A time for change?

Access and barriers to regularization in Italy seen from the experiences of irregular migrant and refugee workers

On 19 May 2020 Italy introduced a wide-ranging stimulus package, known as the “Relaunch Decree”, in a bid to repair the economic damage wreaked by the Covid-19 pandemic. The decree’s many measures include enabling those working irregularly in specific economic sectors to apply for temporary regularization. The purported aim was to tackle labour shortages and limit the spread of the coronavirus in the informal settlements that continue to exist as migrants and refugees engage in a highly exploitative labour market.

Between 1 June and 15 August 207,542 people applied to be regularized.2 Only 15 percent of applications related to work in the agricultural sector, and of these almost none were submitted by African workers, despite many Africans being directly involved in the highly exploitative sector. In the light of this, this briefing paper explores access and barriers to applying for regularization under the Relaunch Decree faced by African irregular workers. It is based on interviews with both people who applied and who did not.


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