Migration Policy: When an Emergency Rule Becomes the Rule Evidence from Italy
21 Pages Posted: 25 Nov 2013 Last revised: 20 Oct 2016
Date Written: November 1, 2013
Anecdotal evidence exists that migrants experience difficulties in complying with Italian immigration rules (i.e. permit of stay applications and renewals) because of an intricate and inconstant legal framework. As a consequence, migrants often need legal assistance in order to regularize their status. In 2011, in order to manage the exceptional flows of refugees escaping from countries involved in the Arab Spring and the Libyan civil war, the Italian Government released the North Africa Emergency Provisions (ENA) which temporarily relaxed immigration policies for some categories of migrants. By using data from an important charity in Milan (Casa della Carità) which provides legal assistance to migrants we perform diff-in-diffs estimations in order to investigate the impact of this emergency rule on the probability of legal status regularization. Results show that the emergency situation actually increased the number of successful applications in favor of immigrants who were entitled to the ENA provisions, while dramatically boosting the denial rate for all the other immigrants. This suggests that some migrants (those not benefiting from the ENA) suffered a sort of displacement due to the enactment of the emergency rules.
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