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How quarantine measures regulate migration in Italy?

The key measures aimed to face challenges brought by the COVID-19 in Italy have been provided through different ministerial acts from the end of February. On the 4th of March the epidemiological state  and mandatory lockdown was declared at the national level. 

Limiting movements 

The latest version of the Decree-Law published in G.U. on 25 March 2020 provided for "restrictions or prohibitions on expulsion and entry into municipal, provincial or regional territories, as well as into national territory". The decree limits the movement for persons, including the possibility of moving away from the own residence if not for individual travel limited in time and space or motivated by work needs, or emergency, health or other specific reasons.

According to the Italian Interior Ministery, restriction of movements also include residents of reception centres. Authorities declared that  that all migrants currently in reception centers, even if someone many no longer meets the requirements, should stay in the interior ministry facilities or in the SIPROIMI reception system until the end of the measures to combat the Covid-19 emergency. All deportations have been suspended. 

Extension of residence permits 

As the lockdown is in force, the summons for the issue or renewal of the residence permit are currently suspended. To mineralize the risk of loosing residence status new temporary regulation was provided.  The new order of  the Italian Interior Ministry’s Civil Liberties and Immigration Department had regulated the situation of legalisation of stay for migrants, who face the ending of their residence permits. Decree-Law No 18 of 17 March 2020 “Measures to strengthen the National Health Service and provide economic support for families, workers and businesses related to the epidemiological emergency by COVID-19”, so-called Cure Italy decree (decretoCura Italia), has extended the duration of residence permits expiring between 31 January and 15 April 2020 – documents shall remain valid until June 15, 2020. 

Migrants’arrivals to Italy

Until the end of March, despite the limitation on movements, the landings of migrants remained to continue but the total number of arrivals had significantly decreased.The Ministry of the Interior had issued several circulars to ensure the prevention and containment of the spread of COVID-19 within the reception facilities and detention centres for repatriation. Appropriate and pre-identified areas, or, if necessary, new facilities are dedicated to hosting individuals placed in quarantine.Newly arrived migrants were subjected to coronavirus tests and had to go into self-isolation for 14 days. 

A change of course occurred in early April. Indeed, the inter-ministerial decree (Transport, Foreign, Internal, Health) of 7 April 2020 proclaims the closure of Italian ports to NGOs that save migrants at sea. In fact, in view of the emergency situation connected to the spread of Coronavirus, it is not currently possible to ensure the availability of such safe places on the Italian territory without compromising the functionality of the national health, logistic and safety structures dedicated to limiting the spread of the infection and care and care for Covid-19 patients

Italy: Migrants to stay in centers beyond time limit, [06.04.2020]. 
Italy: Migrant landings decreased in March, [03.04.2020].