Immigration in Italy

Italy now has 3 million foreigners
The number of foreigners living in Italy rose by 10% to reach almost three million last year, according national statistics bureau Istat.

Figures also confirmed that foreign couples tended to have more children than Italian ones, with the result that for every 10 babies born in Italy, one now has foreign parents.

On January 1, 2007, some 2,938,922 foreign citizens were resident in Italy, Istat’s report said, noting that last year’s 10.1% increase was slightly less than in 2005. With 5% of its population foreign citizens, Italy still has a smaller immigrant community than other European countries such as Germany, which has 8.8%, and Britain, which has 6.2%.

Istat figures showed that Albanians were the largest foreign community, with 376,000 nationals now in Italy, followed by Moroccans (343,000), Romanians (342,000) and Chinese (145,000). The recently formed New Italians Immigrants’ Party greeted the Istat statistics by calling for political representation for the foreign population.

“Now that the ‘New Italians’ have reached three million politicians cannot continue to ignore their needs,” said President Mustapha Mansouri.

“We’re asking for resident citizens to enjoy political rights. They pay taxes and contribute to the country’s wealth. This is a fundamental right”.

The Council of State, Italy’s highest administrative court, in 2005 rejected a move by the city of Genoa to allow immigrants to vote in municipal elections, saying only central government had the power to extend voting rights.

Since then the government has not changed laws on voting.

In 2004, Rome allowed foreigners in the city to elect representatives to “advise” the city council. These representatives have no powers of their own and are only allowed to offer opinions on policy.

A poll by research institute Iref found that almost 60% of foreigners living in Italy said they thought voting rights would help them feel more integrated and “less foreign”.

Source: ANSA

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