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Security Package (Bill 733) approved by the Senate

Here are the main points contained in the approved text

9 febbraio 2009

The Permit to Stay Tax bill and the abolition of the ban on hospital staff reporting irregular migrants have been passed. The point relating to CPT detention time was stopped.

With 154 votes in favor, and 114 against, the Senate approved the security package bill 733.
The text approved by the chamber is of a profoundly repressive nature, and provides for the removal of article 35 of the single text on immigration. This consisted of a ban on the reporting of illegal migrants by medical and hospital staff. It also includes a contribution (the famous tax) payable for the issuing and renewal of Permits to Stay from 80 to 200 euros, to be set by a future ministerial decree.
The point which envisaged the extension of the period of detention in a CIE (Identification and Expulsion Centre) to 18 months was stopped due to the absence of many of the members of the parliamentary majority. However the Viminale (Home Office) has already announced its intention to re-present the proposal for a vote in the House.

The provisions of Bill 733 are:

- Marriage and Italian citizenship
The acquisition of Italian citizenship by marriage can take place, after two years of residence in the state (following marriage), or after three years, if the spouse is abroad. These times are halved if there are children. The above provisions provide for a period of six months. When it will be necessary to pay a fee of 200 euros.
There is further pressure on marriages from an amendment of the Civil Code which foresees the introduction of a requirement to produce a Permit to Stay. So there will be no more weddings between "irregular migrant" and "irregular migrant", which will not lead to any type of "regularization".

- Illegal entrance and stay
The Bill introduces the crime of illegal entry and stay, but without this resulting in immediate imprisonment. A fine of between 5,000 and 10,000 euros is foreseen. In addition there is the possibility of repatriation, without the permission of the relevant authority (nulla osta).

- Registration
A certificate of accommodation suitability will be required to register or change official residence details with the Registrar. A large amount of housing, including luxurious private lets, will not be able to meet this criterion. This is one of the measures that will affect the rights of migrants, EU and Italian citizens:

- Production of Permit to Stay
This in introduces the need to produce the permit to stay for all civil acts. This means that even the simple, but sacrosanct right to recognize a child, will be dependent on the need to provide the applicant’s permit to stay.

- Entry visa for family reunification
It will no longer be possible to apply for an entry visa if permission (nulla osta) is not issued within 180 days of completion of the application. Thus vanishes the only way to guarantee the right to family unity in the face of bureaucratic red tape.

- Remittances of money
The so-called money transfer services will be required to request a Permit to Stay and to keep a copy for ten years. Furthermore, in the case of a person without a Permit to Stay, they are obliged to inform the relevant authority of the successful provision of the service.

- Long term CE Permit to Stay
A Permit to Stay will only be obtainable after passing an Italian language test.

- Offences which impede entry
Even undecided cases should be taken into consideration.

- A payment of 80 to 200 euro
This sum will be payable for all procedures relating to the granting or renewal of a Permit to Stay.

- Production of documents
Arrest of up to one year and fines of up to 2,000 Euros;

- Homeless Registry
While homeless people are no longer able to officially register, a Home Office registry will be established for the registration of so-called down and outs.

- Removal from the Registry
This is foreseen six months after the expiry of the Permit to Stay.

- Points based system for Permit
An agreement has been prepared which will be signed at the moment of application for the issue of a Permit to Stay with a certain number of points. The criteria and form of this will be determined by a special regulation [ see comment by the lawyer; Marco Paggi ].

- Aiding Unlawful Entry
The rules governing the facilitation of irregular migrants have been tightened. However the penalties regarding people exploiting irregular migrants have not been touched. These people who employ underpaid illegal workers gain an unfair advantage, by exploiting the situations of irregular migrants, will be in no worse a situation.

- Abolition of the Ban on Reporting
Doctors and hospital staff can report foreigners without a Permit to Stay, but in possession of an STP card provided by the hospital (Temporary Resident Foreigner Health Card), to the relevant authorities for the purpose of expulsion.

The bill will now pass to the House for consideration before it comes into effect.

Nicola Grigion, Progetto Melting Pot Europa

Translated by Chris Bonfiglioli