Deadlock on regularisation of migrant workers. The “Ero Straniero” campaign writes to the institutions

Leggi in Italiano

Rome (NEV), 21 April 2021 – “The 2020 ad hoc regularisation is in a situation of deadlock, with significant consequences in terms of legality, health and social security for our country”. So reads the open letter sent yesterday, 20th April, by dozens of organisations to the Ministries of the Interior, Health, Work and Agricultural Policy, to the president of the Chamber of Deputies and to the president of the Chamber’s Commission for Consitutional Affairs. Their objective: to ask the government to intervene and finalise the more than 200,000 claims presented as soon as possible; to the parliament, to recommence examination of the popular bill to reform the law on immigration, stalled for over a year.

The letter, initiated by the  Ero Straniero (“I Was A Stranger”) campaign, to which the Federation of ProtestantChurches in Italy(FCEI)is an adherent, was signed by the main bodies working on the themes of asylum and migration (Tavolo salute e immigrazione, Tavolo asilo nazionale, Forum per cambiare l’ordine delle cose, Io accolgo, Amsi-medici di origine straniera in Italia), by national trades unions (CGIL, UIL, USB), by co-operatives (Alleanza delle cooperative italiane-agroalimentare and, therefore Confcooperative Fedagripesca, Legacoop Agroalimentare, AgciAgrital, along with Legacoopsociali) and by trade and business associations (Assindatcolf- Associazione Nazionale dei Datori di Lavoro Domestico, Professione in famiglia, Osservatorio Placido Rizzotto-Flai CGIL, ASeS-Agricoltori Solidarietà and Sviluppo della CIA-Agricoltori italiani), operating in sectors affected by the extraordinary measure approved almost a year ago (domestic and care work, agriculture).

“The enormous delay with which examination of the claims for regularisation is proceeding, as documentated by the monitoring work of the Ero Straniero campaign,”explainits promoters, “with only a few thousand residence permits granted out of the more than 200,000 claims presented means, in real terms, that it is factually impossible for tens of thousands of people to fully access the services, benefits, safeguards and rights provided for those who work in our country. One example among many: not with standing the law providing for access to the national healthcare system for foreign citizens awaitin gregularisation, in reality, in many locations, this right is denied.  Indeed, without a residence permit a health card will not be issued, and without the latter it is extremely difficult to enrol in the anti-Covid vaccine campaign which is currently underway.  This deadlock situation therefore inevitably has an impact at the level of public health even in the context of the health emergency which we are currently living,”underlines the letter. “Furthermore, without a residence permit, it also becomes difficult to open a current account, which is necessary for crediting the salary of those who are already working, or for obtaining an “ISEE” (indicating a family’sfinancial situation),used to access financial relief for school mealsbythose on a low income.  There is also another aspect to take into consideration: one year ago, with the outbreak of the pandemic in Italy, there was the risk of a complete shutdown of the food and agriculture sector, given the lack of foreign seasonal workers prevented from entering the country.  The result of that was the extrordinary measure on reguralisation inserted into the so-called “relaunch decree”.  A year on, at the beginning of a new harvest season, it would be paradoxical for the tens of thousands of claims under investigation not to be rapidly finalised, enabling those who have made claims to work securely and meeting the requests for labour made by employers,” reads the letter.

In light of these considerations, the signatory organisations therefore ask:

“– the Government and, in particular, the Ministries of the Interior and Health, to intervene immediately in order to expedite the claims process, such that the 200,000 people in limbo, awaiting a response, can be formally employed as quickly as possible; and to clarify within its own offices that foreign citizens awaiting a residence permit enjoy- up until the procedure’s conclusion – all the rights connected with the status of a regular worker.

– the Parliament, to recommence as soon as possible examination of the popular bill initiated by the Ero Straniero campaign in the Chamber’s Commission of Constitutional Affairs, reforming the now out dated law which is currently in force.“

“The latest extraordinary measure will not be sufficient to stop new irregularity being created, as demonstrated by all that has happened in the last twenty years,” conclude the organisations.  “What is needed is an intervention which permits the framework of regularisation to be expanded, and legality and integration to be fostered, beginning with a tool which individuals can use – always accessible, without the need for an amnesty, which enables those here without documents to regularise their situation on the basis of an available employment contract or an effective rooting in this country.  And, further upstream, what are needed are new mechanisms for entry for work or job-seeking, solutions provided for by the popular bill to be examined by the Chamber, whose approval cannot be awaited any longer”.

Read here the entire text of the open letter sent to the institutions.

The Ero Straniero campaign is sponsored by: Radicali Italiani, Fondazione Casa della carità “Angelo Abriani”, ARCI, ASGI, Centro Astalli, CNCA, A Buon Diritto, CILD, FCEI – Federation of Protestant Churches in Italy, Oxfam Italia, ActionAid Italia, ACLI, Legambiente Onlus, ASCS – Agenzia Scalabriniana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo, AOI, with the support of numerous mayors and tens of organisations.