IMMIGRATION – INTERIOR: 2. 4 M LEGAL – 88 PCT IN CENTRE-NORTH
(AGI) – Rome, 29 April – The number of foreign residents in Italy with valid residence permits has been put at just over two million, four hundred thousand (129,000 more than there were last year). Over 88 pct of them live in the Centre-North of the country, with a good quarter in Lombardy. These are among the figures (up-dated as of first January 2007) in the initial Report on Immigration issued by Italy's Interior Ministry and presented at the President's palace by Minister Giuliano Amato and Under-Secretary Marcella Lucidi.
The dossier contains a fair few “surprises” starting with the number of foreigners as a percentage of the whole population: at 5 pct Italy takes twelfth place in an imaginary European league table headed by Switzerland (20.2 pct), Austria (9.4 pct), Germany and Belgium (8.8 pct), Greece (8.1 pct), France (5.7 pct), Ireland (5.6 pct), Sweden and Denmark (5.4 pct), the United Kingdom (5.2 pct), Norway (5.1 pct).
There is a clear territorial division between the South (where foreign residents make up just 1.6 pct of the population) and the Centre-North (where the ratio peaks at 6.8 pct). The regions with the highest densities of immigrants are, following Lombardy, Veneto, Lazio and Emilia Romagna, but the situation within individual provinces is highly chequered, with peaks of over 10 pct, for example in Prato and Brescia.