Skip to main content

Tunisians reach Italian shores in ever larger numbers

Though overall arrivals in Italy from North Africa are down, undocumented immigrants from Tunisia have spiked in recent months as Tunisians flee a lack of opportunities in their home country.
People fleeing unrest in Tunisia are escorted by Guardia di Finanza police officers as they arrive at the southern Italian island of Lampedusa March 30, 2011. The International Organisation for Migration estimates a million people have flooded out of Libya alone since the uprisings began. The vast majority - about 98 percent - have ended up in neighbouring states like Egypt, Tunisia or Algeria. But coupled with the thousands of Tunisians who have taken advantage of looser security following the fall of pres
Read in 

Residents of the Tunisian coastal city of Kelibia often swell with pride when telling visitors how they can see Italy from their homes on a clear summer day. But beyond offering a pleasant view, the close proximity of Europe has tempted the young to emigrate clandestinely to start new lives on another continent.

“Tunisia is finished,” said Omar Aydi, 25, who traveled by boat from Tunisia to Italy despite not having a job lined up. Aydi, who spoke to Al-Monitor via social media, now lives with a friend in Milan and is still searching for work.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.