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- Thursday, 17 February 2011 08:50
- Thursday, 17 February 2011 08:45
Nearly 100 irregular migrants believed to be Egyptians have arrived in Sicily in two boats.
One large boat, carrying 66 migrants was intercepted overnight Monday/Tuesday (14th – 15th February) close to Pozzallo in south-east Sicily. Ten among them are thought to be minors. Another boat carrying 30 migrants, 26 of them minors, landed nearby in Ragusa also on Tuesday.
It is unclear where their boats departed from though migrants are known to leave from and around Dumyatt (Dumietta), east of Alexandria.
Although there has been much focus on Tunisian migrants arriving by sea on the Italian island of Lampedusa following recent events in their country, it is not uncommon for small numbers of Egyptian irregular migrants to occasionally travel by boat to south east Sicily.
Meanwhile, Tunisian migrants who had arrived on Lampedusa at the weekend are gradually being relocated to other migrant reception centres in Italy.
The centre which is meant to host a maximum of 800 people, has for the past few days been hosting about 2,000 migrants.
In a bid to help relieve the overcrowding, 200 of the migrants were transferred from Lampedusa to Foggia on Tuesday.
IOM teams on Lampedusa and in six reception centres in Puglia in southern Italy working with partners UNHCR and Save the Children, are providing general legal information to the migrants, the majority of whom are young men who say they have left Tunisia in order to find work. However, some of the Tunisian migrants have told IOM they left because they were afraid, citing insecurity and danger.
- Wednesday, 16 February 2011 01:51
Green: We aim at reducing level of migration to tens of thousands each year
The Home Office has announced the changes to the work visa route. This shake up is part of the Government's new annual limit on non-EU workers, which will take effect on 6th April. At the end of last year the Home Office announced that 20,700 visas will be made available to skilled workers applying through Tier 2 of the Points Based System, as well as 1,000 visas under a new exceptional talent route.
Under the new system, employers will have to apply for a Certificate of Sponsorship (COS) from the UK Border Agency for a specific post if they wish to bring someone to the UK - this is a change from the current system which gives businesses an annual allocation.
The Government has also announced that employers filling a vacancy that attracts a salary of £150,000 or more will not be subject to the limit on the number of COS that may be allocated.
Immigration Minister Damian Green said: "Britain needs to attract the brightest and the best to fill jobs gaps but this should never be at the expense of workers already here.
"We have worked closely with businesses while designing this system, and made it clear employers should look first to people who are out of work and who are already in this country.
"And those that do come here to work must know that we intend to make the route to settlement tougher. It cannot be right that people coming to fill temporary skills gaps have open access to permanent settlement."
The annual limit of 20,700 COS will be divided into 12 monthly allocations. Due to the likely demand in the first month, 4,200 COS will be made available in April. After that the limit will be set at 1,500 places per month. Any places that are unused each month will be rolled over to the following month.
In the event that the monthly allocation is over subscribed, COS applications will be ranked using a points system designed to favour jobs on the shortage occupation list, scientific researchers and those with a higher salary. Once a COS has then been granted to an employer it must be assigned to the prospective employee within three months.
Workers from outside the EU who want to come to Britain will need to have a graduate level job, speak an intermediate level of English, and meet specific salary and employment requirements.
The Intra Company Transfer route (ICT), which is not part of the annual limit will also be changed in three ways: the job will have to be in an occupation on the graduate occupation list; only those paid £40,000 or more will be able to stay for more than a year. They will be granted for three years with the possibility of extending for a further two; and those paid between £24,000 and £40,000 will be allowed to come to the UK for no longer than 12 months, at which point they must leave and will not be able to re-apply for 12 months.
Mr. Green added: "Britain will benefit from migration provided it is controlled and directed towards improving our economy.
"I am not seeking zero or negative net migration. Our aim is to reduce the level of migration down to the levels of the 1990s - tens of thousands each year, not hundreds of thousands."
- Wednesday, 16 February 2011 00:35
Amnesty International: “Any decision to detain a person should be considered individually"
Amnesty International has urged the authorities of Italy and the European Union to protect the human rights of thousands of migrants from Tunisia arriving on the Italian mainland and island of Lampedusa.
More than 5,000 people have arrived in Italy in recent days following political unrest in their country. There have previously been many reports of asylum-seekers’ rights being abused in Italy following their arrival from countries around the Mediterranean Sea.
Nicola Duckworth, Amnesty International’s Europe Programme Director, said: “While we recognise the challenges of dealing with very large and mixed migration flows, the relevant authorities must ensure that previous instances of asylum-seekers' rights being abused are not repeated.
“The relevant authorities must ensure that all those seeking asylum should be able to access territory and fair, satisfactory asylum procedures and be informed of their rights.
"No one should be forcibly expelled to a place where they face serious human rights abuses, or without adequate consideration of their circumstances and needs for protection. Any decision to detain a person should be considered individually."
Large numbers of people were forced to sleep outdoors for several days before the Italian authorities reopened the reception centre in Lampedusa.
The Italian authorities have called the recent wave of migration a “humanitarian emergency” and publicly called the European Union through FRONTEX to assist in stemming the flows of migrants from North Africa.
Italy's Minister of Foreign affairs has announced patrols along the Italian coasts are to be reinforced along with mechanisms “that until a month ago were able to reduce irregular/clandestine migration to zero”.
- Tuesday, 15 February 2011 13:28
Opposition leader Bersani asks him to resign
Italy’s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has been indicted to face trial on charges of paying for sex with an underage prostitute and abuse of power.
Last week Milan prosecutors formally asked to have Mr. Berlusconi stand trial immediately in connection with alleged relations with an underage girl.
Judge Cristina di Censo agreed to the request and said the process would start on 6th April.
Mr. Berlusconi allegedly paid for sex with several young women including the Moroccan Karima El Mahroug, aka Ruby the Heart Stealer when she was 17 years old.
Milan prosecutors say the prime minister later exerted improper pressure on police to have Ruby released from police custody when she was detained on separate theft allegations.
The prime minister and many of his party officials have been defending his gesture, claiming that he called the police to have Ruby released because he was convinced that she was a granddaughter of the then-Egyptian leader, Hosni Mubarak.
Mr. Berlusconi has denied any wrongdoing. Ruby has also denied having sex with the prime minister when she was underage.
She, however, admitted that she received a gift of 7,000 Euros from the prime minister after attending a party at his place last year.
Secretary General of Democratic Party Pierluigi Bersani has asked the prime minister to resign.