Migrants arriving in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo after being rescued by Spanish humanitarian rescue vessel 'Aita Mari' |  PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/FRANCESCO RUTA
Migrants arriving in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo after being rescued by Spanish humanitarian rescue vessel 'Aita Mari' | PHOTO/ARCHIVE/ANSA/FRANCESCO RUTA

Nearly 32,000 applications for the regularization of migrant workers have been presented to the Italian interior ministry in the first two weeks of this month after legislation approved in May came into force on June 1, according to official data released on June 15. A reported 91% of applications concerned migrant home helps and carers. The government said applications are rising steadily.

The Italian interior ministry received 32,000 applications for the regularization of migrant workers in the two weeks following the opening date on June 1, the ministry said on June 15. 

Overall, 23,950 applications have already been defined while 7,762 are still pending, the interior ministry said. Applications are rising steadily, the ministry added. They can be filed until July 15.

The legislation allowing employees to sign new contracts with their employers or for employers to regularize employees in specific sectors, including agriculture and domestic work, became official with the publication in the Official Gazette in Italy on June 1. 

Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova expressed satisfaction: ''24,000 women and men who were so far invisible will now have the right to a stay permit and a job'', she said. 

Majority of applications filed for domestic workers, carers 

The minister went on to say that ''those claiming that the legislation is useless have never seen a ghetto where irregular workers are forced to live in inhumane conditions and have all the interest in leaving them in a situation of illegality at the mercy of criminals and gangmasters."

Domestic workers and carers represent 91% of the applications that have already been defined (21,695) or are still pending (5,906), according to official data. The application process got off to a slow start with 870 requests reported on June 1. 

Applications kept rising on a daily basis with 3,229 requests presented for example on June 12, according to the data. On average, 2,100 applications are filed every day.

The great majority concerned domestic workers (16,469 applications), followed by carers (4.960) and farmworkers (2,233). Most of the requests for domestic workers and carers were filed in Lombardy (7,951), followed by Campania (2,716) and Lazio (2,230). 

Applications for farmworkers 

The Campania region ranked first for the number of applications filed for farmworkers (554), followed by Sicily (448) and Lazio (408). The majority of domestic workers and carers who filed applications are from Morocco, Egypt and Bangladesh while the majority of applicants who work in agriculture hail from India, Albania and Morocco. Out of the 23,950 employers who filed a request to regularize an employee 17,294 were Italian (72% of the total). 

During the first two weeks of June, 1,208 temporary stay permits were requested by foreign citizens at a post office. Before applying, employers must pay a contribution of €500. If employers declare that they have been employing a worker illegally, they must also pay back what they owe to the employee, as well as contributions and taxes. 

The employer must have an annual income of at least 30,000 euros. Employers who want to regularize carers are not required to declare their income but must show a medical certificate proving the pathology or disability of the person who requires help when they present their request through the Sportello Unico found in prefectures across Italy.
 

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