According to ISTAT, the resident foreign citizens, after an annual increase of half million units are at the beginning of 2008 3.443.000 including European citizens : 62,5 % in the North, 25,0% in the Centre and 12,5% in the South. Caritas and Migrantes provide a superior number of regular immigrants that vary between 3.800.000 and 4.000.000 units out of a total population of 59.619.290 people with an incidence of 6,7% (slightly over the UE average which in 2006 was 6,0%). These two sources, even if different, they are not contradictory as they talk about different categories of immigrants: The Dossier takes into account also the most recent immigrants waiting for a residence permit which is usually obtained after more than one year. At 1st October 2009 the share of legal immigrants in Italy reached 4.8 million individuals. Immigrants are a young population: 80% are under 45 years old while over 55 are very few. The average age of foreigners is 31 years compared to 43 of Italians. Adults over 65 are only 2%.  

Sicily: Foreign immigration reaches 114,632 residents belonging to 121 different ethnics (ISTAT 31 December 2008). Among these 114,632, the 66,2% result in working age.  

Palermo: More than 1 out of 5 immigrants residing in Sicily, is located in Palermo, which has 23,812 residents and an increase of 12.1% over the previous year.   

National and/or Ethnic origin  

The following five communities cover half of the total presences on national territory - 800.000 Romanians, 440.000 Albanians, 400.000 Moroccans, 170.000 Chinese and 150.000 Ukrainians. European citizens reach the highest percentage (52,0%) while the Africans maintain the percentage (23,2%), the Asians (16,1%) and the Americans (8,6%) lose at least a percentage point.   

Sicily: Romanians have become the first nation represented in the island absorbing the 17.8% of all immigration. This historic overtaking, resulting from the opening of the borders of 2007, has slipped a spot the presence of earliest date nationalities such as Tunisia (15.1%), Morocco (9.6%), Sri Lanka (8.0%), Albania (6.0%) and China (4.0%).   

Palermo: In Palermo the maximum number of presence of foreigners is still held by the citizens of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, but is very strong the growth of people from Romania, particularly female; 70.8% of the Romanian community, in fact, are women.   

Employment (legal/illegal)   

In 2008 the unemployment rate of foreigners reached 8, 5%. 162.000 foreigners seeking work (26 thousand more than last year). In Italy, especially among immigrants, black labor market is enormously spread not only among both families and firms to an extent which is not experienced in other industrialized countries. Also the official labor statistics confirm the important contribution of these workers, both Europeans and from other continents. Altogether, we are dealing with more than one million and five hundred persons representing in some sectors more than 10% of the employees. Taking into account the requests, but not considering the initial number of 170.000 new entries, we can argue that in 2008, in Italy at least half million people were already settled and inserted in the black labor market. However, they were not provided with residence permits and this stresses the need for a more efficient management of the employment market. A lot of the migrants begin their migratory story as regulars and end up as irregulars, due to the complexity and the contradictory aspects of the legislation. There isn’t any data regarding the illegal workers but according to the XII Report on Migration Ismu, 19.4 percent, (almost 1 out of 5), is illegal. Immigrants living and work conditions confirm the rather low state of legality of the Country, as shown in black recruitment, contribution/tax evasion, failure to contractual rules, the non recognition of qualifications. For these reasons, the action taken to free women victims of trafficking has been extended to victims of labor exploitation since 2000. 

Sicily: In the South of Italy prevails family care and agriculture work - for which immigrant labor force has become indispensable. Immigrants accept the jobs offered to them and increasingly create their own jobs, especially after they would overcome the first difficult phase of their integration. Self-employment regards more than one tenth of the adult foreign population. In the top of communities with highest numbers of firm owners are the Moroccans, Romanians and Chinese. Many immigrant women are working as family care. The “forced” regularization2 for this category workers (September 2009) brought to 294,744 applications submissions. Immigrant workers are responsible for two thirds of Italian employment growth (234.000 new workers in 2007).   

