Italian interior minister urges changes to immigration law

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Changes are needed to Italy's current immigration law because at present it is too difficult to gain entry to live and work in Italy, Italian Interior Minister Giuliano Amato said recently. Speaking before the Italy's Lower House Constitutional Affairs Committee, Amato explained that a key element in the so-called Bossi-Fini law, requiring a foreign employee to be abroad when work and residency permits are issued, was impractical and virtually impossible to enforce.

"We need to ask ourselves first whether or not this is an impossible requirement and, secondly, whether in fact anyone is respecting or applying the law," Amato said. The Bossi-Fini law was passed by the previous center-right government led by Silvio Berlusconi and named after Umberto Bossi, leader of the anti-immigration Northern League and then reform minister, and Gianfranco Fini, head of the right-wing National Alliance, who was then deputy premier and later also foreign minister.

"While there is no doubt that there must be a direct connection between immigration and available employment, the current law is too rigid," Amato said. The interior minister also suggested that residency and permits which are set to expire should remain valid until they have been either renewed or rejected.

This to avoid creating a "dead zone" in which an immigrant has no protection under the law and could even be considered an illegal alien, despite having both a home and a job.


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