It is a positive development that around 12,746 undocumented Bangladeshi migrants in Italy have applied for regularisation under an Italian government declared amnesty programme which started on June 1 amid the coronavirus pandemic and was scheduled to end yesterday. The government of Italy has also announced different stimulus packages for workers, including one for low-paid workers with work permits. It means that if our workers are regularised and have work permits, they would not only get better jobs but they could also get some financial support from the Italian government to cope with the economic fallout of the pandemic.
According to the data of the Italian ministry of labour and social policies, around 1.45 lakh Bangladeshi migrants with valid documents live in Italy while an estimated 20,000 Bangladeshis work there without valid documents. According to the Bangladeshi community in Italy, the number could be as high as 50,000. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, these workers have been passing their days in economic hardship without having any regular job or work.
Thus, the amnesty declared by the Italian government is a great opportunity for our undocumented workers to get regularised. Bangladeshi workers mostly applied to the domestic work sector as caregivers. There is also scope to be regularised in the agriculture sector. However, the challenge is, to get regularised in the domestic work sector or in the agriculture sector, workers have to apply under specific employers. Besides, this opportunity is also available for the unemployed workers who can get work permits for a fee of 130 euros.
We think our mission in Italy has a big role to play here. It should do everything in its power to help our workers if there is any issue regarding their documents. As their papers will be verified and they will be interviewed by the authorities concerned before they get their work permits, our mission can also consider taking a programme to train them properly for the interview.
Regularisation of our undocumented workers is crucial to ensure that they get a decent life in the foreign country and do not fall into the trap of any trafficking gang.
Source: Daily Star Editorial on August 16, 2020