Migrants during a conference promoted by the migrant rights campaign "I Was a Foreigner" | Photo: ANSA/Luca Zennaro
Migrants during a conference promoted by the migrant rights campaign "I Was a Foreigner" | Photo: ANSA/Luca Zennaro

In Italy, the campaign "I Was a Foreigner" is calling on the government to give undocumented migrant workers stay permits. This, they say, would ensure that there are enough farmworkers to secure the harvest, without "under-the-table labor, illegal gangmastering, and exploitation."

Numerous mayors and dozens of organisations that belong to the migrant rights campaign "I Was a Foreigner" in Italy are calling on Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese and Labour Minister Nunzia Catalfo to issue stay permits to all foreigners working in Italy.

They want the government "to legalize non-EU foreign citizens already in Italy, by issuing of a stay permit on the condition of a work contract in the agriculture sector or in other sectors, starting with care services for the elderly, sick, and not self-sufficient."

They said that because many foreign workers could not enter Italy amid the coronavirus pandemic, there was "an estimated need of at least 250,000 people" to harvest fruits, vegetables and the like across Italy. They said there was a risk that either the food supply would break down, or that farmers would turn to "under-the-table labor, illegal gangmastering, and exploitation."

Allow migrants to work

"Ministers Lamorgese and Catalfo need to present an extraordinary legalisation measure at the next cabinet meeting to allow those who are already in Italy but without work papers to be able to work," the campaign supporters said. 

The "I Was a Foreigner" campaign is sponsored by the following organizations: the Italian Radicals party, the Angelo Abriani Charity House Foundation, ARCI, ASGI, Centro Astalli, CNCA, the non-profit organisation A Buon Diritto, Oxfam Italia, the Federation of Evangelical Churches in Italy (FCEI), ActionAid Italia, Legambiente, ACLI, CILD, the Scalabriniana Agency for Development Cooperation (ASCS), and AOI. A number of mayors and dozens of smaller organizations are also among the campaign's supporters.

 

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