Rome—In 2003, there were 2.6 million immigrants in Italy, or 4.5 percent of the population, with an increase of 658,675 people compared to 2002—25,000 of them were Ghanaians.
And of six million people hired, 986,701 jobs went to foreigners: one of six people hired, compared to one of ten in 2002. The number of immigrants is above three million when one takes into consideration illegal immigrants, which are 200-800,000.
The figures were presented by the 14th Report on Immigration by Caritas, presented this morning in Rome.
The report also says that there were 105,739 immigrants rejected or expelled, compared to 150,000 in 2003, and 130,000 in 2002 and 2001. However, warns the report, “one cannot conclude that the number of illegal immigrants is decreasing: there were 704,000 applications to legalise one’s status in 2002, beyond any type of expectation, and should make us cautious.” The number of legal immigrants thus increased (doubled between 2000 and the start of 2004, at 2.6 million).
The breakdown: 1,449,746 or 66.1 pct came for work, 532,670 or 24.3 pct for family reasons, 146,371 or 6.7 pct for education or elective residence, 0.8 pct for political asylum. This shows a strong trend towards social assimilation, showed in 2003 by 107,515 permits for insertion, and above all the 10 pct increase in work permits: from 834,000 to 1.5 million. Where do the 2.6 million immigrants come from? Around 900,000, or 40.9 pct from East European countries, with Romania in first place (239,000), followed by Albania (233,616), then the Ukraine (112,802), Poland (65,847), Croatia (21,336) and Russia (18,924).
Another 516,000 (23.5 pct) come from Africa. The list is led by Morocco (227,940), Tunisia (60,572), Egypt (44,798), Nigeria and Ghana with 25,000 and 23,000 each. Then comes Asia with 368,000, led by China with 100,109 people, followed by the Philippines (73,847) and India with 47,170. The Americas follow in the list, with 251,000 (11.5 pct), with the United States (48,286), Peru (46,964), Ecuador (45,859) and Brazil (26,858) in the top four spots, and EU countries, with 153,000, or 7 pct, led by Germany (37,159). Once in Italy, the immigrants settle down mostly in the northwest, which hosts 731,000 or 33.4 percent. The northeast hosts 614,000, or 24.5 percent, while the centre has 614,000 or 28 percent. There are 230,000 live in the south, and 80,000 in the islands. The gender breakdown shows 51.6 percent males (1,132,281) and 48.4 percent women (1,061,718). There are also 400,000 minors, including 35,000 newborns and 25,000 new arrivals. There are more married people with or without children (49.9 percent or 1,095,474) than singles (1,015,505 or 46.3 percent). There are 35,241 widowed (1.6 percent), and divorcees (27,459, or 1.3 percent). Strong social insertion is also shown by figures concerning jobs: in 2003, one of six jobs went to a foreigner, with 986,701 foreigners hired, of which 771,813 full time and 214,888 with temporary jobs. In 2002, this figure was one in ten. In short, immigrants are an important resource for the job market: 7.4 percent of those hired were in farming, 21.7 percent in industry, 27.2 percent in services, and 43.7 percent in the wide-ranging area of domestic service, which includes domestic work, construction, hotels, restaurants, cleaning activities, as well as commerce. However, immigrants are not just a work force, and to protect themselves, they join unions: in 2003, there were 333,883 workers in unions, 49 percent more than 2000, and even had managerial positions.