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Your right to reception

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If you are an asylum seeker or holder of a form of protection, and you cannot provide for yourself, you have the right to be hosted in a reception center for a limited time.

The Italian reception system has changed several times over the past years. Currently it is made of two levels of centers, which offer different kinds of services. The quality of centers and services offered, as well as available spots, vary across Italy, and unfortunately you cannot choose the center you prefer.

You can use this article to learn more on:

  • What are the types of reception centers
  • What are the services available in the different centers
  • When you could lose your right to be hosted in a reception center

First assistance and identification: hotspot

Hotspots are governmental centers where you may be hosted upon your arrival in Italy. Currently, there are four hotspots: in Lampedusa, Pozzallo and Messina in Sicily, and Taranto in Puglia.

In the hotspot, you will:

  • Receive humanitarian and health assistance
  • Undergo health screenings
  • Undergo the identification and fingerprinting process
  • Receive information about international protection in Italy

You will stay in a hotspot for up to 30 days. If you decide to seek international protection and submit an asylum application, you will be welcomed in a first-level reception center.

If you do not want to seek asylum, you will be transferred to a CPR (Center for Permanence and Repatriation), where you should stay for a maximum of 90 days. Your stay in a CPR is aimed at organizing your repatriation to your country of origin.

Learn more on: APPLYING FOR ASYLUM

First reception centers: CPA

CPA (First Reception Centers) are governmental centers for those people who have expressed their will to seek asylum.

While being in these centers, you will:

  • Undergo the identification and fingerprinting process (if not done in the hotspot)
  • Submit your asylum application and wait until the Territorial Commission decides on your case

If you are identified as a vulnerable case (for example: if you are pregnant, if you have a serious illness, or if you are a person with disabilities), after submitting your asylum application you may be transferred with priority to a second level reception center.

What kind of services am I entitled to receive?

In first reception centers, you should receive:

  • Food and accommodation
  • Medical attention and support accessing national healthcare system
  • Psycho-social support
  • Legal information and orientation
  • Cultural mediation
  • Orientation to local services
  • Italian language classes

You should also receive a monthly pocket money, hygienic kit, clothes, and laundry service.

Note that these services may vary from center to center!

Extraordinary centers: CAS

Despite the name, CAS (Center for Extraordinary Reception) are the most common reception facilities and those that have more available spots. Given the limited number of CPA (overall 9 centers across Italy), CAS (Center for Extraordinary Reception) centers are used as an alternative to CPA for hosting asylum-seekers. This means that it is highly possible that you will be placed in a CAS after leaving the hotspot, and before going to a second level reception center.

CAS are centers usually managed by associations called ‘cooperative’, and can be in the form of big centers (‘accoglienza collettiva’) or apartments (‘accoglienza diffusa’).

The quality of these centers may vary across Italy. The local Prefettura is the authority responsible to check whether each cooperativa is properly managing the CAS and offering adequate services.

Who can stay in a CAS?

You could stay in a CAS if you have one of the following permessi:

You have the right to be hosted in a CAS center until the end of your asylum application procedure. This includes when you go to your asylum interview and decision hearing.

What kind of services am I entitled to receive?

In a CAS center, you should receive:

  • Food and accommodation
  • Medical attention and support accessing national healthcare system
  • Psychosocial assistance
  • Legal orientation and assistance
  • Cultural mediation
  • Local services orientation
  • Italian language classes

You should also receive a monthly pocket money, hygienic kit, clothes, and laundry service.

Note that these services may vary from center to center!

Secondary reception centers: SAI (ex SPRAR)

The SAI (Reception and Integration System) substituted the SIPROIMI in October 2020, which in turn had replaced the SPRAR system.

SAI system is a network composed of the Servizio Centrale, the Municipalities, and third-sector organizations managing the centers. SAI centers aim to accompany people towards autonomy and socio-economic integration in Italy.

There are different SAI centers: for men, women, families, and unaccompanied children and adolescents, and the quality may vary across Italy. Although families should stay together, since centers for families are limited, it may happen that a father is accommodated in a center for men, and the mother and children in a center for women. If that is your case, ask your center’s operators to help you get closer to your family by contacting the Servizio Centrale and the Prefettura. It may be difficult but not impossible.

You can stay in a SAI center for 6 months, extendable up to 12 months, depending on how your integration process is going. Your center’s operators are those in charge of asking for extension to the Municipality and the Servizio Centrale, who can decide whether to approve it or not.

Who can stay in a SAI center?

You could stay in a SAI center if you have one of the following permessi, with priority to the first three listed below:

I have never been in a center, can I apply for it?

If you have never benefited from the right to stay in a SAI center (ex SPRAR), and now you are not able to provide for yourself, you may ask for a center if you have one of the above permits of stay.

To apply for a reception center, you have to go to the Ufficio Immigrazione of your Comune. In some Comuni, you will need to book an appointment.

What kind of services am I entitled to receive?

There are two levels of services in SAI centers, depending on your status in Italy.

If you are an asylum-seeker, you should receive:

  • Accommodation and food
  • Medical attention and support accessing national healthcare system
  • Legal assistance
  • Psychosocial support
  • Italian language classes
  • Cultural mediation

If you are not an asylum-seeker, you are also entitled to services that promote integration:

  • Accommodation and food
  • Medical attention and support accessing national healthcare system
  • Legal assistance
  • Psychosocial support
  • Cultural mediation
  • Italian language classes
  • Education and vocational training (‘tirocinio’)
  • Job, housing and social orientation
  • Orientation to local services

In both cases, you should also receive a monthly pocket money, hygienic kit, clothes, and laundry service. Some centers also offer transportation subscriptions.

Note that these services may vary from center to center!

Removal from a reception center

Removal from a CPA or CAS

The Prefettura may decide to remove you from a CPA or CAS if:

  • You left the center without a valid reason, without authorization of the Prefettura or of the organization managing the center. If you leave your center, but then you go back to your center or questura immediately, the prefettura could decide to readmit you, but only if you can provide valid reasons for leaving unannounced.
  • You do not show up at your asylum interview.
  • You can support yourself financially, that is your yearly income is more than the social welfare check (5983,64 euros per year for 2021)
  • You have broken a serious rule, particularly if you were very violent, or if you keep breaking the center’s rules.
  • You submit a reiterata but the Commission declares it inadmissible.

You can challenge the decision to remove you from a center before the TAR (Regional Administrative Tribunal), with the assistance of a lawyer, within 60 days from the notification of the decision to revoke your right to reception.

Removal from a SAI center

Valid reasons to be removed from a SAI center are written in the reception agreement that you sign when you enter the center. These could be for example:

  • You left your center for a specific number of days without a valid reason, without the authorization of your center’s operators
  • You have broken a serious rule, particularly if you were very violent, or if you keep breaking the center’s rules
  • If you are an asylum seeker and you do not show up at your interview with the Commission.

Every case will be evaluated on a case-by-case approach.

Learn more about what happens if you leave your center in this video: https://www.facebook.com/Refugee.Info.Italy/videos/165214040840430/

 

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