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The Italian regularization of migrants

The Italian agricultural sector, from May to October, makes use of seasonal migrant workers entering through the national quota system. Because of the current health emergency, this kind of regular entry system was blocked with a consequent negative impact on the primary national system. The agricultural crop could have suffered serious damage so the government decided to regularize foreign workers already in Italy without a residence permit.

The milestones at the basis of the regularization were the primary sector’s economic crisis and the health issues. Nerveless, the Decree speaks about the will to regularize pre-existing and irregular employment contracts so to meet specific needs of the Italian labour market.

The article 110 of the Decree (the so-called Decreto Rilancio) foresees the possibility for an Italian or a regularly resident migrant employer to enter into an employment contract with a migrant irregularly in the territory. The provision does not exclude the possibility to regularize the condition of those workers (even Italian workers) who are already “engaged” in the same activity.

Photodactyloscopic surveys must have been made before 8 March, 2020 on all foreign citizens who access the regularization. This means that they must have entered the territory before that date and they mustn’t have left Italy after the 8th of March.

Similarly, foreign citizens, with a residence permit expired on 31 October 2019 and not renewed or converted into another residence permit, can request a temporary residence permit, valid only in the national territory, lasting six months from the instance. To this end, in addition to the provisions previously mentioned on entry, they must have carried out a job activity before 31 October 2019. The aforementioned permit may be converted into a residence permit for work reasons.

The work sectors affected by regularization are: a) agriculture, livestock and animal husbandry, fishing and aquaculture and related activities; b) assistance to the person, even if not cohabiting, suffering from pathologies or handicaps that limit their self-sufficiency; c) domestic work to support family needs.
The costs of the regularization foresee a flat-rate contribution established in the amount of 400 euros for each worker. The payment of a flat-rate contribution by the employer in remuneration to be determined by decree of the Minister of Labor and Social Policies with the Minister of Economy and Finance, with the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Agricultural and Forestry Policies.

Due to the economic crisis that will affect Italy in the months to come, it is difficult to say the effects of the regularization on the number of migrants with an irregular legal status. Different scenario are expected. One of these sees employers not interested in regularizing migrant workers because of the costs of the entire procedure (together with the budgetary issues related to the economic crisis). For sure the regularization, as described in the Decree, will  have a broader impact than the one expected even if the measure is sectorial.

Fondazione ISMU – Initiatives and Studies on Multi-ethnicity

Milan, 20th May 2020