Temporary permits for migrant farm workers spark political discord in Italy

PM Giuseppe Conte (L), M5S leader Vito Crimi (R).

Regularising migrant farm workers thwarts gangmasters, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte said on Tuesday, cited by ANSA. The government reached a deal on Sunday night to regularise such seasonal workers, as well as migrant home helps and carers, for six months on an application from their employer and with a record of past employment, but the anti-establishment 5-Star Movement (M5S) scotched the accord on Monday, saying it amounted to an unacceptable amnesty.

Conte said regularising the workers who pick most of Italy's summer crops "combats black labour and protects our health in the (coronavirus) emergency", according to a statement from the premier's office.

The two parties in the Conte’s ruling coalition took opposite stance on the issue. While the centre-left Democratic Party is broadly in favour of the move, the M5S leader Vito Crimi said his party is against the regularisation plan, describing it as an amnesty.

Matteo Salvini, the hardline anti-migration former interior minister and leader of the opposition League party, said the plan was shameful. “Unbelievable, instead of helping find young and unemployed Italians jobs, even today someone prefers immigrants, often irregular”.

“Italians first,” he wrote on Facebook.  He also warned the League would "take to the streets" to protest the regularisation.

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