Illegal imports have almost tripled this year

Figures from Italy’s Interior Ministry have shown that the number of illegal entries into Italy has nearly tripled so far this year compared to the same period in 2022, despite promises by Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to curb illegal migration.

The report of the Ministry of the Interior states that from January 1 to March 10, a total of 17,592 illegals arrived in Italy, against 5,976 in 2022 and 5,995 in the same period in 2021. In the month of February alone, there were 9,465 illegal arrivals this year .

Only ten days into March and the number of arrivals this year, 3,165, is already higher than in 2022, when there were just over 1,300 illegal entries into Italy during that period.

Migrants from the Ivory Coast were the largest single nationality so far this year, followed by Guinean nationals and Bangladeshis, according to the Interior Ministry.

The new report continues a trend of much higher arrivals this year, as a January report noted that the number of migrants had tripled in the first four weeks of this year compared to the same period in 2022.

The figures come after Italian intelligence officials warned there may be as many as 700,000 migrants in Libya alone looking for an opportunity to cross the Mediterranean and get to Italy.

A newspaper report Il Giornale suggests that when all countries of departure for migrants are taken into account, the number could rise to 900,000 people wanting to make the perilous journey to Europe.

The trend of illegal immigration in recent years has also increased in volume in the summer months, peaking last year in August of 16,822 arrivals.

If current trends continue, not only will Italy break last year’s 100,000 illegal arrivals mark, but the numbers could approach the records set in 2016, when a total of 181,436 illegal migrants set foot in Italy.

The large wave of illegal immigrants comes despite promises from Conservative Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, who last year pledged to tackle the rising trend and went so far as to propose a naval blockade to halt the number of boats crossing the sea.

However, despite the promises, the government has so far only tried to regulate NGO taxi ships for migrant taxis, which made up a fraction of the total number of illegals last year and carried about 10,000 migrants as of October 2022.

Meloni and her government, rather than continue with a blockade, have proposed more vague solutions to the issue, such as directing investment into Africa in an effort to create opportunities for migrants in their home countries that may tempt them not to to leave.

Prime Minister Meloni has also declared her intention to crack down on smugglers following the deaths of 72 migrants aboard a boat that was wrecked off the coast of the town of Cutro, promising smugglers prison terms of up to 30 years.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email to ctomlinson(at)

Leave a Comment