Informations and abstract
Keywords: Regularization, irregular immigrants, asylum seekers, pandemic, health protection.
This note focuses on the regularization of immigrant workers recently approved within the framework of the Decreto Rilancio (Decree Law no. 34/2020) as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. A heated debate within the Italian government has preceded the final approval of the decree. Even if this measure represents an encouraging step change after years of restrictive immigration policies, its concrete provisions sound timid and short-lived. Notably, while the main declared objective of the Decree is to protect individual and collective health, it actually excludes many potential applicants. Eligibility is indeed strictly conditional to the possession of a job in three labour market sectors only, i.e., agriculture, care and domestic work. Only around 200.000 people will be regularized, out of an esteem of 600.000 irregular immigrants currently living in Italy. This article highlights and analyses the limits as well as the paradoxical effects of the provision. It also points out the positive innovation of a newly-introduced residence permit for job search, although its potential is severely limited by the conditions imposed on its applicability.