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Ogongo's blog

Regularisation: Many illegal immigrants left out

Income requirement prevented many employers from regularising their workers

The Government’s measure to regularise illegal immigrants doing domestic work in Italy was supposed to help many finally obtain the work permit and live a normal life. Unfortunately it didn’t prove useful to most of the illegal immigrants who could not use it to legalise their stay.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:20

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Let's stop this cruel practice against girls

Much has been said and continue to be said about Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This is a practice which includes the removal or the alteration of the female genitalia. In simple words, it is the removal of a young girl’s clitoris and often all external genitalia. That sounds horrible, but that’s exactly what happens. The practice is widespread in Africa and the Middle East.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:24

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Seek reliable help in applying for regularisation

From today, employers can submit applications to regularise illegal immigrants doing domestic work in Italy.

There are only 30 days for doing so. All applications must be submitted by 30th September 2009.

If you are an illegal immigrant doing domestic work, please make use of this golden opportunity to regularise your status.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:22

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All illegal immigrants with jobs can potentially be regularised

Is this a thinly veiled amnesty for all illegal immigrants in Italy?

Italian Government has decided to grant amnesty to a specific category of illegal immigrants: domestic workers. Theoretically, all other illegal immigrants working in other sectors will not be regularised.

While it is difficult to understand why the Government has decided to regularise only domestic workers, the first good news is that this measure will allow most illegal immigrants in the country to be regularised. This is because domestic work is the sector with the highest number of illegal immigrants. In fact each time the Government publishes the Quota Agreement (Decreto flussi) which is the document indicating the highest number of non-European Union foreigners who can come to work in the country, most quotas are allocated to domestic workers.

The second good news is that there is no limit to the number of illegal domestic workers to be regularised. This is where I’m tempted to think that this measure, which is made to appear as partial amnesty, is actually a thinly veiled amnesty for all illegal immigrants in Italy with jobs. 

I’m actually tempted to think that the hidden message behind this is measure is: “Are you an illegal immigrant in Italy with a job? Do you want to be regularised? Find someone ready to declare you are his/her domestic worker and you’ll be regularised.” I may be wrong.

The current centre-right Government has been strongly against any form of amnesty for illegal immigrants. Lega Nord Party, one of the parties forming part of the coalition Government, has been pushing successfully for tough immigration rules. In fact this is one of the reasons why the party insisted on having one of their own, Mr. Roberto Maroni, as the Home Affairs Minister, the ministry in charge of immigration department.

Mr. Maroni and many top Government officials have said uncountable times that there will no amnesty for illegal immigrants. It would therefore be seen as a contradiction for this Government to openly admit that they are granting amnesty to illegal immigrants.

It should, however, not be forgotten that the last time amnesty was granted to illegal immigrants in Italy (in 2002), it was done by a centre-right Government.

Leaving aside anti-immigration slogans, politicians, including those of the Lega Nord are fully aware of the important role immigrants, including the illegals, play in this society. They are also fully aware of the millions of Euros the State loses by denying illegal immigrants a chance of regularising their status.

Financially speaking, the State stands to gain from regularisation of illegal immigrants. Assuming that only 300,000 people will be regularised, the National Social Security Institute (Istituto nazionale per la previdenza sociale, INPS) will earn at least 150 million Euros from this operation. Each month, it will be receiving more than 45 million Euros through social security contributions. The State coffers will also receive about 400 million Euros per year.

Please note that the above figures are only applicable if they’ll regularise only 300,000 illegal immigrants. But I suspect the number will be double if not triple.

Surely the Government had to find a way of solving the problem of illegal immigrants. I said in December 2008 that they would not continue ignoring this problem.

It is in fact a courageous act for this Government to regularise domestic workers. It is understandable if their pride can not allow them to openly say that they are granting amnesty to all illegal immigrants.

But one doesn’t have to be a genius to understand that under this measure, technically speaking, all illegal immigrants with jobs (even those not doing domestic work) can potentially be regularised.

The measure states that only housekeepers and caregivers who by 30th June 2009, had been working for their employer for at least three months can be regularised. The employer will have to declare under his/her responsibility, the date the worker began working for him/her. No special evidence is required to prove this, so the employer’s declaration is sufficient.

Put this way, it means that illegal immigrants who want to be regularised have to find someone ready to hire them as domestic workers. But once regularised, they don’t have to continue working as domestic workers. They can move to other sectors.

Aware of the immense suffering and fear under which illegal immigrants live, and the sacrifices they constantly make to try to legalise their status, I doubt if any illegal immigrant in Italy will let go this opportunity of being regularised simply because he/she is not a domestic worker.

Without doubt many will do everything possible to find someone to declare that they are doing domestic work for them. They may have to opt for a small lie (which is actually an offence), but since this is the only of regularising their status, how many will let it go because they are not domestic workers?

The Government has made it clear that they will regularise all domestic workers who meet the requirements. Since there is no limit on the number of people who can be regularised, it means that if for instance, a million applications are submitted and all of them meet the requirements, they’ll all be regularised.


By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 09:40

Amnesty for illegal immigrants in Italy? Not yet!

8th July 2009: Some rumours have been going round that the Government has approved amnesty for illegal immigrants in Italy. We would like to make it clear that so far, no amnesty has been approved.

Illegal immigrants should therefore, not be cheated into going to the post office to collect kits for applying for the Permit of Stay. Those who do this will simply be reporting their illegal status to the authorities.

Illegal immigrants should also not listen to those who may try to ask them for money in order to help them regularise their status. We’ve received reports of unscrupulous people who go around soliciting money from illegal immigrants, cheating them that they’ll help them regularise their status.

Any money paid to such people is money wasted.

Currently there is a debate going on about granting amnesty to illegal immigrants in the country, especially to those with jobs.

Some MPs belonging to the ruling coalition have given their support to the proposal by Undersecretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Carlo Giovanardi to regularise domestic workers without papers. The proposal has also been supported by Mr. Maurizio Gasparri, House whip of the People of Freedom Party, the Catholic Church and many most opposition MPs.

Lega Nord is the only party in the ruling coalition to strongly oppose the idea. Home Affairs Minister Roberto Maroni, who belongs to the party, has in fact said he is against granting amnesty to illegal immigrants in the country.

But Mr. Gasparri has proposed the publication of a new Quota Agreement (Decreto flussi) to regularise illegal immigrants working as domestic workers in the country. He said this should be applicable to those already in the country with regular jobs, and employers ready to pay fair salaries and social security contributions.

The Quota Agreement system could be used to regularise those already here to avoid exploitation, Mr. Gasparri said. He added that this could be done without giving a general amnesty to all illegal immigrants. Mr. Gasparri holds that it is right to examine in a serene manner, cases of those with jobs in families.

Mr. Gasparri’s idea of a new Quota Agreement specifically for domestic workers is a good idea if those who succeed to obtain the quota are not forced to travel back to their home countries in order to apply for the work visa before returning to Italy.

Once they obtain the authorisation to work, these illegal immigrants already in the country with jobs should be given the Permit of Stay right away.

The Government should also introduce a new rule making it impossible to deport or expel illegal domestic workers who have applied for the authorisation to work and are still waiting for the outcome of their applications.

By Stephen Ogongo

 

 

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Last Updated on Friday, 05 February 2010 08:12