Work is key issue for transients in unemployment-hit Italy

"There is no work in Italy, and that is why these people are often employed illegally.


by Marzia De Giuli

Unfortunately most of them do not have a future here,” said Farid Joomun, a Mauritian who lives in the Sicilian city of Catania.

Joomun arrived in Italy more than 20 years ago and through the years he has changed many jobs.

“I make a living with temporary contracts as a seasonal worker,” he told Xinhua.

“But what I see now is an increasingly difficult situation,” Joomun went on saying.

“Human traffickers bring here these people, who pay thousands of euros for the dream of a brilliant future. But there is no way for them to make a decent living in Italy,” he added.

According to a recent study presented by the Fiori di Acciaio (Steel Magnolias) association, a total of 139,770 migrants from troubled African and Middle Eastern countries have arrived in Italy this year so far, 9 percent less compared to the same period in 2014.

The association said that Sicily island in southern Italy has topped the list of regions hosting the most
migrants in reception facilities, followed by Lombardy and Lazio, respectively in northern and central Italy.

However, most of the migrants who land in Italy are intentioned to move to other European countries, where they can find a job more easily, Fabio Di Naso, a lawyer at the Intercultural Center Casa dei Popoli (Homes of Peoples) in Catania, explained to Xinhua.

In particular the Syrians, he noted, give a clear picture of this scenario, as many of them belong to the
middle class and are just transiting through Italy to seek a better life elsewhere.

“Many migrants get angry with Italy when they realize they have to wait a long time, up to more than one year, to get the residence permit that is necessary for them to find a job,” a cultural mediator and Italian language teacher at the Homes of Peoples, Agata Privitera, told Xinhua.

A young man from Pakistan, Usmanali Bhitt, said he arrived in Italy about 11 months ago.

“I have applied for a residence permit and I am eager to get it. I want to find a job, any job would be fine for me, from construction worker to pizza maker,” he told Xinhua.

“They steal our jobs. There is not enough work for everybody here in Sicily,” a 16-year-old citizen from Catania, Andrea Lanza, told Xinhua.

“I am studying to become a pizza maker, but many migrants work as pizza makers even though they are not good at it, just because they accept lower salaries and unfair work conditions,” he stressed.

Youth unemployment rate in Italy stands at over 40 percent. Following the economic crisis in recent years, many young Italians have had to accept poorly paid or part-time jobs on short-term contracts.

A recent survey by the International Labour Organization (ILO) has found that as many as 99 percent of Italians aged between 15 and 24 are pessimistic about their professional future.

Migrants at reception facilities in Sicily are encouraged to learn a profession, Sebastiano Maccarrone, the
director of Cara di Mineo, considered Europe’s largest center for asylum seekers, an hour away from Catania, explained to Xinhua. Activities at the center include textile, design, cooking workshops, and even sports and music.

“These are our migrants’ first handmade works,” Francesca Gilistro, head of another refugee center in Vizzini, also in southern Sicily, told Xinhua at the entrance of a facility provided with classrooms, workshop tables and a large theater.

Italian police last week arrested 41 people suspected of helping migrants gain illegal entry to Italy. Renowned circus owners were among those who allegedly hired workers with falsified authorizations obtained through the help of corrupt Sicilian officials. Investigators said each migrant paid up to 15,000 euros (about 15,900 U.S. dollars) for entry to Italy.

“The situation is hard for everyone here. The real problem is that there is no work, neither for the migrants nor for the local people,” a migrant from Bangladesh, Elias Hossan, told Xinhua.

“Before coming here years ago, I imagined that I would find a good job and live a comfortable life. Instead now I think that everybody is living in the same poverty,” the Bangladeshi, who works as a pizza maker in Catania, said.

“I am a dishwasher in a restaurant and my father is a street peddler,” his younger friend, Liton Kholifa, said.

“When I went back to visit my mother in Bangladesh some time ago, I realized that my country has undergone
rapid development. I am considering going back home, I am really thinking about it,” he told Xinhua. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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