Around one lakh Bangladeshi workers living and working Italy illegally will become legal resident as the Italy government announced issue work permit to all undocumented workers.
The move came as part of a 55 billion euro ($59.6 billion) stimulus package approved on Wednesday by the coalition government to help the sagging Italian economy, which has been battered by the effects of the coronavirus.
There are around 560,000 migrants living in Italy without work permits or residency documents, according to 2019 estimates. The new policy creates a path to regularisation for undocumented people working in agriculture and as domestic helpers. Residency permits issued under the policy will be valid for six months.
Bangladesh embassy officials in Rome said the embassy is keeping open between June 6 and July 18 to serve Bangladeshi residence who need necessary documents from the embassy to apply under the program, a notice of Bangladeshi Embassy, Rome said.
Embassy officials said over one lakh workers of Bangladesh were working in Italy, mostly at its restaurants and other tourism related businesses.
Italy, among the main destination of the Bangladeshi workers in Europe, halted recruitment of workers from Bangladesh in 2012, as their quota had been filled up.
Representatives of human rights organisations praised the move on Twitter as “a major step forward” for the “visibility and dignity of migrants.” But before it passed, the measure strained Italy’s four-party governing coalition, with three centre-left parties supporting the move and the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement opposing it.
Italy is also facing a potential food shortage and a labour crisis in its agricultural sector as migrant workers from eastern Europe who usually travel to Italy to work during seasonal harvests are either choosing to stay home or unable to make the trip this year.