According to statistics published by Caritas the Catholic relief organisation there were over 3 million legal immigrants living in Italy at the end of 2005 (compared to 2.786.340 in 2004). This figure includes the 180,000 immigrants who arrived in Italy in 2005 with the intent of staying (as opposed to those coming for seasonal work only), as well as babies born in Italy in 2005 - both of whose parents were immigrants.

According to Caritas, the number of immigrants will increase by 300,000 in 2006.

In 2005 the total number of immigrants given permission to stay in Italy under the "decreto flussi", which regulate the intake of immigrants each year according to country of origin, was just under 180,000. According to the Caritas report 100,000 immigrants already living in Italy were not accepted because of irregularities in their applications.