Undocumented Bangladeshis likely to be legalised in Italy

Md Owasim Uddin Bhuyan | Published: 00:19, Apr 22,2020


Bangladeshi migrants who became  undocumented in Italy are likely to be legalized by host country as it has taken a fresh move to regularize the expatriate workers, said officials in Rome.

The Italian move aims at getting workers needed by its different sectors, they said.

Bangladesh embassy officials in Rome said that over one lakh workers of Bangladesh were working in Italy, mostly at its restaurants and other tourism related businesses.

Though there is no dependable data of undocumented Bangladeshi workers in Italy, they did not discount the possibility that a good number of Bangladeshis became undocumented there.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Italy Abdus Sobhan Sikder told New Age that they have learned that Italian government was thinking to regularize undocumented expatriate workers.

He said, ‘If the Italian government starts implementing the idea, a substantial number of undocumented Bangladeshis in Italy will certainly get the benefit.’

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,  said officials.

Italy used to recruit the seasonal workers for its agricultural sector from Morocco, Romania, Albania, Sri Lanka, India and other Asian and African countries, they said.  

Sharmin Alamgir, a Bangladeshi migrant who had worked in Venice, told New Age that she learnt from Italian TV news that the Italian government had taken the move to regularize all undocumented migrants there.

The bill to regularize undocumented migrants was recently placed in the Italian parliament for approval, she said.

According to AFP, Italian Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova has called for the en-mass legalization of undocumented migrants in Italy in order to get the economy moving again.

Many migrants, currently living in shanty towns are exploited by the mafia and an illegal labour system known as ‘caporalato’, under which intermediaries who bring workers to farmers take large parts of their meagre wages.

The proposal, approved by Italian agricultural union Coldiretti, was slammed by the far-right.

The corona virus is not lone problem facing the Italian farmers as Italy is also experiencing its driest spring in last 60 years.

Italian farmers have been brought to their knees by a six-week lockdown aimed at stopping the deadly corona epidemic from hitting the agriculture sector.

Border blocks, restaurant closures and a lack of seasonal workers spelt disaster to nearly four out of 10 Italian businesses in the fruit and the vegetable sectors, according to Italy’s biggest agricultural union Coldiretti.

‘Something must be done urgently, as the harvests of strawberries, asparagus, artichokes and greenhouse fruits, such as melons, tomatoes and peppers are already underway,’ Coldiretti said.

And the harvest of cherries, apricots and plums would begin soon, it said.

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