The emigration of Italian citizens in the 2000s: a special focus on the United Kingdom

Domenico Gabrielli, University of Rome “La Sapienza”, National Institute of Statistics, Rome, IT

Surveys on Italian Population registers give evidence of the rise of Italian emigration in the last decade; in 2013 about 94 thousand Italian citizens, according to the Population register of residents abroad (AIRE ), have moved their residence abroad: about 60 thousand of them were directed to other European countries.

Statistics of the Countries of destination of our emigrants are consistent in representing  the growth of Italian emigration, even if not always based on the surveys on Population registers; on  the other hand it is known that the transfer of residence is only one aspect, someone says the tip of the iceberg, of a migration phenomenon certainly wider, but, above all, much more complex: “Clear-cut dichotomies of ‘origin’ or ‘destination’ and categories such as ‘permanent’, ‘temporary’, and ‘return’ migration are increasingly difficult to sustain in a world in which the lives of migrants are increasingly characterised by circulation and simultaneous commitment to two or more societies” (De Haas H., International migration, remittances and development: Myths and facts. Third World Quarterly, 2005).

In 2013 the United Kingdom became the first European country of destination with almost 13 thousand Italian emigrants; in 2012 the first country of emigration was Germany, which remains the main destination for migrants from southern Regions.

The data from the Archive of the National Insurance Number (Department of Work And Pensions) show that  more than 44 thousand of Italian citizens, mainly young, have started a work experience in the UK in the course of 2013; more than three times as many as those who, in the same, year moved their residence in the UK. Neither the trend seems to be reversed in 2014: according to the data available in the first nine months of the year 33.308 National Insurance Numbers have been granted to Italian citizens.


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