Archive: A Syrian family arrives at Rome's Fiumicino airport | Photo: ANSA/TELENEWS
Archive: A Syrian family arrives at Rome's Fiumicino airport | Photo: ANSA/TELENEWS

The Italian Constitutional Court has paved the way for migrant families with work permits of more than six months to receive the Italian government's baby bonus and maternity allowance, ruling that the previous requirement of a long-term stay permit is unconstitutional.

A ruling by the Italian Constitutional Court brought good news for migrants with a residence permit that allows them to work in Italy.

If the permit is longer than six months, the migrants will be able to access the Italian government's baby bonus and maternity allowance.

Thus far, only non-EU foreigners residing in Italy with long-term stay permits were granted access to the benefit, which is reserved to new mothers and families for each new child born or adopted, and also provides support for vulnerable working mothers.

This condition was set forth in law 190 of 2014 for the baby bonus, and by legislative decree 151 of 2001 for the maternity allowance. It was also a condition in recent legislation for the single universal allowance for children, which starting in March 2022 will incorporate the various measures for families with dependent children, beginning with the baby bonus.

Constitutional Court decision

Italian Constitutional Court judges ruled that the limit on the benefit was unconstitutional, following a public hearing on Wednesday (January 12). The ruling has yet to be filed, but the Constitutional Court's press office released a preview that said the Court found the current provisions to be in conflict with Articles 3 and 31 of the Italian Constitution and with Article 34 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

The rules determined unconstitutional are those that exclude third-country nationals who are admitted to Italy for work purposes, as well as those admitted for purposes other than work who are allowed to work and have a residence permit with a duration of more than six months.

It was the Italian Cassation Court that raised doubts about the legitimacy of the condition for receiving the subsidy for newborns -- which ranges between €80 and €160 per month for a year in the case of the first child, based on the family's economic situation declared on the ISEE form -- and the maternity allowance.

The Cassation Court argued that the condition was detrimental to the principle of equality and the protection of motherhood.

Consultation with EU Court of Justice

Prior to making its ruling, the Italian Constitutional Court filed a request for a preliminary ruling on two points with the European Court of Justice, which issued a clear ruling on September 2, 2021.

The Court in Luxembourg established that the condition is incompatible with Article 34 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which provides for the right to social security benefits, as well as Article 12 of the European Directive 98 of 2011 on equal treatment for third-country nationals and nationals of EU Member States.


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