Humanitarian result after the Salvini Decree? It's possible in some cases, court says

Italy’s top court has ruled that an asylum-seeker who filed his asylum application before the Salvini Decree went into effect — October 5, 2018 — could still get humanitarian protection as a result, if he meets the criteria.

Quick facts on the ruling, which the Corte Suprema di Cassazione (Supreme Court of Cassation) published on February 19, 2019:

  • If you applied for asylum before October 5, 2018, and you got a negative decision from the commission after October 5, 2018, and would like to appeal or are appealing, it’s a good idea to talk to a lawyer soon to see if this ruling could affect your case.
  • The ruling does not apply to permesso renewals. It only applies to asylum applications.

To learn more about the ruling, we talked to our legal partner, the Associazione Studi Giuridici Immigrazione (ASGI). Here's what they told us.

What did the Corte di Cassazione decide exactly? 🤔

If you follow Refugee.Info Italy, you probably know that the Salvini Decree (which went into effect October 5, 2018) ended humanitarian protection.

But the Salvini Decree didn’t say when commissions should start applying the Salvini Decree rules. Commissions needed to know: Should we start applying the Salvini Decree rules to all the decisions we make on or after October 5, 2018, or to all the asylum applications filed on or after October 5, 2018?

In response, the national Italian asylum authority issued official instructions telling commissions how to apply the new rules. The instructions said commissions should apply the Salvini Decree rules to all the decisions they make on or after October 5, 2018.

But the Corte di Cassazione judges disagreed. The judges said commissions should apply the Salvini Decree rules only to asylum applications filed on or after October 5, 2018.

According to the court, that means commissions should consider humanitarian protection as a possible result for all applications filed on or before October 5, 2018.

In the opinion of the high court judges, if you filed your C3 before October 5, 2018, your commission should consider humanitarian protection as a possible result for you.

I filed my C3 before October 5, 2018, and got a negative result after October 5, 2018. How does the ruling affect me?

If you appeal your first negative decision and the tribunale (court) gives you a second negative decision, then the recent Corte di Cassazione ruling might give you the right to appeal another time, under certain conditions.

Under what conditions? If neither your commission nor the judge considered whether you should get humanitarian protection when they were evaluating your case, you could be able to appeal again, this time to the Corte di Cassazione. You can find out more by speaking to a lawyer who knows your individual case.

What happens if the Corte di Cassazione rules in my favor?

If the Corte di Cassazione finds that the tribunale should have considered your case on humanitarian protection grounds, it will send your case back to the tribunale.

From there, the tribunale will review your case again and decide whether you should be granted humanitarian protection.

What happens if the Corte di Cassazione rejects my appeal?

If the Corte di Cassazione rejects your appeal, you will be considered "irregular" in Italy and will likely receive an expulsion order.

I asked to renew my humanitarian protection before October 5, 2018. Does the Corte di Cassazione ruling affect me?

No, it doesn’t. The ruling only applies to new asylum applications.

While the Salvini Decree did not explain how commissions should handle asylum applications after October 5, 2018, it did explain how to handle requests to renew humanitarian permits after that date.

You can learn more about the steps to take if your 2-year permesso di soggiorno is about to expire here.

Does the Corte di Cassazione ruling mean that commissions and tribunali have to change how they evaluate asylum applications?

No. Under Italian law, the Corte di Cassazione ruling does not mean that commissions or tribunali have to change how they apply the Salvini Decree.

It just opens the door for more people to appeal their case a second time, to the Corte di Cassazione.

I’ve got a few more questions.

Understandable! If you have more questions — or for help finding legal assistance for your specific case — you can always message us on Facebook. We’ll get back to you as soon as we can.