Volunteers of the Baobab association give food to migrants in front of the Tiburtina station in Rome | ANSA: MASSIMO PERCOSSI
Volunteers of the Baobab association give food to migrants in front of the Tiburtina station in Rome | ANSA: MASSIMO PERCOSSI

Eighteen Italian associations have sent a letter to the government asking to eliminate legislative issues creating "illogical discriminations" to access the citizenship wage basic income (RdC) and universal benefits for dependent children.

As part of an initiative promoted ahead of the imminent elaboration of decrees to implement universal benefits for dependent children and an ongoing reform of the citizenship wage basic income in Italy, 18 associations promoting migrants' rights have reported to the government critical issues "creating unequal treatment between Italian and foreign people to access the measure of citizenship wage basic income and the future universal benefits."

The letter was addressed to the family department of the presidency of the council of ministers as well as to the ministers of equal opportunities and labor, the associations said Friday (September 24).

It called for an urgent "crucial change from previous choices that prevented many foreigners regularly residing" in Italy from "accessing important benefits."

The "reddito di cittadinanza" citizenship wage basic income was introduced in 2019 as financial support aimed at helping beneficiaries find a new job and promoting their social inclusion. The universal benefits "assegno unico universale" is a monthly check for families with children whose amount is based on the economic condition of the household.

Dispositions 'in contrast with law'

"After endless court battles in recent years on the access of foreigners to family benefits (including a baby bonus case "resolved" by the Court of Justice of the European Union with a ruling on September 2, 2021 C-350/2020), new dispositions concerning universal kid's benefits (law n. 46/21) or the minimum wage basic income maintain illogical discriminations that appear to go against the Union's law and constitutional principles," the groups wrote.

The organizations include the Association of juridical studies on immigration (ASGI), A buon diritto Onlus, Oxfam Italia, Actionaid, the Migrantes foundation and the Community of Sant'Egidio.

Critical issues highlighted in the legislation concerning universal kid's benefits included the requirement to have a permit "for work and research that lasts at least for a year."

The requirement goes against EU legislation, the groups said in the letter.

Moreover, the law introduces the requirement of previous residence for at least two years, which is "inevitably destined to create the unfair exclusion of foreign citizens who have immigrated more recently."

Critical points of basic income

Speaking about the citizenship wage basic income, the associations asked to "eliminate the requirement of a long-term stay permit, which excludes the most needy foreigners who are inevitably without an open-ended stay permit."

Moreover, "the requirement of a previous decades-long residence must be eliminated as it prevented over the years the access of hundreds of thousands of foreign citizens (including beneficiaries of international protection)."

According to the organizations, "these two requirements contributed to the limited access of foreigners to the citizenship wage (9% according to social security and pensions agency INPS) while data provided by (national statistics bureau) INSEE showed more than 20% of foreign families lived in absolute poverty."

 

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