THE CENTRAL DIRECTORATE FOR ASSISTANCE TO IMMIGRANTS AND ASYLUM SEEKERS
The activities carried out by the Central Directorate focus on two main areas: immigration and
The immigration area deals with admission of and assistance to illegal immigrants landing on our shores or, in any case, detected on the national territory, for whom first aid assistance is required. They are hosted in reception facilities set up and run by the Central Directorate in order to prevent them from leaving and to allow the competent authorities to check their legal status resulting, among others, either in a deportation order or in an application for the recognition of refugee status.
The illegal immigrants ordered to leave on the basis of a deportation order are hosted in the administrative detention and assistance centres which are identified and organised by the Central Directorate and set up and run by the relevant Prefectures; there illegal immigrants are detained for a period not exceeding 60 days, pending their identification, the confirmation of their detention and the subsequent issuing of a deportation order by the competent authorities (the provincial police authority - Questura and the appropriate judicial authority). These centres provide full assistance to aliens, including not only basic support but also essential medical care, socialisation activities, freedom to manifest one's religion and to communicate by correspondence.
Moreover, the Central Directorate provides for the setting up and running of border reception services by concluding conventions between the Prefectures and specialised bodies. The border reception services provide information and assistance to aliens who intend to lodge an application either for asylum or for a stay on the national territory lasting more than three months.
The asylum area includes all activities relating to the assistance and reception of both asylum seekers and aliens who have already been granted refugee status.
This issue is regulated by law n. 39 of 1990 (the so-called "Martelli" law) which has been recently amended and supplemented by articles 31 and 32 of Law No. 189 of 2002 (the so-called "Bossi-Fini" law) laying down provisions for the setting up and operation of identification centres. The planning of these centres by the Central Directorate is in the pipeline; there asylum seekers are hosted pending a decision on their asylum application by the competent authorities, which no longer consist in one single Central Commission but in a number of local commissions to limit as much as possible the waiting time of applicants. This system will become operative only upon coming into force of the implementation rules envisaged by the law itself which were drawn up thanks, among others, to the effective collaboration of the Central Directorate.
Until completion of the above law-making procedure, the Central Directorate, assisted by the competent Prefectures, will keep on paying each asylum applicant a 17.56 Euro allowance for not more than 45 days, as provided for by the "Martelli" law.
The Central Directorate is also responsible for the administration of the national fund for asylum policies and services, on which the Ministry of the Interior relies to allocate funds to the local authorities which offer assistance and integration services to refugees and provide reception facilities to asylum seekers.
In accordance with above mentioned Law No. 189/2002, the fund receives allocations from the European Refugee Fund, which is specifically aimed at the harmonisation of the reception system for asylum seekers in the various Member States as well as at the integration of refugees.
Furthermore, the Central Directorate is also responsible for the activities concerning the implementation of the Dublin Convention and its subsequent EU Regulation relating to the procedures determining the State responsible for examining applications for asylum lodged in one of the Member States of the European Communities.
Finally, the Central Directorate has been entrusted with the task of co-ordinating all the activities aimed at providing temporary protection for extraordinary humanitarian reasons. These measures are taken in the event of mass influx towards the national territory of populations escaping emergency situations arising from conflicts, natural disasters or other particularly serious events occurring in countries outside the European Union.