There were 530,000 non-EU citizens in Italy without a valid stay permit in late 2018, according to the organization Assindatcolf. That included up to 200,000 domestic workers, such as caregivers for the elderly and children and cleaners.

By the end of 2018, there were an estimated 530,000 non-EU citizens in the country without a proper stay permit, according to the Italian employers of domestic workers association Assindatcolf. This figure includes between 150,000 and 200,000 undocumented caregivers for the elderly and children as well as cleaners.

These numbers are included in the 2019 report on immigration statistics by the IDOS research center. The report was presented at an event on domestic labor and regulations concerning migrant entrance flows held in Udine, Italy, on December 9.

70% of domestic workers are migrants 

Out of a total of over 800,000 legal domestic workers in Italy, foreigners account for almost 70%. 

Assindatcolf vice president Andrea Zini said that in an ever more ageing population, Italy needed to start admitting more migrant workers. "We need to start planning for non-EU worker entrance flows, which have been halted since 2011," Zini said. "Assindatcolf estimates that 60,000 new entrances will be needed for domestic labor over the next two three-year periods." 

He argued that the government "cannot pretend not to notice that about 200,000 non-EU citizens working in the domestic sector without stay permit, and thus without working papers, are already in Italy." He wants "an amnesty specifically for non-EU citizens to bring them into compliance with regulations or a procedure to register with the tax authorities for all those working under table in the domestic sector." 

Permits mostly for seasonal migrant workers

Over the past eight years, said Luca Di Sciullo, president of the IDOS research center, there has been a "de facto halt" for migrant workers who want to stay and work in Italy year-round, like domestic workers. He said that entrance has been granted "almost exclusively seasonal workers." This, he said, led to many economic migrants requesting asylum - "thereby raising rejection levels and creating greater lack of compliance with laws - and leaving a growing gap in demand for domestic assistance among Italian families."  


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