Tunisia: 'Regularisation of Tunisian Migrants' Situation Does Not Concern Those Who Currently Arrive to Italy' (Italian Interior Minister)

These people were among almost 500 rescued from a skiff in the Mediterranean and taken by six Italian boats to Lampedusa (file photo).

Tunis/Tunisia — "The regularisation of the situation of Tunisians in Italy concerns only those who arrived in the country during the past period," said Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese.

The regularisation recently announced by the Italian authorities will not be applied to the migrants who are currently in Italy, she stated in a video footage published on the website of the Presidency of the Republic at the end of her meeting with President Kaïs Saïed on Monday.

Lamorgese indicated that she had discussed with President Saïed the issue of "the growing influx of irregular migrants arriving to Italy from Tunisia" and that she had found "understanding" on the part of the President of the Republic.

On the other hand, a working session was held on Monday at the headquarters of the Interior Ministry between Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi and his Italian counterpart Luciana Lamorgese.

The meeting reviewed ways to strengthen coordination between the two interior departments in the fight against irregular migration as well as mechanisms to combat criminal networks involved in human trafficking cases, according to an Interior Ministry press release.

According to the latest figures from the Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights (FTDES), based on press releases from the Interior Ministry and statistics from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 236 irregular migration attempts were thwarted in the first half of 2020, including 119 in June.

Some 3,977 migrants attempted to cross the borders illegally to the European coasts in the first half of 2020. More than half of these migrants (57.84%) were Tunisian, compared with 42.16% of foreign nationalities.

On the other hand, 1,564 migrants managed to reach the Italian coasts in the first half of the current year against 596 during the whole year of 2019 and 3,023 in 2018.

From January to April 15, 56 forced repatriation flights were recorded.

In 2019, 1,739 Tunisians were forcibly repatriated from Italy, compared to 2,127 in 2018.

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