Friday, February 6, 2009

Permit of Stay (Permesso di Soggiorno) based on a point system???

The Italian Senate has approved a Lega Nord's proposal to modify so called "security laws" in regards to foreigners in Italy. These modifications have been called racist and inhuman by Walter Veltroni, leader of the opposition.

This article from Corriere de la Sera (in Italian,) talks about the changes encompassed by the new laws: higher fees to apply for a permit to stay (80 to 200 euro), the possibility for doctors to denounce any illegal alien, the legalization of non-armed community watch groups, and a point based system as a regulation for acquiring and keeping a permit of stay.

The Catholic church, as well as many doctors have stated that they will continue to help poor inmigrants that need their help. Doctors Without Borders' director in Italy, Kostas Moschochoritis, one of the promotors of Non siamo spie (We are not spies) has appealed to the lower house to review the law -as it moves from the Senate to the Chamber of Deputies next week.

Healthcare restrictions are the most controversial changes proposed, and I hope the Chamber does not pass them.

Closer to home is the issue of the point system to regulate the permit of stay. If you are an expat in Italy, you are likely to have a permit of stay (P di S), or you have applied for one, or you are waiting for the renewal of it. Now, the permit will have a base of 10 points assigned after the foreigner subscribes to an Integration Agreement. This Agreement requieres of the foreign citizen the following:

-A minimal knowledge of the Italian language (a certificate relating to the minimal standards set by the European Council regarding European common languages)

-Adherence to the Values Act of citizenship and integration, corresponding to the Home Secretary decree of the 23th of April 2007

- Basic knowledge of the main rules of the legal order. Its’ obedience is an essential requirement for peaceful living.

Confused? I am. I read this article (in English) which tries to break down the proposal, while evaluating its possible consequences, and I am frightened by these changes. Today, it is difficult enough to apply for a Permit to Stay, trying to navigate a bureaucratic sea of paperwork, while patiently awaiting the arrival of the card, only to start all over again. I cannot imagine the nightmare it would become if an Italian test and an assimilation test are required in order to apply.

What do you think? Do you have any insight into this matter? Please leave your comment.

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