Country report on access to services – Italy

This report looks at post-2014 migrants’ access to housing, employment, and other relevant resources in different small and medium-sized towns and rural areas Italy.

Primarily based on interviews conducted in six selected municipalities, it provides an overview of:
1) the concrete barriers that post-2014 migrants are facing in relation to housing and employment;
2) the local actors who are involved in, and/or seen as responsible for, facilitating their access;
3) any concrete local measures or practices that help or hinder this access;
4) the specific target groups of these measures, initiatives or practices.

The report finds that the market is the main driver of post-2014 migrants’ housing and labour inclusion as well as exclusion, with the housing market displaying higher barriers than the labour market. Although local initiatives and networks are more developed in progressive localities than in conservative ones, in both cases they appear unable to actually counteract market limitations. At the same time, traditional demand-supply dynamics appear undermined by ethnic discrimination that emerges as the main challenge for post-2014 migrants, the large majority of which come from Africa and South Asia. Against this backdrop, informal contacts play a crucial role: ethnic networks appear as the main channel to find jobs and accommodation; post-2014 migrants’ networks with natives are much smaller than those with co-nationals but particularly fruitful, since they tend to convey better housing and working conditions. Individual initiatives of support appear more systematic and interconnected in progressive localities than in conservative sites. Similarly, the engagement of NGOs in service provision and advocacy is higher in progressive localities so that NGOs, instead of compensating the conservative local authorities’ lack of initiatives, tend to reinforce the activism of pro-migrant municipalities. As a result, initiatives to facilitate post-2014 migrants’ accesso to housing and employment are distributed according to local actors’ activism rather than to migrants’ needs. This is largely explained by the weak Italian welfare policies, the local authorities’ poor competences and/or resources in the fields of housing and employment, and the local initiatives’ dependence on calls for projects issued by the central government.

Authors: Irene Ponzo, Eleonora Milazzo, Orlando De Gregorio
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