, down respectively 93.4% and 86.7%.
All of the various reasons for entry experienced the effect of border closures and a slowdown in administrative activity during the initial phases of the lockdown.
The most significant, that of family reunification, saw a 63.6% drop, while permits for asylum decreased by 55.5%.
Although less consistent in overall terms, the drop in permits for seasonal workers -- down 65.1%, from 2,158 new permits in the first six months of 2019 to 753 in the first half of 2020 -- was also meaningful and was due largely to border closures.
Seasonal worker permits saw a record drop in the region of Emilia Romagna, where the total decreased by a full 90% compared to the same period in 2019.
Coldiretti says without two in three seasonal workers in 2020, vouchers needed
"The pandemic, with the closure of borders, prevented the arrival in Italy of nearly two seasonal workers out of three (65.1%) from non-EU countries, with a dramatic impact on farm activities," said Coldiretti, the largest association of representation and assistance in Italian farming.
"The situation didn't improve in the second half of the year, due to the delay in the issuing of the migrant flows decree, which opened the way for the entry of 18,000 non-EU seasonal workers beginning only in mid-October. The situation had an impact on the the harvest, from fruit to olives to wine grapes, without flexible tools suitable for facing the emergency," Coldiretti said.
The lack of the arrival of farm workers "hasn't yet been accompanied by measures to facilitate access to work by Italians, such as the introduction of simplified vouchers to allow those who also receive state benefits, Italian students, and pensioners to carry out work in the fields, in a time in which many workers are on unemployment, and the weakest groups in the population are struggling."