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Unaccompanied foreign minors


Rules and data on the presence, protection and reception of unaccompanied minors

 

The expression“unaccompanied foreign minor” (UFM) in European and national contexts, refers to a minor of 18 years of age, who is a national of a non-EU Member State or stateless person, and who is, for whatever reason, in the national territory, without the legal assistance and representation of his parents or other adults legally responsible for him.

Legal framework In our legal system, the safeguard and protection of unaccompanied foreign minors are ensured by several provisions, among which mainly the Unified Text on Immigration (Legislative Decree n. 286/1998), its implementing regulation (D.P.R. n. 394/1999); regulation 535/1999 concerning the tasks of the Committee for Foreign Minors, whose competences since 2012 have been transferred to the  General Directorate for Immigration and Integration Policies of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs ; and  Legislative Decree 142/2015 concerning the rules on the reception of applicants for international protection.

Moreover, Italy is the only European country which, in 2017, with the approval of Law no. 47, the so-called Zampa Law, adopted legislation specifically aimed at unaccompanied foreign minors, introducing significant changes to the existing legislation with the aim of strengthening the protection tools recognised by the Italian system in their favour.

In particular, the aforementioned law, explicitly introduces the absolute prohibition of rejecting UFM at the border, which cannot be ordered in any case.

Therefore, the following residence permits may be granted to unaccompanied foreign minors entering Italy alternatively: a) residence permitfor minors, which may be applied for directly by the minor, or by the person exercising parental responsibility, even before the appointment of a guardian; b) residence permit for family reasons, issued to minors under 14 years of age entrusted to or under the guardianship of an Italian citizen with whom they live, or to minors over 14 years of age entrusted to or under the guardianship of an Italian citizen or a legally residing foreign citizen with whom they live. Both residence permits are valid until the child reaches the age of majority.

Law no. 47/2017, moreover, establishes at the General Directorate of Immigration and Integration Policies the Sistema informativo nazionale dei minori non accompagnati - SIM (National Information System for Unaccompanied Minors) which, through the census of the presence of UFMs on the Italian territory, allows to constantly track the movements of UFMs with reference to their placement in reception and their taking into care by the territorially competent social services and to manage the data related to their registry.

To learn more about SIM go to the dedicated page on the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies website

   Data

The number of unaccompanied foreign minors registered in Italy on 30 June 2021 was 7,802, 55.5% more than in the same period last year. The majority of them are male (96.7%) and 17 years old (64.2%), coming mainly from Bangladesh (1,974 minors), Tunisia (1,174) and Egypt (713), while the regions that receive the most are Sicily (2,461 minors, 31.5%), Apulia (904, 11.6%) and Friuli-Venezia Giulia (831, 10.7%).

The General Directorate of Immigration and Integration Policies registers data on Unaccompanied Foreign Minors in the database established according to art. 4 of the regulation no. 535/1999. The Directorate prepares and publishes every six months, in-depth reports on the presence of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors (UFM) in Italy.

The reports monitor the presence, characteristics and reception of unaccompanied minors, also giving an account of new arrivals and departures, requests for international protection, family investigations in the countries of origin and opinions on the conversion of residence permits at the age of majority. They also illustrate new Italian and international procedures and regulations and measures for social and work integration such as the "Percorsi" and "PUOI" projects.

All the monitoring reports on UFM are available on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies. Monthly statistical reports on the presence of Unaccompanied Foreign Minors in the national territory are also elaborated and published.

All monthly reports on UFMs are available on the website of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies