Italy has decided to grant work visas to Pakistanis for the current fiscal year after a lag of two years, an envoy said on Thursday, giving an opportunity to the country to further increase remittances.
The Italian government has allowed Pakistani nationals to avail seasonal and non-seasonal work visas for the year 2020/21, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Italy Jauhar Saleem said in a statement.
Pakistani workers in construction, agriculture, tourism, and freight forwarding sectors can avail of this opportunity.
Italy reopened seasonal work visas for Pakistan in line with its annual schedule of work visas called Decreto-Flussi.
At least 10 million Pakistanis are currently working abroad, sending remittance to the country as a great support to external account.
Remittances flowing into Pakistan jumped 6% to an all-time high of $23.1 billion last fiscal year, more than total exports of goods and services.
Italy hosts the largest Pakistani diaspora in the European Union following Brexit, which has sent over $142 million in remittances in 2019/20.
Over 30,000 work visas would be issued by the Italian government to the nationals from a few non-EU countries, including Pakistan, which has been included in the category of visas after the lag of two years.
Jauhar Saleem said – the Pakistani community in Italy has been demanding Pakistan’s re-inclusion in the list of countries eligible for seasonal works visas, ever since the facility was withdrawn two years ago.
The demand for Pakistani workers in the Italian market is on the rise consistently, especially in the agricultural sector.
It is expected that under the current scheme hundreds of Pakistani workers would obtain gainful employment in Italy.
Earlier, the Pakistani Embassy also facilitated thousands of undocumented Pakistani workers in Italy to seek legal status through a scheme launched by the Italian Government in June 2020 to regularise the undocumented foreign workers.
More than 18,000 Pakistanis applied for regularisation under the scheme. Despite the second wave of ongoing coronavirus, which has seen a record number of fresh cases in recent days, the Pakistan Embassy has kept its consular section, both in Milan and Rome, fully functional so as to facilitate the community is benefiting from the growing employment opportunities in Italy.
Pakistan is seeing a negative impact on remittances from the Middle East, the U.S., and Europe in FY2020 as most Pakistanis lost jobs and faced cuts in wages, especially in the Gulf countries, while some laborers have returned to the country amid lockdown.