Support in terms of General Welfare, Employment and other rights, Job-searching, Training     

Sicily: Here immigrants are more integrated in the old city centre areas, where most of them live. All the associations working in first and second assistance for immigrants preclude very often, in order to use the services dedicated to them, mandatory participation in the Italian language courses, just to contribute to their integration process. To protect individual and collective health it is guaranteed access to health facilities to all foreigners who do not comply with the rules of residence and is subject to an absolute ban on any kind of authority records. This is possible through the release of the STP code, which stands for (alien temporarily present) and guarantees the right to health care and hospital outpatient urgent or essential, although continuing to disease and injury, including programs of preventive medicine to protect the individual and collective health. In particular. it is also guaranteed the protection of pregnancy and motherhood, protection of minor's health, vaccination in accordance with rules and collective prevention interventions authorized by the Region, prophylaxis, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases.

Concerning employment and job searching it has been recently established the “ Agency of the Sicily

Regional Immigration” recognized at European level to coordinate the migration and provide assistance and training to migrants in the territory. Apart from the institutional entities, most of the work for supporting migrants in terms of general welfare is done by local associations and NGOs which cover the institutional gap in this sense. All these realities are to replace the state by offering various services to migrants, ranging from first to second reception: Italian lessons, food, clothing distribution, search of home and work, job training (often for adult care), legal and health assistance, releasing STP code. 


Centre for Creative Development “Danilo Dolci” is a non-profit organisation composed by youth and adults. Our organisation born from the educational and working experience of the great pacifist Danilo Dolci and his collaborators that operated in Trappeto and Partinico. The association is engaged in educational activities with educators and young people through the use of reciprocal maieutic approach. This is a strategy of group communication that permits all persons in a group to give their ideas and opinions about a specific issue/theme/problem, contributing to the development of a final common idea, decision or resolution.  

The main activities: 

-       Organise maieutic workshops in schools, universities, organisations and institutions in order to promote cultural, social and civic promotion

-       Organise European projects that involve both adults and youth from diverse countries, about the themes of intercultural dialogue, culture of peace and nonviolence, active participation, human rights education by using as privileged method the reciprocal maieutic approach.  

Some projects in the field of migrants/social inclusion/intercultural dialogue/human right education:

 LAUTC – Learn About Us Through Culture

Dates: 2008 - 2009

Funding: EACEA LLP – Grundtvig Multilateral


Develop EU level good practices, realisable at a local level, which increase the value of cultural events in responding to migrants’ and autochthones’ intercultural learning needs; Involvement of target groups in each project phase through the use of the “Four Pillars of Education” to enable participatory active learning; Integrate population from marginalised urban areas by facilitating the development of competences in line with LLL objectives of personal fulfilment and European active citizenship. 

Inventing the future in Ballarò 

Dates: 2008 - 2009

Funding: Fondation for the South


Offer to girls, aged 15-18, autochthones and immigrants, through a training course, specific professional competences to permit them to integrate into the labour market; Facilitate re-entry into the education system; Promote personal and professional development; Stimulate intercultural dialogue and understanding between different cultures; Promote intergenerational relationships; Valorise the target territory - Albergheria - by developing activities that have a positive impact on the area and the community.  

Nonviolent creative defence of human rights 

Dates: 6 - 12 March 2009, Palermo

Funding: CoE, European Youth Foundation

Objectives: To aware youth and the local community about nonviolence and human rights; To develop new creative strategies to defend the human rights in a nonviolent way; To learn about the situation about human rights in the diverse countries; To learn about other cultures and increase the own intercultural skills; To discover the power of Arts in dealing with strong social issues locally and internationally; To disseminate Danilo Dolci work and life and the reciprocal maieutic approach as a nonviolent communication tool.   

Democracy in a multicultural Society

Dates: 23 - 29 March 2009, Palermo

Funding: Youth In Action  


The project proposed to analyze and reflect upon the actual situation of participation in the democratic process from part of immigrant population. It aimed to understand the situation across Europe and according with the different immigration and political contexts   

The Role of Women in Conflict Transformation

Dates: 4 – 12 August 2006, Palermo

Funding: CoE, European Youth Foundation


The main aim of the training course was to develop gender sensitive strategies and tools to deal with conflict. This aim was reached through group reflection and exchange of good practice. The training course focused on identifying factors that prevent the active involvement of women on conflict transformation and developing new approaches that are gender sensitive.

Centro per lo Sviluppo Creativo Danilo Dolci, Italy