Migrant protest on Lampedusa Photo: Elio Desiderio
Migrant protest on Lampedusa Photo: Elio Desiderio

The Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) has published a ten-point document taking stock of migration to Italy based as far as possible on objective data. Here are the first five points:

DROP IN ARRIVALS: WILL IT LAST? 

IT DEPENDS. "Approximately 9,300 migrants arrived in Italy in the first four months of 2018, down 75% on the same period in 2017. This trend is in line with the drop registered in the second half of 2017," writes ISPI, recalling that sea arrivals typically begin to increase from April and peak between June and August according to a seasonal trend. The institute says that caution is needed "because seasonal trends are also accompanied by the decisions and policies of the actors involved along the route."

DROP IN ARRIVALS: IS THE ASYLUM SYSTEM MORE SUSTAINABLE: 

YES, BUT… ISPI recalls that the number of requests for protection grew considerably from 2014 to the first half of 2017, putting strong pressure on the asylum system in Italy. From the second half of 2017 onwards, the gap between the applications made and those examined has started to narrow due to the major fall in the number of arrivals and consequently in the number of requests presented. If requests continue to be processed at the 2017 rate, Italy would take more than a year and half without new arrivals to process all the applications. 

DROP IN ARRIVALS: FEWER DEATHS AT SEA? 

YES. "The drop in departures has dramatically reduced the absolute number of people deaths at sea," reports ISPI. However, it also notes that the death rate on the central Mediterranean route rose in the first three months of the year rose to 5.8% from 3.3% in the same period in 2017. 

NGOs: IS IT TRUE THAT THEY ARE 'SEA TAXIS'? 

NO. "In reality the data show that there is no correlation between the sea rescue operations conducted by NGOs and migrant arrivals in Italy," ISPI explains. "Between 2015 and the present it seems departures have been determined by other factors, including for example trafficking activities on the coast and the 'demand' for transportation by migrants in various parts of Libya." 

RECEPTION: A SYSTEM STILL IN CRISIS? 

YES. The number of palces available in the Protection system for asylum seekers and refugees (SPRAR) has increased from less than 4,000 in 2012 to approximately 25,000 in 2017. However, "in absolute terms that system is still far from offering a sufficient number of places with respect to asylum applications," ISPI says. In 2017, "86% of asylum seekers and refugees accommodated in the emergency and primary reception system were not in SPRAR structures. In addition, between 2014 and 2017 the gap between migrants housed in temporary or emergency shelters and those received into the SPRAR network has continued to grow."
 

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