If you are a migrant living in Italy, it is quite common to hear Italians discuss on different medium how immigration in their country has cost them more harm than good.

It is a fact that Italy has received the most hit on migration since the early 1980s due to increase in demand of low skilled labor and since the late 90s till now as result of economy issues, political instability, war and famine in other parts of the world has led to an influx of refugees and asylum seekers to Italy because of its external borders with some of these countries.

Please read: Cause of African Migration to Europe

The Dublin Rule which  binds all EU countries together, also allows asylum requests to be dealt with by the first country the refugee enters. Italy has received the worst hit as most migrants coming to Europe by sea enter Italy first before crossing over to other EU countries.

Please Read: EU send Migrants to Italy more than any other EU contries

The new Italian government came into power on the back of promises to reduce immigration in the country and popularised the slogan “Italians first”.

Please read: The Italian Economy falls into Recession the second time

But is it a fact that migrants are indeed a problem to the Italians or the Italian economy or is it simply a misguided belief ? Let us compare facts and statistics with common held beliefs about immigration in Italy.

Below are four commonly held beliefs about migrants in Italy.

1.Migrants in Italy are too Many.

Many Italians believe there are too many foreign nationals in their home soil, but according to Italy’s national statistics institute Istat which says that there are five million foreign nationals legally residing in Italy. That is 8.3 percent of the country’s population of 60.5 million.

Italy is a big tourist attraction for many foreign nationals that have come from different parts of the world. Some stay behind after falling in love with the food, culture, fashion, style and environment while for others, it is simply an opportunity for a better life and future. The biggest proportion of migrants, are from Romania (23 percent), followed by Albanians (9 percent), Moroccans (8 percent), Chinese (5.5 percent) and Ukrainians (4.5 percent) and many of them are hard working and employed in retail, farming or domestic work.

More than 690,000 migrants, most from Sub-Saharan Africa, have arrived by boat from Libya since 2013. Migration study foundation ISMU estimates that around 500,000 are living in the country illegally — equivalent to 0.9 percent of the population.

Contrary to the belief out there, it is a fact that the migrant population only comprise of a small fraction of the Italian population.

2.Migrants in Italy cause Crime

If you live in Italy, it is quite common to find in the news that a migrant has commited a crime just like is it reported that an Italian has commited a crime also, but this has been enough to persuade some locals to believe that the crime rate in Italy has increased as a result of the influx of migrants to the country.

But according to Italy’s interior ministry, crime rate has dropped by 8.3 percent in the last 10 years, despite the fact that the number of foreigners in the country has increased from three to five million over the same period.

Figures presented by the ministry showed that in 2017 murders dropped by nearly 12 percent, robberies by 11 percent and burglaries by nine percent.

So if the ministry says so, I would not argue with them, I will simply leave it like that.

3.Migrant population is exploding

The impression created by some far-right politicians of a growing number of migrant arrivals is wrong. A controversial agreement signed by Rome with the Libyan authorities and militias last summer reduced arrivals by 70 percent.

The government also oversaw a 12 percent increase in expulsions in the year 2017, from 5,817 in 2016 to 6,514.

Meanwhile UNHCR data show the number of people arriving on boats from the North African shores has dramatically decreased – declined sharply —from 181,000 in 2016, to 119,000 in 2017, and just 21,000 at 31st the end of October 2018 according to UNHCR.

It is simply not true to hold on to the belief that there is a kind of invasion from Africa in Italy. A careful study of the diagram prove it to be false

4.Migrants cost too expensive.

Government figures put the cost in 2017 of migrants arriving via Libya at more than €4.2 billion ($5.2 billion), of which 65 percent was spent on taking care of asylum seekers during their convoluted application process.

Eighteen percent of that figure was for sea rescue and 13 percent for medical assistance.

According to a study by the Idos Institute, overall immigrants bring in between 2.1 and 2.8 billion euros more than they cost the state.

Most asylum seekers and refugees are hard working people who have come to Italy to better their lives and that of their respective families. With the right support and friendly environment, they would contribute their quarter to the growth and development of the Italian Republic.

Already, migrants are contributing 11.9 billion euros to social security, value added is 131 billion euros which is about 9 percent of the GDP and 3 billion euros as taxes paid.

Now I want to hear from you: What are your thoughts on this subject. Do you think migrants are still a problem to the Italian government and the economy ? Or do you think the new Italian government is right to take a strong stance against immigration ? Share your thoughts with me and others in the comments below!

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