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The treatment of irregular migrants during COVID-19: a comparative analysis of Italian and Portuguese responses

Salvatore Fp Barillà, Alberto Pellicanò
Published: 18 November 2020

Abstract: In Southern European countries, the regularization of irregular migrants has been largely used in the past as ex post control policy measure, blamed by several scholars as an emergency remedy for the lack of systematic working immigration policies (Baldwin-Edwards, 1999; Finotelli & Sciortino, 2009). Nonetheless, COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the essential agricultural chains and elderly homecare led countries like Portugal and Italy to adopt an unprecedented comprehensive regularization, in terms of numbers of people involved and modalities. Prima facie similar in the approach, the two legislations may entail not only different bureaucratical implications, but also different rational, as different are the political and the socio-economic environments behind. The aim of the article is to compare the two emergency legislations on a synchronic dimension. Through the analysis of primary and secondary sources, the article will compare the different approaches of Italy and Portugal in addressing the policy problem after the start of COVID-19 pandemic. As two Southern EU Member States with different views on immigration policies, Italy and Portugal represent an interesting case study to investigate. The article will benefit from an interdisciplinary approach, addressing the issue combining both legal and political literatures. Ultimately, the article will try to assess if the current measures are in line with the regularization policies that have been adopted in the past decade.
Keywords: Treatment / policies / measures / Legislations / Irregular / Southern / Adopt / Italy and Portugal / COVID

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