SAI: History, Objectives and Characteristics

2001 PNA – Programma Nazionale Asilo
___________ National Asylum Programme

In 2001 ANCI (the National Association of Italian Municipalities), UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and the Italian Ministry of the Interior signed a memorandum of understanding to set up the PNA, the National Asylum Programme.

The PNA was the first public system for the reception of asylum seekers and refugees, throughout the Italian territory and instituted the sharing of responsibilities between the Ministry of the Interior and local authorities.


2002 SPRAR – Sistema di protezione per richiedenti asilo e rifugiati
_____________ Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees

The Law no. 189 of 30 July 2002 institutionalized the PNA by setting up SPRAR, the Protection System for Asylum Seekers and Refugees.
Subsequently the Ministry of the Interior established the Servizio Centrale, a central co-ordination office, and appointed ANCI to manage it.


2018 SIPROIMI – Sistema di protezione per titolari di protezione internazionale e per minori stranieri non accompagnati
________________ Protection System for Beneficiaries of International Protection and for Unaccompanied Foreign Minors

In 2018, SPRAR was renamed SIPROIMI – Protection System for Beneficiaries of International Protection and for Unaccompanied Foreign Minors (Decree-Law no. 113 of 4 October 2018, enacted as Law no. 132 of 1 December 2018).
The new legislation sets out that access to SIPROIMI’s integrated reception services can also be provided to holders of a residence permit for special reasons: as victims of violence, trafficking, domestic violence, labour exploitation or calamities, or for poor health, or for acts of particular civic value.


2020 SAI – Sistema di Accoglienza e Integrazione
__________ Reception and Integration System

In 2020, SIPROIMI was renamed SAI – Reception and Integration System (Decree-Law no.130 of 21 October 2020, enacted as Law no.173 of 18 December 2020).

The new legislation sets out that access to SAI’s integrated reception services can be provided to refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied foreign minors, foreigners entrusted to the social services on reaching majority age.

Moreover, SAI can also accommodate victims of disasters, migrants whose special civil value is recognized, holders of a residence permit for medical treatment, holders of a special- protection residence permit (recipients of social protection, victims of domestic violence, victims of labour exploitation).

The primary objective of SAI is to provide support for each individual in the reception system, through an individual programme designed to enable that person to regain a sense of independence, and thus enjoy effective involvement in life in Italy, in terms of employment, housing and access to local services and social interaction as well as scholastic integration for minors.

The principal characteristics of SAI are:

1. the public nature of the system, funded and managed by public bodies (the Ministry of the Interior; ANCI and local authorities) according to a multi-level governance model

2. the synergies between managing bodies (voluntary sector organisations and associations, NGOs, cooperatives) that make an essential contribution to the activities of SAI

3. the decentralisation of the ‘integrated reception’ activities throughout Italy

4. the promotion and development of stable, solid and interactive local networks, with the involvement of stakeholders and priority partners in order to ensure the success of the reception, protection and integration measures

5. the voluntary participation of local institutions in the network of reception projects

6. the reinforcement of local services, designed to profit the entire community, both indigenous and migrant.

Local institutions, in partnership with the voluntary sector, implement local reception projects, bringing together SAI’s guidelines and standards with the characteristics and specific factors affecting the local area.
Local institutions can choose the type of reception services to be provided and the recipients that can be best supported, depending on the aims, capacity and expertise of local stakeholders, and taking into account the available resources (professional, structural and economic), the welfare tools and the social policy strategies.
Projects may therefore be focused on individual adults and nuclear families, or on single-parent families, single pregnant women, unaccompanied foreign minors, victims of torture, individuals needing continual care or those with psychiatric problems or physical disabilities. Specific projects are available for vulnerable individuals with mental health problems.

A fundamental element of SAI’s services is the temporary nature of reception, which is intended in all cases to promote the independence and integration of recipients.

Servizio Centrale del SAI
Central Service of SAI

The Servizio Centrale coordinates and monitors SAI, the Reception and Integration System, a network of local authorities that implement projects and “integrated reception” activities for refugees and unaccompanied foreign minors.
Managed by ANCI, the National Association of Italian Municipalities, with the operational support of Fondazione Cittalia, the Servizio Centrale also undertakes tasks involving information, promotion, consultancy and technical assistance for local authorities and monitors the presence of applicants and beneficiaries of international protection in Italy.

National Association of Italian Municipalities

ANCI represents municipalities with Parliament, Government, the Regions, Public Administrations, Community bodies, the Committee of Regions and any other institutions exercising public functions of local interest.
Over 7000 municipalities are members of ANCI (July 2018), representing over 90% of the Italian population.

On immigration and asylum, ANCI encourages innovation, develops networks and collaboration, takes part in the national debate on matters of territorial interest, such as citizenship, integration, access to services, collecting the instances of Municipalities and reporting them to the appropriate offices.
Following the principals of virtuous collaboration between central State and territories, ANCI has promoted immigration initiatives such as the SAI.

CITTALIA – ANCI  Foundation

CITTALIA is an ANCI foundation for the promotion and dissemination of the culture of reception, integration and citizenship, helping to strengthen the role of cities in the pursuit of social inclusion policies.

Established in 2008, Cittalia has carried out activities in the fields of the environment, public and private institutions, and innovation and has focused on welfare and social inclusion. Its study and research activities include new projects on asylum, human rights, immigration, citizenship, social inclusion, social and health policies.

Cittalia includes the Servizio Centrale, the central co-ordination office of SAI.

Cittalia provides municipalities with information and services on the main European financing programmes and support for Euro-planning activities in the Foundation’s main areas: #citizenship #reception #integration.