Italy is a crossroads for numerous types of migration (known as ‘mixed migration flows’), and among European countries, it has witnessed the highest relative growth of its migrant population over the last twenty years. Since 1998, the number of immigrants in the country has risen five times, with an increase of 2,023,317 persons between 2007 and 2016 alone.

Country Facts

DRC present since:


Displaced population:


What we do

Displacement Situation

Italy is a crossroads for numerous types of migration (known as ‘mixed migration flows’), and among European countries, it has witnessed the highest relative growth of its migrant population over the last twenty years. Since 1998, the number of immigrants in the country has risen five times, with an increase of 2,023,317 persons between 2007 and 2016 alone. 

Already a major destination for third-country migrants seeking employment, Italy has more recently seen a spike in both regular arrivals (for family reunification and humanitarian reasons) and irregular arrivals (of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers), mainly from North and sub-Saharan Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iraq (main regions/countries) These migrants and asylum seekers typically arrive via the ‘Central Mediterranean route’ boat crossing from North Africa,. and the Western Balkan route crossing Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia 

Around 60% of migrants in Italy live in the north, due to better social and economic opportunities, as well as the closeness of border crossings to France and Switzerland. Val Susa in Piedmont region and Ventimiglia in Liguria region are now among the most strategic border crossings for migrants seeking to enter the rest of the EU.  

Due to recent policy changes and cuts to assistance, local civil society and municipal/regional authorities in Italy are facing increasing difficulty in providing necessary services to displaced people. This situation has been further aggravated by the outbreak of Covid-19, which has heavily affected Italy and vulnerable groups resident there, including refugees and asylum seekers. 

DRC Response 

DRC has been present in the Piedmont region since June 2019, when it launched an innovative partnership with local implementing NGO ESSERCI, focusing on strengthening and expanding successful best practices in the reception and integration of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees. This programming has been developed collaboratively between DRC and local actors, and is uniquely tailored to the Italian context. 

Furthermore, DRC provides legal aid and social and economic integration programming for refugees and migrants in Piedmont, ensuring that they understand their rights and duties in Italy and Europe, and that they have access to relevant assistance and services promoting integration and social opportunities. 

Through the 4Mi project, DRC works closely with the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) in order to better understand the mixed migration flows, protection risks, and needs faced by migrants on the ground in Italy. This data is then used to inform DRC’s programmatic and advocacy initiatives.  

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, and together with its partner Rainbow4Africa , DRC has set up mobile medical and legal units, aimed at reaching the most vulnerable persons of concern, including refugees, asylum seekers, migrants, and the homeless. 

Partners: ESSERCI, Diaconia Valdese CSD – Servizi Inclusione, ASGI, Rainbow4Africa – Medical Development, A.M.M.I – Associazione Multietnica Mediatori Interculturali  


Gerry Garvey

Executive Director Asia and Europe

[email protected]

Giulia Spagna

Regional Head of Programme / Italy Country Representative

[email protected]