F.V. has been living in Italy for 10 years, having moved from her home in Albania with her husband. She has two children who are doing well in primary school. About three years ago, the children’s father left and now provides nothing towards their maintenance. F.V. works and looks after the children with the help of her sister, who immigrated to Italy with F.V. and their brother.
F.V. and her siblings speak perfect Italian and are integrated and rooted in Italy.
Rome police refuse to issue residence permit
Despite these facts, the Rome Police Headquarters refused to grant the woman a residence permit for family reasons. With the help of her lawyers, Mario Angelelli and Cosimo Alvaro from Progetto Diritti, F.V. appealed against this measure as it was issued in violation of the right to family unity. F.V's husband holds a residence permit for subordinate work and her children hold residence permits for family reasons. She was able to produce certification of the suitability of the accommodation in which she and children are staying, but could not provide proof of income, as her husband left the family, and probably left Italy too.
Judge cites stable bonds to Italy in granting permit on humanitarian grounds
Judge Cristina Ciavattone of the Ordinary Court of Rome – Section for the Rights of the Person and Immigration – refused to issue a residence permit for family cohesion, but accepted the application for a residence permit for humanitarian reasons. In doing so, the judge took into account F.V.’s family situation under art. 8 ECHR concerning the right to respect of private and family life, in the presence of personal and family bonds particularly significant on the basis of their duration over time and their stability.
Not granting the residence permit would be detrimental to the children’s development
The court stated that "the contested measure - it is stated in the order - did not take into account the existence of the applicant's family bonds in Italy, where her two minor children - who, at present, have no relationship with their father - reside legally". "The applicant is therefore the only one of the parents who takes care of the children ... minors who, in the event of removal of the mother, would have to abruptly interrupt their positive path of integration ... with consequences certainly detrimental to their development.” The Court considered that F.V.’s deep roots in Italy and the fact that she has no link with her country of origin, should also be considered in deciding to issue a residence permit for humanitarian reasons.
Now that the security and Immigration decree has come into force, cases like this, which use the residence permit for humanitarian reasons to remedy a situation of objective injustice, are no longer possible.