Published on: Friday February 4th, 2022
New opportunities are opening up for young Bangladeshis aspiring to go to work in Europe as two European countries, Italy and Greece, are set to hire workers by this year.
Italy has already opened 69,700 positions for workers from 31 non-European countries, including Bangladesh, in the “seasonal” and “non-seasonal” categories in the sectors of agriculture, road transport, construction and tourism/hospitality for the year 2022.
The country launched on January 27 the receipt of employers’ applications in this regard, which will continue until March 17, according to a circular from the Bangladesh Embassy in Rome.
On the other hand, Greece should very soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh to recruit workers.
Last November, the two countries signed a letter of interest on safe migration to the Mediterranean country.
In January this year, Italy opened up its work visa regime for 2022 as part of its “Decreto Flussi” (loosely translated as “decree on flows”, i.e. an annual quota of number of people who can enter the country from outside the European Economic Area (EEA) to work) with an announcement of the opening date for the submission of Italy 2022 work visa applications for seasonal and non-seasonal workers .
This year, the Italian government has awarded 42,000 work permits to temporary seasonal workers, according to Italy’s Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Of these, 14,000 are for agricultural workers.
Another 27,000 titles are available for “non-seasonal contracts” (employees) and the self-employed, including 20,000 for people employed in the road transport, construction and tourism-hotel sectors.
The validity of seasonal visas will be for a maximum of nine months and that of non-seasonal visas will be for two years with the possibility of extension.
Contacted, Md Arfanul Haque, First Secretary at the Bangladesh Embassy in Rome, said that the recruitment process under the Flows Decree takes place through direct communication between Italian employers and interested workers. The Embassy has no role to play in this regard.
He said, however, that there is no specific quota for any country.
Under the farm worker scheme, migrants mainly work in the field to cultivate vegetables, fruits, crops, etc., he said.
A person working in gardening, agriculture and fishing in Italy usually earns around 2,200 euros per month. Salaries range from a minimum of 920 euros to a maximum of 5,430 euros, he added.
Applications opened on January 27 for the self-employed, employers of non-seasonal workers and those converting an existing residence permit.
Seasonal workers can apply from February 1. The application can only be filed online on the website of the Italian Ministry of Interior.
Around 1.45 lakh documented Bangladeshis are currently working in Italy, according to the Bangladesh Embassy in Rome.
However, the number is around two lakh, when undocumented migrants are included.
Brokers remain a big problem
Italy reopened to agricultural workers in Bangladesh after eight years of closure in 2020.
Under the agricultural worker program, a worker must stay 6 to 9 months in Italy for a season to work on a farm and then must return to their country of origin.
But, many Bangladeshi agricultural workers violated this condition by not returning home after each season, prompting Italy to deprive Bangladesh of this privilege in 2012.
The workers, it is reported, did not return because, in such a short time, they could not earn a sufficient amount of money compared to what they had paid to the intermediaries to obtain the work permit.
Nevertheless, after the Italian government reopened the market on October 12, 2020, around 653 Bangladeshis got jobs in Italy last year, with the country recruiting some 30,000 foreign workers under a flow decree over the past year. of the year, according to the Bureau of Manpower, Employment and Training (BMET).
Abul Bashar, former president of the Bangladesh Association of International Recruitment Agencies (BAIRA), said brokers are still active in attracting aspiring migrants who want to come to Italy under the agricultural worker scheme.
Allegations are rife that they are illegally taking Tk10-12 lakh from every interested person to send them to Italy.
But people should not pay intermediaries for such a migration. They should contact Bangladesh Overseas Employment and Services (BOESL) as private recruiters are not allowed to send workers through the process, he added.
Mohammad Alam Hossain, Deputy Director General (Business Promotion), BOESL, said that in Italy foreign workers are recruited through direct contact between employer and employee.
But they are making efforts to be able to send workers after communicating with the employers.
He said no significant progress had yet been made on issues such as setting service fees.
The Ministry of Expatriate Welfare and Overseas Employment and the Bangladesh Embassy in Italy have undertaken various awareness programs through media advertisements and leaflet distribution so that no one falls into the trap. broker trap.
How workers can go to Italy
The Bangladesh Embassy in Rome has recently issued guidelines for applicants to Italy.
First, an employer in Italy will need to apply from their designated email address for a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the local administrative office (Prefettura) mentioning their names, passport numbers and other relevant information on the person he wants to hire. .
After getting the NOC, they will send it to the aspiring workers.
The aspirants will then have to apply for a visa at the Italian Embassy in Dhaka, joining the NOC there.
Then, a worker, arriving in Italy with a visa, will go to the local administrative office with the employer and sign an employment contract.
At the time of submitting the application in this process, the employer will have to pay 16 euros (not more than 1,600 Tk) for the tax stamp prescribed by the government.
Those who will rely on the helpdesk for submitting the application may have to pay an additional fee of up to 50-100 euros. There is no other cost to submit the application.
The competent authorities will screen the applications and select those that are eligible. Separate NOCs will then be issued to eligible applicants.
Upon receipt of the NOC, aspiring workers must submit a visa application to the Italian Embassy in the respective countries.
Upcoming opening of the Greek labor market
The Greek government amended its foreign worker law in September last year to issue five-year visas to meet the huge demand for migrant workers in agriculture, tourism, garments and other parts of the country.
Thanks to this, employment opportunities have been created for migrant workers.
Bishwagith Paul, First Secretary at the Bangladesh Embassy in Athens, said Greece needed seasonal workers in agriculture as well as in the tourism/hospitality sector.
Around 80,000 Bangladeshis currently live in Greece, according to an unofficial estimate.
Tags: Europe Tourism