Italy approves amnesty for irregular immigrant workers

Italian government has approved a measure that will enable all irregular immigrant workers in the country to be regularised while their employers will be exempted from sanctions prescribed by the law for hiring illegal workers.

Today the government approved a Legislative Decree that adopts the Directive 2009/52/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2009 providing for minimum standards on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals.

A unique aspect of the government’s Decree is that it introduces a transitory measure that will enable so many undocumented immigrant workers to be regularised while at the same time allowing the State to earn a good amount of money.

Currently, an employer of an irregular immigrant risks arrest and prison sentence ranging from three months to one year, and a fine of 5,000 Euros for each worker hired.
The employer also risks administrative sanctions for failing to pay the social security contributions while the worker risks expulsion.
An employer who has been condemned, even if it’s not a definitive sentence, will most probably be banned from bringing foreign workers to Italy. Furthermore, they’ll be required to pay a fine equivalent to the average cost of repatriating the worker. This money will be used to finance repatriation costs and integration projects.

Under the new Directive, an exploited illegal immigrant who reports the employer will be issued a permit.

It introduces aggravating circumstances for cases of exploitation of undocumented workers. The prescribed sentences are increased by a half in the following cases: if the employer hires more than three undocumented workers; if they are minor children aged under 16 years; and if they are exposed to dangerous working conditions.

Only in the above the cases, if the worker reports the employer, and are ready to cooperate in criminal proceedings against the employer, they can be issued a Permit of Stay for humanitarian reasons.

Such a permit will be valid for six months, and renewable throughout the case. It will be possible to convert it into work permit in case the holder finds another job.

The new measure will be applicable for instance to immigrants working under inhuman conditions in farms.

There are also many domestic workers, construction workers, etc. who are exploited but continue working all the same because they are undocumented.

These workers will also have a chance of being regularised, if they report their cases to the authorities.
While the government was preparing the Directive, Integration Minister Andrea Riccardi suggested giving employers a grace period to regularise their workers before the new Directive enters into force.

In order to regularise their workers, employers will have to pay 1,000 Euros for each worker and pay social security contributions and taxes for at least three months.

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