From file: Immigrants queuing for jobs in Rome | Credit: ANSA Archive
From file: Immigrants queuing for jobs in Rome | Credit: ANSA Archive

A research publication on migration in Italy highlights how the economic contributions of migrants in Italy is essential, yet inequality persists in terms of work opportunities and education.

The economic contribution of migrants in Italy is important but their working conditions have worsened with the economic crisis, according to a new research study released in book format titled "Migration and Integration in Today's Italy". The volume was curated by Corrado Bonifazi, director of the National Research Council's Institute for Research on Population and Social Policies (IRPPS-CNR). 

Migrants often in jobs below their skill level

Bonifazi said that despite a slight increase since 2013, immigrant workers' wages are less than those of Italians. He said foreigners are "more often employed in jobs beneath their skill level, and their poverty levels are higher". He also said there are inequalities in education, regarding "entry, scholastic results, learning levels, and drop-outs". 

A picture of Italian migrant flows 

The research shows that the demographic impact of the migrant population in Italy is increasingly relevant: one-fifth of those born in Italy have a foreign mother. "There are more than five million foreigners registered in Italy. New births to foreign mothers total 19.4 percent, with foreigners making up 13.8 percent of children under five years old and 12.6 percent of those under 20. Adapting the law on citizenship would certainly facilitate their integration process," Bonifazi said. "In the last three years, however, the number of foreign residents has increased by only 125,000, above all due to the effect of acquired citizenship, which has reached levels that put us among the top for developed countries". 

"In Italy the economic crisis closed a period of extraordinary migration growth. Between 1990 and 2008, through migrant flows, we gained nearly 3.5 million people, a level that has few equals in the history of international migration. Since 2008 foreign arrivals for work have decreased, while family reunifications and migrant arrivals by sea have increased". 

"International governance" for migrant flows 

According the the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, the number of people in need of protection worldwide has reached 65.6 million. "It is estimated that in Sub-Saharan Africa between 2015 and 2050 the total population will increase by about 1.2 billion, from 969 million to nearly 2.2 billion, and those of working age (20-64 years old) will grow by more than 700 million, from 419 million to 1.1 billion," Bonifazi said. 

"In Europe, on the other hand, despite the migratory contribution, there will be a drop by 25.1 million in total population and 82 million of working age, to which Italy will add a significant contribution with losses of 4.4 and 8.9 million, respectively. These figures show how imagining the future of Europe and Italy without migration is completely unrealistic and how international governance is needed," Bonifazi said. (Picture shows line-up of immigrants queuing for jobs in Rome.ANSA- PHOTO ARCHIVE).


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