Italy’s amnesty for undocumented migrants – an important step forward achieved thanks to EFFAT affiliates' tireless fight

After months of tireless campaign and political pressure on the Italian Government, EFFAT Italian affiliates have achieved the adoption of a governmental decree that includes concrete measures aimed at regularising thousands of undocumented migrants employed in the EFFAT sectors. The new regularisation measures are part of a large package of measures to support economic recovery after the pandemic (“Decreto rilancio”). The Decree was published this morning in the Italian Official Journal (“Gazzetta ufficiale”).
The Decree seeks to legalise workers employed in agriculture, livestock and fisheries (and connected activities), domestic work and home care.
The expressed aims of the regularisation measures are to offer adequate levels of protection of individual and collective health in relation to the Covid-19 health emergency and to encourage the surfacing of undeclared employment relations.
Two methods have been determined to achieve the regularisation of undocumented migrant workers. The first provides employers operating in one of the concerned sectors with the option to declare to the authorities the intention to conclude a contract of employment or declare an existing one with Italian or foreign workers present in the country before 8 March. Undocumented migrants will automatically receive an ordinary residence permit.
The second allows undocumented migrants with a residence permit expired since 31 October 2019 to apply for a temporary residence permit of 6 months. They should prove that they have previously worked, even for only one day, in the sectors concerned by the measure. If during the six months validity of the work permit they secure a job or can show evidence that they have worked, the temporary permit is converted into a residence permit for work purposes.
Remuneration will not be below the one set by the sectoral collective labour agreement.
It is the first time ever in Italy that regularisation can be achieved through two distinct routes. In the past only the first avenue was available.
According to the Italian Government hundreds of thousands of people may be able to benefit from the amnesty. The condition of thousands of agricultural workers is particularly critical in this emergency period, with thousands of them living segregated in informal dwellings (called “ghettos”) often without running water and power and with poor sanitary conditions, in constant fear of deportation.
EFFAT has strongly supported the demand for an amnesty for undocumented migrants in Italy. Kristjan Bragason, EFFAT General Secretary, commenting on the regularisation measures adopted by the Italian government, said: “I congratulate EFFAT’s Italian affiliates for this historic result, achieved in a very complicated political context. This initiative can be an inspiration for other countries.
“The decree may eventually have some limitations  but it is a major step forward that gives back hope to thousands of individuals who today are invisible victims of undeclared work and gangmaster practices who will now be entitled to full social rights. Ensuring access to legal employment and public care for these workers is an act of social justice.”