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06 October 2023

Italy: New law on unaccompanied minors

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A new decree D.L. 133/2023) on unaccompanied minors and asylum was adopted in Italy on 6 October.

The decree could affect the reception and integration of minors in two ways. First, it deviates from the general provisions by which unaccompanied minors are accommodated in the reception and integration system (SAI): in the case of continuous and frequent arrivals of unaccompanied minors, if their reception cannot be ensured by the relevant municipality it must be provided by the local offices of the Ministry of the Interior (the prefecture), through the activation of temporary structures. If these structures are temporarily unavailable, the prefect may order the temporary placement of the minor - if they appear to be over the age of 16 - in a special section not specifically reserved for minors for a maximum period of 90 days. In principle, this means that unaccompanied minors who appear to be over the age of 16 can be placed in adult reception centres, a practice that has been condemned in the past by the European Court of Human Rights.

Second, new age determination procedures have also been introduced - which can be applied when there are continuous and frequent arrivals of unaccompanied minors -, wherein determination is carried out by a medical procedure (a "radiological examination") by the police authorities. A similar procedure differs significantly from the Italian provisions introduced by the so-called 'Zampa law', according to which the age assessment is carried out in a multidisciplinary manner, by trained professionals and in the presence of a cultural mediator. According to several civil society organisations, mistaken determination of the age of a minor can have an impact on their access to integration and inclusion measures, and can violate the principle of acting in their best interests.

Finally, the new decree slightly modifies the procedure by which a residence permit for an unaccompanied minor is converted into a work permit: the assessment of the relevant requirements will now be carried out by a representative employers' association.


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Posted by
Ferruccio Pastore
Country Coordinator

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