Risky journey, yet the influx of immigrants to Italy is increasing

59 migrants have just died after a boat capsized in rough seas off the southern coast of Italy. The incident has brought to the fore the trend of thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Italy on a very dangerous sea route.

Most migrants travel from North Africa. But some people migrate from Turkey to Italy. The Italian government has been consistently trying to reduce the number of immigrants.

Still, the influx of immigrants to Italy continues to grow. Some of its statistics are highlighted by news agency Reuters:

Number of Immigrants Arriving in Italy:

According to Italy’s Interior Ministry, 13,067 migrants arrived in Italy by boat from January 1 to February 23 this year. The same number in 2022 was 5,273. And in the previous year this number was 4,156. Of the registered immigrants this year, 861 are unaccompanied minors.

A total of 105,129 migrants arrived in Italy in 2022. This number is higher than in 2021. In that year this number was 67,477. And in 2020 it was 34,154. However, a record 181,436 migrants arrived in Italy in 2016. 13,386 unaccompanied minors among registered immigration applicants in 2022.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said 51 percent of migrants arriving in Italy by sea in 2022 came from Libya. 31 percent came from Tunisia and 15 percent came from Turkey. Fewer migrants came from Lebanon, Algeria and Syria.

Nationality of Immigrants:

Guineans have made up the largest number of migrants arriving in Italy so far this year. Their number is (1,654). It is followed by Ivory Coast (1,511), Pakistan (997), Tunisia (846), Egypt (490) and Bangladesh (447).

Earlier, Egyptian nationals accounted for the largest number of migrants arriving in 2022. Their number was (20,542). It was followed by Tunisia (18,148), Bangladesh (14,982), Syria (8,594) and Afghanistan (7,241).

Killed and Missing:

The UN Refugee Agency’s Missing Migrants Project has registered more than 17,000 deaths and disappearances in the central Mediterranean since 2014.

This Mediterranean sea route is the most dangerous in the world. This year, more than 220 people have died on this route.

Italian Government Actions:

In 2017, Italy’s then centre-left government signed a deal with Libyan authorities to stem the flow of migrants, curb human trafficking and strengthen border security. As a result, the number of immigrants in Italy has decreased significantly.

But human rights organizations condemned the deal. As a result of this agreement, they said, thousands of would-be migrants are trapped in detention camps in Libya, where torture takes place regularly.

In the following years, however, the influx of immigrants to Italy was scarce. But one of the reasons was the covid pandemic. Later the number of immigration aspirants started increasing again. In Italy comes the new government of right-wing Prime Minister Meloni. In 2022, this government has once again promised to reduce the flow of immigration aspirants.