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Italy to legalise 200,000 migrants to tackle labour shortage

Migrants arrive at Naples harbour in Italy on October 23, 2016 [Alessio Paduano / Anadolu]
Migrants arrive at Naples harbour in Italy on October 23, 2016 [Alessio Paduano/Anadolu]

Faced with a shortage of manpower as a result of the closure of its borders, Italy is looking to legalise the status of 200,000 migrants who live in the country illegally.

The agricultural sector is particularly badly affected by a shortage of labour after 300,000 seasonal workers were stranded outside the country, the majority were due to arrive from Eastern Europe.

Organisations that represent the sector had already called on the government to legalise the position of migrants who already work in the field illegally.

READ: Two toddlers among 73 migrants plucked from drifting dinghy off Libya

This proposal, supported by the ministers of the interior, labour and agriculture, will soon be adopted in order to allow illegal immigrants to obtain labour contracts in the agricultural sector.

Italy is the second-largest producer of fruits and vegetables in Europe, with sales of over €13 billion ($14.1 billion).

Officials had warned that 40 per cent of the production would not be harvested this year, calling for seasonal workers to be brought in to help.

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