The Local: Italy's Senate passes tough anti-migrant decree8 November 2018 | 11:26 | FOCUS News Agency
The populist government of Salvini's League and Luigi Di Maio's anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) won the vote with 163 senators for, 59 against and 19 abstentions, including five M5S members opposed to the stringent decree.
The lower house of parliament now has until the end of November to approve the decree, which the coalition first put forward in September, and makes it easier to expel migrants and strip them of Italian citizenship.
The government opted for a confidence vote to get the decree through the senate after M5S members tabled a slew of amendments.
It should now have no problem passing the lower house given the coalition's majority.
The decree will put an end to two-year "humanitarian protection" residency permits -- a lower level of asylum status based on Italian rather than international law -- that were awarded to 25 percent of asylum seekers last year.
Instead, residency permits will be awarded under stricter conditions such as a one-year "special protection" status or a six-month "natural disaster in country of origin" status.
Of the 81,500 decisions handed down by Italian authorities in 2017, eight percent were granted asylum, eight percent subsidiary protection and a quarter humanitarian protection.
The remainder were rejected. If appeals fail, they face the prospect of being classed as economic migrants who must return home.
Those seeking refugee status will also now have their requests suspended if they are considered "socially dangerous or convicted in the first instance" of crimes, while their appeals are ongoing.
They will in future be housed in bigger reception centres, while only minors and those with recognised refugee status will be housed in different parts of the country in order to facilitate integration.
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