The deal which was struck on the night of Sunday May 11, 2020, after days of bickering and horse trading between the coalition partners is, aimed at regularising immigrants for this summer seasonal work in farms across the country. Those to also benefit from the accord are house helps and caregivers.
In the accord, successful applicants would be issued with the permit of stay for six months upon applications from their employers with track record of previous employment offers. The applicant, the accord notes, must have been in Italy before March 8, 2020. The employer of such applicant is expected to pay the lump sum of €400.
Immigrants excluded from the accord include those who have criminal records such as those who have been convicted for human trafficking, exploitation of prostitution, illegal immigration or trafficking of minors among others.
The strict requirements provided in the accord have not doused opposition, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said after signing the accord that regularising “migrant farm workers thwarts gang masters,” adding that, regularising the workers who pick most of Italy’s summer crops, “combat black labour and protects our health in the (COVID – 19) emergency.”
However, his party leader, Vito Crimi is singing a different tone, noting that regularising the immigrants amounted to an unacceptable amnesty. “Those who have exploited people and drugged the markets by using low-cost black labour and not paying contributions and taxes cannot get off scot free,” Crimi declared.
Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova could hardly fight back her tears on live television for the victory secured for immigrants who have become the pun on the opposition chess board in Italy. The neo-facist opposition Brother of Italy leader Giorgia Meloni responding to Bellanova declared sarcastically, “hundreds, perhaps thousands of Italians in recent weeks have cried in desperation for losing everything or for fear of losing it, waiting for help that has not arrived. Tonight Minister Bellanova was moved for the regularization of immigrants. I’m thrilled.”
Matteo Salvini of the far right Lega Nord joined issues with Meloni by saying, “Minister Bellanova cried for the problems of the poor migrants to be regularised, when one would have expected commitment for suffering Italian citizens in difficulty.”