Some 256,000 applications for residency were approved in 2013, national statistics agency Istat said on Tuesday - a fall of 3.2 percent on 2012.
The new figures continue an ongoing trend ongoing in recent years, with fewer non-EU citizens taking up residency in Italy, Istat researcher Cinzia Conti told The Local.
“The numbers are going down, partly because of the financial crisis and the jobs market,” she said. “It’s been a trend for at least three years, which was stronger before but continues to go down.”
In 2011 there was a dramatic fall-off in the number of new residency permits. A total of 361,690 permits were issued, nearly 40 percent fewer than in 2010. Since then the number of permits issued has continued to fall, albeit at a slower rate.
“There are fewer people; perhaps Italy is less attractive,” Conti said.
While the number of residency permits for study and family reasons fell last year, by 12 percent and ten percent, the number of work permits jumped by 19.3 percent in 2013. This anomaly can however be put down to the “regularization of workers” in Italy, Conti said.
Overall last year there were also 16.5 percent fewer residency permits issued for asylum or humanitarian reasons, the Istat figures show.
In 2013 the biggest group of non-EU newcomers to Italy hailed from Morocco, with 25,484 arrivals. In second place came 20,040 from China, followed by Albanians (16,202).