Volunteers of Casa Africa distributing basic necessities to poors and seasonal farm workers in Rome | Photo: ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI
Volunteers of Casa Africa distributing basic necessities to poors and seasonal farm workers in Rome | Photo: ANSA/MASSIMO PERCOSSI

The Italian interior minister expressed openness to legalizing migrant workers in the country, pointing out however that it would not involve "600,000 people" indicated in estimates but rather "those who are needed and with rules".

Italian Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese, in a hearing before the Lower House Constitutional Affairs Committee, said she is open to the proposal of legalizing migrant workers, but said the measure wouldn't regard "600,000 people", a figure that had been cited in estimates. 

She said there is also the need to "intercept signs of disintegration in the social fabric, in particular for the weakest categories" and to provide resources in a timely manner for recovery. In so doing, however, she emphasized the need to pay particular attention to "the insertion of organized crime during the restart phase of economic activities."

'Not 600,000, but those needed and with rules'

The minister for farming, Teresa Bellanova, had been the one to put forward the proposal of legalizing irregular migrant workers, and found support in her colleague in the interior ministry. "I spoke with Bellanova, and we are working together," Lamorgese said. "We will see when the time comes to make a concrete measure; right now there isn't anything. We haven't defined a certain line with the other ministers," she said. 

Lamorgese said, however, that any eventual measure certainly wouldn't involve 600,000 migrants as indicated in estimates, but rather "those who are needed, and with rules."

"There is the problem of the harvest and uncovering those working under the table, including for safety reasons," Lamorgese said. 

"The measure should regard farming and fishing, but we are evaluating what sectors to eventually consider. Home carers and domestic workers had also been mentioned; we'll evaluate, there still isn't anything concrete," she said. 

Reactions from labor unions, associations, and opposition 

The confederation secretary of the labor union CGIL, Giuseppe Massafra, praised legalization, but said the idea to tie it only to the farming sector is "wrong and opportunistic" because "it doesn't take into account the condition of blackmail and exploitation experienced by all foreign workers". 

The association ANCI said the proposal "allows for a response to the objective difficulties tied to paths of legalization already begun for those who concretely contribute to the development of the territory through their own work." 

The association for home carers and domestic workers, Assindatcolf, estimates that there are 200,000 of these workers who do not have a stay permit and is calling on including them in the legalization measure. 

The opposition, however, has expressed criticism. Maurizio Gasparri of the centre-right Forza Italia party defined the "proposal of an amnesty" as "wretched". 
 

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