Without an extension of stay permits for foreign seasonal workers, the harvest season is at risk, the organization of Italian agricultural producers, Coldiretti, has warned.
The president of Coldiretti, Ettore Prandini, sent a letter to Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese to ask for an extension of stay permits for non-EU citizens working in Italian agriculture, according to a press release published by the organization on August 5.
Prandini said it was necessary to extend permits that expired on July 31 to at least December 31, 2021 to prevent many qualified seasonal workers from being forced to return to their home country.
This, he said, could lead to problems in the harvest of wine grapes, fruit and vegetables.
More than 25% of produce picked by migrants
The Coldiretti president also wrote Lamorgese that it was important that requests for seasonal jobs as well as requests for the conversion of seasonal permits could be filed by early September, to ensure that farmers had enough workforce.
He said that this and the stay permit extension were necessary to prevent unscrupulous people from infiltrating the agricultural labor market.
According to Coldiretti, over one-fourth of Italian produce has been picked by foreigners, with 368,000 workers coming from 155 countries.