International protection in Italy for Afghans and Ukrainians in the last two years • Neodemos

In recent years, requests for asylum in Italy by Afghan and Ukrainian citizens have increased due to the events that have taken place in the two countries. Giambattista Cantisani examines the positive decisions made by the territorial commissions for the recognition of international protection in our country.

The recent events in Afghanistan and Ukraine have led to an increase in flows and asylum applications also in Italy. It is therefore interesting to consider the main characteristics of the positive decisions on asylum taken by the territorial commissions for the recognition of international protection in respect of asylum seekers from these two countries.

The case of the Afghans

The Taliban occupation of Kabul in mid-August 2021 resulted in a flow of departures and asylum requests from Afghan citizens, particularly those linked to governmental and international entities. In relation to the positive decisions taken in Italy (Table 1), two 12-month periods are considered ranging from 16 August 2020 to 15 August 2021 and from 16 August 2021 to 15 August 2022. Obviously, when analyzing the data, it is necessary to take account of the time lag between requests for asylum or protection and the actual decision. Even with these cautions, the data show interesting differences.

As can be seen from Table 1, the total number of positive decisions in the second period is approximately four times greater than the total number of decisions in the first period (in order, 6039 and 1452). In both periods, most cases are represented by the granting of refugee status and subsidiary protection.

In the first period, subsidiary protection prevails (88% of the total, with 12% for refugee status). In the second period the situation is reversed, with 77% of positive decisions for refugee status and 22% for subsidiary protection. The numbers for this second form of protection essentially remain stable from one period to the next.

In the second period considered, the increase in decisions for Refugee Status is due to adults (mainly males) and accompanied minors (divided almost equally between males and females). On the other hand, in the case of unaccompanied minors there is an increase in the second period (from 3 to 73, mainly males but also females).

The case of the Ukrainians

The situation of Ukrainians is characterized by a smaller number of positive decisions than in Afghanistan and by a smaller increase in the total number of positive decisions, which are 407 in 2021 and 1132 in 2022 (again for the period from 1 January to 23 September ). This is because the many Ukrainian refugees who arrived in Italy have mainly exploited other reception and assistance measures, such as temporary protection which is not managed by the asylum commissions but by the Immigration Offices of the Police Headquarters (table 2).

Between the two prevailing categories of refugee status and that of subsidiary protection, decisions for the latter largely prevail. These in 2022 go from 194 to 996, or from 48% to 88% of the total. Positive decisions regarding adults in 2022 are mainly for women (615, or 69% of the total number of adults, compared to 62% the previous year). Obviously, even in the case of Ukraine, the data are conditioned by the period between the asylum request and the relative decision.

In conclusion, between the two cases considered, that of the Afghans defines a clear change in the decisions on requests for international protection following the application of measures specific to the asylum system. On the other hand, the case of the Ukrainians demonstrates a lower incidence of international protection by the territorial commissions for asylum by virtue of specific measures by the Ministry of the Interior.

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International protection in Italy for Afghans and Ukrainians in the last two years • Neodemos