In Italy, immigrants they work in worse conditionsare more over-educated and underemployed, but contribute significantly to the country’s economy, with a positive balance of 1.3 billion euros for the state coffers. But they remain largely excluded from many social benefits, despite having a poverty rate four times higher than that of Italians. Among the first countries of origin of those who arrived in 2021 are those most affected by droughts and floods. On the other hand, the number of environmental migrants in the world is constantly growing: according to the World Bank they will become 220 million in 2050. The war in Ukraine only aggravated the situation. Despite the new legislation and important innovations tested for the first time in Italy, something went wrong in the reception. The new edition of the Statistical Dossier Immigrationmade by Idos Study and Research Center in collaboration with the Confronti Studies Center and the Institute of Political Studies’ S. Pius V “.
A balance in favor of the state coffers – In Italy, foreigners account for more among workers (they are 10%, over 2.2 million employed out of a national total of over 22.5 million in 2021) than among the population as a whole (8.8%, five million out of 59). But almost 64% have unskilled professions o workers and the share of over-educated people is 32.8%. Yet they pay taxes, consume and pay contributions: in 2020 they paid 5.3 billion euros of Irpef, 4.3 billion of VAT, 1.4 billion of Tasi and Tari, 2.2 billion of excise duties on petrol and tobacco, 145 million euros for the acquisition of citizenship and issue or renewal of residence permits and 15.6 billion for social security contributions. It follows that the net balance between economic expenditure (28.9 billion) and income (30.2 billion) linked to immigration is approximately 1.3 billion euros to the benefit of the state coffers. “On the other hand – explains the report – foreigners in Italy continue to do business more and more”, In addition to the fact that“ they carry out a wide range of essential jobs ”. They represent over 15% of the employed in the hotel and restaurant sector, 15.5% in the construction sector, 18% in agriculture and more than 64% in family services, where almost two thirds of the employees are foreigners. Sectors that, in the absence of foreign labor, would enter into profound crisis.
Producers of wealth, but increasingly poor – “Although they contribute in an indispensable way to the collective well-being, they are increasingly excluded from it”Emphasizes Idos. In 2021, foreigners in absolute poverty in Italy rose to over one million and 600 thousand (100 thousand more than in 2020), 32.4% of all those residing in Italy, a share more than 4 times higher than that of Italians (7.2%). Nevertheless immigrants have much less access to social assistance benefits (canteens, transport, social housing, income support measures, etc.), from which they are excluded through the introduction of illegitimate and arbitrary requirements, by municipalities and institutions, such as the possession of a long-stay permit and a registered residence at least ten years. “Constraints – underlines the report – which have limited the share of foreigners among the beneficiaries of the Citizenship Income to 12%”.
The increasingly climatic immigration – If we look at the migratory flows towards Italy, another aspect emerges: the nationalities declared by the migrants are attributable to Countries that are most suffering the pressure of climate change. In 2021 there are among the first countries of origin Tunisia, Egypt, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Syria, Ivory Coast, Eritrea, Guinea, Pakistan and Iran. Countries dependent on Russian and Ukrainian wheat and areas of the world exhausted by drought interspersed with floods, rising average temperatures and consequent famines. On the other hand, if at the end of 2021 the world had almost 90 million forced migrants, an increase of 8% compared to the previous year and reached the threshold of 100 million after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this number goes added that of forced migrants for climatic causes, the number of which remains mostly undeclared. “In Italy and in Europe – underlines the report – climate migrants as such are not recognized as refugee status”. Yet, according to theInternal Displacement Monitoring Center (Idmc)natural disasters have been the main cause of most internal displacements over the past 15 years. In 2021 alone, 23.7 million new evacuees due to environmental causes were registered, against 14.3 million caused by conflicts. Among the countries most affected are China, the Philippines and India. According to the World Bank, environmental migrants could reach 220 million people by 2050.
Conflicts and their ecological impact – The number of displaced persons is also increased by the conflicts spread all over the world “which not only cause deaths, displacements and the destruction of entire cities, but also generate a strong ecological impact”. It is an example of this the conflict in Ukraine which – says the Idos report – has also triggered another, very subtle war, that of wheat and cereals ”. A war which, in turn, risks worsening the already precarious food security in various countries of the world. Russia and Ukraine, according to FAO data, produce 12% of all food calories imported and exported globally, controlling 29% of total wheat exports. The dependence on wheat from the two countries, together with the ongoing climate crisis – particularly in the Middle East, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa – threatens to increase the migratory thrust from the southern shore of the Mediterranean. All this, while the exodus of millions of displaced people are mainly countries with precarious resources and in turn fragile also from an environmental point of view. In 2021, 83% of refugees were welcomed in low- or middle-income countries. “Climate injustice and social injustice are welded together – comments the president of Idos, Luca di Sciullo – and migration becomes the only adaptation strategy for those who have no alternative but to escape from poverty in all its forms”.
What went wrong in welcoming the Ukrainians – But the welcome of the Ukrainians teaches that good intentions do not always turn into concrete help. In March 2022, Italy introduced significant changes. Refugees from Ukraine were recognized right away the right to choose the city (or the European country) in which to stop, the Civil Protection issued a tender in April for the assignment of about 15 thousand places, including domestic reception proper and apartments activated by third sector bodies through agreements with municipalities. In addition, displaced Ukrainians were allowed to seek autonomous accommodation, directly receiving a monetary contribution. The government’s forecasts were welcome about 100 thousand people and, at the beginning of September, there were almost 154 thousand. But of these refugees who arrived in Italy, the institutional system has welcomed less than 20% of hotels, the existing Sai / Cas reception network and the call for civil protection. This is because if about 8 out of 10 have received some public assistance (net of the more than 8 thousand placements in hotels that the new forecasts would have liked to avoid), in 90% of cases it was a modest contribution, limited in time (300 euros per month for adults and 150 for minors, for no more than 90 days) and paid late. “The implementation of the ‘widespread reception’ introduced by the new provisions did not work due to slowness and bureaucratic rigidity in the start-up of the projects” explains Idos, according to whom “having focused on the solidarity impetus of the population (and of the Ukrainians already in Italy ) guaranteed a response to the large majority of refugees, mostly with private individuals rather than in collective structures “.