Hotspots are the very first reception facilities in Italy and Greece, the primary countries of entry for irregular flows in the EU. Inside every Italian hotspot, a team of Italian experts is supported by representatives of the European agencies involved in the asylum system (EASO, Frontex, Europol). The presence of EU officers could be viewed as the response to previous communitarian accusations against Italy and Greece for being unable to identify migrants successfully. The hotspot approach, reaffirming the Dublin system, has increased the migrant management burden for Italy both in terms of identification procedures and the processing of asylum applications (graph 8).

In line with the EU’s motto “no registration, no rights” (Ansems Vries, Carrera, Guild, 2016, p. 5), the screening activity of migrants is crucial and occurs via Standard Operating Procedures (Sop). As a consequence of the Sop, based on his/her nationality and life story, every single person can be defined as: (1) asylum seeker; (2) asylum seeker eligible under the relocation mechanism; (3) unaccompanied vulnerable minor; (4) illegal migrant who receives a repatriation order.

There are four hotspots in Italy, located in Lampedusa, Pozzallo, Taranto, and Trapani. After the identification procedure, migrants who are allowed to apply for asylum are brought to different reception centres where they can receive first aid.

Ansems de Vries, L., Carrera, S., & Guild, E. (2016). Documenting the migration crisis in the Mediterranean: Spaces of transit, migration management and migrant agency. CEPS Paper in Liberty and Security in Europe, (94),