ISLAMABAD: Ambassador of Pakistan to Italy Jauhar Saleem on Thursday said that the Italian government has decided to temporarily regularise undocumented Pakistani migrants working as agricultural and domestic helpers in the country.
The ambassador of Pakistan to Italy talking to Pakistani and Italian media said that the Italian government has decided to temporarily regularize all undocumented migrants working in Italy’s agricultural sector or as domestic helpers. The workers will also be allowed for health coverage.
Pakistani undocumented workers residing in Italy are set to be among the main beneficiaries of the scheme.
The ambassador said that the Pakistani embassy in Italy is facilitating Pakistani workers to complete their required documentation so that they can benefit from the scheme. He added that the embassy has stayed functional even during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The ambassador further said that Pakistan has registered a visible growth in the Italian market during FY20 despite Covid-19 propelled lockdowns disrupting the global supply chain.
Italy is currently the eighth largest economy in the world and the third-largest economy in the European Union (EU) with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $2 trillion. The country is home to the largest Pakistani diaspora in the EU and is Pakistan’s ninth-largest export destination.
He said that Italy’s economy has been badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The IMF has projected a 9 to 11 per cent contraction in the Italian economy whereas the Italian Central Bank has projected a 9 to 13 per cent decline in Italy’s GDP this year, he added.
The ambassador stated that in FY19 Pakistan had a trade deficit of $164 million with Italy. However, during FY20, despite Covid-19 Pakistan reported a trade surplus with Italy of $210 million. For FY20, Pakistan’s exports to Italy stood at $731 million while imports from Italy stood at $521 million.
Pakistan’s major exports to Italy include textile, leather, rice and ethanol. Pakistan currently holds a 38 per cent share in the Italian rice market. The ambassador further stressed on the need to promote Pakistani products in the Italian market.
The ambassador further mentioned that Italy’s investment in Pakistan increased to $56.4 million in FY20, compared to $51.9 million in the previous year. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from Italy was primarily aimed at the energy, pharmaceutical, chemical and Information Technology sectors. He further informed that Italy plans to invest in Pakistan’s renewable energy sector.
Jauhar Saleem said that Italy is the largest contributor of home remittances to Pakistan from the EU. Remittances from Italy registered a 29 per cent growth in 2019-20. In total Pakistani workers contributed $142.9 million in home remittances during FY20.