What are the reasons that push Tunisians to choose France as their first destination after arriving in Italy, and what drives them to leave?
Speaking to Sky News Arabia, Hadiya said that she arrived in France in June 2019 from the Italian city of Pescara due to the economic crisis.
She added, “It was not an easy decision at the beginning, especially since we came to Italy, grooms from Tunisia thirty years ago. We left our home that was ours, and my work as a cultural mediator and translator in a number of Italian institutes, and we came to France because our first foreign language in Tunisia was French. We also have a large family here who helped us a lot to settle in the French city of Strasbourg. “
It explains in another aspect that what distinguishes France is that it is very advanced in terms of social assistance compared to Italy, and that the job market is still open to immigrants. In this regard, she says, “We encountered some difficulties in the beginning, mainly represented in finding housing, because the landlord requests an account statement for three months working in France, but we were able to rent an apartment from a Tunisian who took care of our situation. As for the work, it was easy, as my husband was able to obtain To work within one week. “
And she continues a gift, “France creates a safety within us that we missed in Italy, for example, about six months after our arrival to France, the Corona epidemic spread and my husband stopped working, we did not feel any distress, because the French state provided the necessary assistance in a timely and rapid manner, unlike Italy, where we hear about our friends. “They have not yet received any financial compensation so far. Time makes the difference between the two countries.”
And she concludes by saying, “I worked in the association field, and I am almost certain that the reasons, no matter how many, are the same situation for all communities residing in Italian lands, and cohesion and cohesion are missing among immigrants.”
France was not a gift destination only, but for thousands of Tunisian immigrants, regular and irregular, who made Italy a transit station, according to an article published in the daily newspaper “Le Figaro” in which it was made clear that the attack that took place in Nice on October 29th and was carried out by a Tunisian coming from Italy, He revealed how easy it is to penetrate the borders of the European Union that Europe claims it has closed in the name of the war against COVID-19
I also mentioned that Italy has become a transit station for Tunisian immigrants to France, and in the language of the numbers, they indicated that since last July, Tunisians represent about 40% of the people who arrive on the island of Lampedusa, due to their escape from the tourism crisis that led to the collapse of the Tunisian economy.
Tunisians … and the situation in Lampedusa
The island of Lampedusa, in southern Italy, is the first transit stop for migrants before they enter the Italian mainland and from there to Europe.
It receives dozens of immigrants every day, mostly from Tunisia. Once they arrive, they stay in the detention center, awaiting transfer to Sicily or deportation to their country of origin.
According to Livia Ortense, head of statistics at the Foundation for Initiatives and Studies on Ethnicity in Milan, in a statement to Sky News Arabia, the deportation to Tunisia, which began at the beginning of last August, was carried out according to an agreement between Tunisia and Italy, by virtue of the fact that Tunisia is a safe country, and thus about 80 are returned. Tunisian immigrants per week, and when the number exceeds the agreed-upon number, evacuation permits are distributed to the remaining migrants and then they move through them to other destinations, and in most cases they prefer France.
She says, “The information she has available indicates that the number of immigrants in the month of November decreased in the hotspots and in Lampedusa, where the number of immigrants reached 50, which is much less than the total capacity of the detention center in Italy.
Tunisian immigration in Italian figures
The official in charge of statistics at the Foundation for Initiatives and Studies on Ethnicity in Milan confirms that there is several evidence that Tunisian immigrants have not stayed in Italy.
“Although tens of thousands of Tunisians have arrived in Italy since the 2011 revolution, the number of Tunisians decreased to 107,000 in 2019, after the number exceeded 113,000 in 2009, and few of them ask for Italian citizenship,” she explains, adding. During the regularization campaign last summer, only 2,000 Tunisians benefited from it because very few of them requested it.
“And Italian Interior Ministry data reveal that less than 10% of those who received international protection in 2011 are only remaining in the country until 2018, the lowest rate compared to all nationalities. Even those with Italian citizenship have gone,” Ortense continues. Between 2012 and 2017, it was found that 56% of those who obtained them left to France, and in contrast, the Ministry of Interior data indicates that no more than 15% of them have returned to Tunisia.
Regarding the reasons for this exodus to France, the Italian researcher confirms that the critical economic crisis that Italy is passing through has reduced the chances of Tunisians obtaining work and others have lost their positions, in addition to the Corona epidemic crisis, which worsened the situation greatly.