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Country analysis

Italy


Over 157,600 undocumented migrants and asylum seekers reached Italy by sea in 2023, a 50% increase since 2022. Most were from Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Tunisia, often fleeing poverty, persecution, or conflict and looking for security and better economic and social opportunities in Europe.

The migration journey through the Mediterranean Sea is among the most dangerous, with boats often capsizing and people remaining stranded at sea awaiting rescue. The number of dead or missing people over the Central Mediterranean Route in 2023 reached nearly 1,900, slightly more than in 2022. Once rescued, migrants and asylum seekers have urgent needs that include access to safety, medical care, protection, registration, and obtaining a legal status. Since 2023, logistical issues and legal authorisation requirements by the Italian Government have challenged and delayed NGO and INGO rescue operations.

Work access is the main challenge for both documented and undocumented migrants and refugees in Italy. Many also face difficulties in accessing proper work contracts or renewing expired work permits, exposing them to exploitation. In some areas, such as Lampedusa Island, lack of government support limits assistance to migrants and asylum seekers. In 2023, the reception facility in Lampedusa hosted nine times its capacity. (UNHCR accessed 04/02/2024, MMC 25/10/2023, TBP 15/05/2023, IM 28/08/2023, IM 16/06/2023)

Over 157,600 undocumented migrants and asylum seekers reached Italy by sea in 2023, a 50% increase since 2022. Most were from Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Tunisia, often fleeing poverty, persecution, or conflict and looking for security and better economic and social opportunities in Europe.

The migration journey through the Mediterranean Sea is among the most dangerous, with boats often capsizing and people remaining stranded at sea awaiting rescue. The number of dead or missing people over the Central Mediterranean Route in 2023 reached nearly 1,900, slightly more than in 2022. Once rescued, migrants and asylum seekers have urgent needs that include access to safety, medical care, protection, registration, and obtaining a legal status. Since 2023, logistical issues and legal authorisation requirements by the Italian Government have challenged and delayed NGO and INGO rescue operations.

Work access is the main challenge for both documented and undocumented migrants and refugees in Italy. Many also face difficulties in accessing proper work contracts or renewing expired work permits, exposing them to exploitation. In some areas, such as Lampedusa Island, lack of government support limits assistance to migrants and asylum seekers. In 2023, the reception facility in Lampedusa hosted nine times its capacity. (UNHCR accessed 04/02/2024, MMC 25/10/2023, TBP 15/05/2023, IM 28/08/2023, IM 16/06/2023)

Latest updates on country situation

15 June 2023

Access constraints restricting migrant rescue ships in Italian waters have recently increased, with incidents of Italian authorities detaining ships. Two ships faced detention for 20 days starting 2 June 2023, and a third ship faced another 20-day detention on 15 June for breaching new regulations imposed in January specifying the allowable number of rescue operations and ports to use. The constraints will likely hinder rescue operations for people stranded at the Mediterranean Sea. (Info Migrants 05/06/2023, Al Jazeera 03/06/2023, Info Migrants 16/06/2023)

current crises
in Italy


These crises have been identified through the INFORM Severity Index, a tool for measuring and comparing the severity of humanitarian crises globally.

Read more about the Index

ITA002 - Mixed Migration

Last updated 29/04/2024


Drivers

Displacement

Crisis level

Country

Severity level

2.2 Medium

Access constraints

2.0

REG007 - Central Mediterranean Route

Last updated 29/04/2024


Drivers


Crisis level

Regional

Severity level

3.3 High

Access constraints

3.0

Analysis products
on Italy

Humanitarian Response Plan 2022

07 April 2017

Humanitarian Response Plan 2022

DOCUMENT / PDF / 901 KB

ACAPS and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have produced a new set of Central and West Mediterranean migration scenarios, outlining possible developments in migration via Libya, Italy, Spain and other transit countries over the next six months.

Mixed migration
The Balkans: Asylum Seekers, Migrants, and Refugees in Transit

18 March 2016

The Balkans: Asylum Seekers, Migrants, and Refugees in Transit

DOCUMENT / PDF / 777 KB

As of 16 November, close to 820,000 people have arrived in Europe by sea in 2015. 85% of the arrivals are from the world’s top ten refugee-producing countries. As the sea route to Italy via North Africa is longer and more risky, and as the number of Syrians has increased, more people are travelling through Greece and then through the Balkans to reach northern and western Europe.

Mixed migration
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