Below are specific findings about unauthorized immigrants in Italy. The findings come from a Pew Research Center report about unauthorized immigrants in Europe.
An estimated 500,000 to 700,000 unauthorized immigrants lived in Italy in 2017, up from 300,000 to 500,000 in 2014, according to new Pew Research Center estimates based on the latest available data. The 2017 estimate includes 152,000 asylum seekers who were waiting for a decision on their case at the end of that year.
In 2017, Italy had the third-highest number of unauthorized immigrants among the 32 European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. More unauthorized immigrants were estimated to have lived in the UK (800,000 to 1.2 million) and Germany (1.0 million to 1.2 million) at the end of 2017.
The number of unauthorized immigrants living in Italy accounted for about one-in-six (12% to 17%) of all non-EU-EFTA citizens living in the country. About 1% of the country’s total population were unauthorized immigrants in 2017.
An estimated 3.9 million to 4.8 million total unauthorized immigrants lived in EU-EFTA countries in 2017. The total number of unauthorized immigrants living in EU and EFTA countries was also up since 2014, when it stood at 3.0 million to 3.7 million.
Unauthorized immigrants are non-EU-EFTA citizens who entered Italy without permission and have an unlikely path to permanent residency. The population also includes those who may have entered lawfully but overstayed a visa. Asylum seekers waiting for a final decision in their case are also included in the unauthorized immigrant population estimates since their future status is uncertain – most entered Italy without authorization and face high rejection rates.
Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers have landed on Italy’s shores during the past decade. Many have seen their asylum case rejected, though some have remained in Italy without authorization. Adjusting for regularizations of unauthorized immigrants during the past decade, deaths, out-migration and additional arrivals, our estimate of 500,000 to 700,000 in 2017 is similar to the estimate produced by the Iniziative e Studi sulla Multietnicità Foundation in their 2018 annual report.
For more information about the unauthorized immigrant population in Italy or other EU-EFTA countries, see the Center’s full report.