Country profile:

For a couple of decades across the turn of the century, Italy has been one of the most important destinations of labour migration in Europe. Since then, a series of crisis (Great Recession, ‘Arab spring’, COVID-19, war in Ukraine) deeply transformed the country’s migration profile, with an overall reduction in inflows, a shift in composition (growing humanitarian component) and an overall deterioration of socio-economic conditions of established immigrants. Although immigrants’ activity rate, long among the highest in the EU, has decreased significantly, migrant labour maintains a crucial role in sustaining entire sectors of the economy. This is particularly true for the broader food sector. DignityFIRM’s fieldwork in Italy will concentrate on irregular migrant work in agriculture and platform-based food delivery. The first sector is one where migrant presence has a long history, with a variety of territorial models of labour market integration and a pattern of substitution of internal migration with international migration, first from Eastern Europe and North Africa, then increasingly from Western Africa. In food delivery, instead, international migrants have been a key component of the workforce since digital platforms took over. In both sectors, irregularity is frequent, not only in terms of migration status, but also of labour conditions (undeclared work, extreme exploitation).

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