The Aspiration of Everyone? Interest, Timing and Drivers of Naturalisation for Foreign Citizens in Italy

Elisa Barbiano di Belgiojoso , Università degli Studi di Milano - Bicocca
Livia Elisa Ortensi, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna

Italy, along with other countries at the periphery of Europe, became an attractive destination country from the early ‘90s for its model of ‘low regulation’ of migration and job market. Despite restrictive laws, an increasing number of migrants is currently meeting the requirements to apply for Italian citizenship leading to a growing number of naturalisations. At the same time, a debate about revising the law in force is recurrently gaining momentum. The proposed revision of this law aims at relaxing the requirements for migrants arrived as children and second generations to ensure them an earlier integration. Drivers of naturalisation in Italy are currently under-researched, while this information is urgently needed to inform the debate and the process of policymaking. To fill this gap this paper relies on the most updated data on interest and intentions about naturalisation using data from the 2018 and 2019 wave of Observatory on Integration and Multiethnicity of the Italian Region of Lombardy (ORIM). At the same time, the paper revisits available evidence on the migration-naturalisation nexus in Italy. The provisional results show that interest in naturalisation cannot be taken for granted because reasons exist not to apply for citizenship. Moreover, applying for Italian citizenship seems more a choice of convenience than a decision built on the sense of belonging to Italy or the desire of having civil rights.

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 Presented in Session 72. Naturalization and Citizenship