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Call us “New Italians”, suggests foreign entrepreneurs in Italy

They want to play an active role in society, by getting the right to vote in local elections.

Tags: Moroccans, Romanians, Chinese, Caritas, IPPR, Unioncamere

21st August 2009: One out of every 37 registered and active companies in Italy is foreign-owned.
Estimates suggest there are 165,000 businesses run by foreign entrepreneurs in Italy. Compared to 2003, the number has tripled. The most active category of entrepreneurs in Italy includes Moroccans, Romanians and Chinese. They represent almost 45 per cent of all foreign entrepreneurs.
The success of the foreign entrepreneurs in Italy has led to the demand of being called "New Italians" and not immigrants. They also want to play an active role in society. To begin with, they want the right to vote in local elections.
Indications are the migrants not only act as entrepreneurs setting up their own businesses, they also provide cheap labour. A business association, Unioncamere, estimates foreign workers produce over nine per cent of gross domestic product.
But so far, indications are that the restrictive immigration policy of Italy’s centre-right government is leading to a reduction in the number of foreign workers. Even as recent studies bring to the fore the positive contribution of the foreign workers to the economy, it is believed the government policies are having the automatic effect of removing the more qualified ones.
This is despite the fact the latest report by the Institute for Public Policy Research suggests grant of incentives like tax breaks, to the highly mobile individuals migrants in the UK, lest they ‘re-migrate’ to countries like China and India.
A report by a Catholic organisation, Caritas/Migrantes, says there are approximately 4 million foreigners legally putting up in Italy. They are projected to represent 18 per cent of the population by 2050. Statistically speaking, one out of 10 workers in Italy is born abroad.

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