by JEREMAIAH M. OPINIANO
OFW Journalism Consortium
MANILA—NEWLY-RELEASED data on Italy’s migrant population by that country’s census registry showed that the number of documented Filipinos grew by 8,011 more in 2008.
ISTAT (Istituto nazionale di statistica), Italy’s statistics office, said in its October 8 release that there are 113,686 documented Filipinos living in Italy in 2008. This is compared to the 105,675 number ISTAT estimated in 2007.
This makes Filipinos the sixth largest foreign population group in Italy, behind Romania (796,477), Albania (441,396), Morocco (403,592), China (170,265), and Ukraine (153,998).
Females outnumber males (66,080 versus 47,606), ISTAT data show.
But among the 12 countries of origin that have the most numbers of migrants in Italy, the Filipinos have biggest percentage (79.6% or an estimated 90,267) of migrants living in capital cities, or capoluoghi. Among the renowned capital cities are Milan and the Italian capital of Rome.
Milan, considered Italy’s financial capital, hosted 28,735 Filipinos in ISTAT’s 2008 data, while Filipinos in Rome number to 25,323. Other Italian cities with visible numbers of Filipinos are Bologna (4,068), Firenze (3,668), and Torino (2,713) (see Table 1).
The rest of the Filipinos in Italy (20.4 percent or an estimate of 23,419) live in the country’s altri comuni or other communities.
Italy is the second-biggest destination country of Filipinos in Europe (behind the United Kingdom) if one looks at the Philippine government’s 2007 stock estimates of overseas Filipinos. Covering both documented and irregular or undocumented migrants, data from the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) showed that there are 82,594 temporary migrants, 24,598 permanent migrants, and an estimated 13,000 undocumented migrants in Italy as of 2007.
CFO gets its estimates using data from host countries’ census and immigration registers (such as ISTAT), data that CFO and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA) produce. Likewise, data is also culled from information on Filipinos who registered with the Philippine embassies in consulates –in particular the embassy in Rome and the consulate in Milan.
Italy has 20 regions, or comunes, and Lombardia region (where Milan is) has the biggest Filipino concentration with 40,989 Filipinos. The region of Lazio, where Rome is situated, follows next with 27,819.
Emilia-Romagna region, where the city of Bologna is, has the third biggest regional concentration of Filipinos with 10,593 (4,068 of whom live in Bologna alone) (see Table 2).
But in terms of percentage share to a region’s total migrant population, Filipinos in Lazio region make up 6.2 percent —a far second behind the Romanians with 35.2 percent.
Romanians, by percentage share of migrants in Italy’s different regions, have the biggest share of migrants in 15 of Italy’s 20 regions.
Italy is a renowned destination country for female domestic workers from the Philippines. POEA data reveal that the 2,839 deployed to Italy last year as domestic workers is the sixth largest country group of those deployed overseas as household service or domestic workers.
Meanwhile, 22 caregivers who went to Italy in 2008 were the ninth biggest country group in terms of deployed overseas caregivers.
A 2009 paper by Italian researcher Giuseppi Sciortino wrote that the Philippines, both during the years 2007 and 2008, has the third biggest number of workers required by Italy’s migrant quota system with 5,000. In both years, Italy asks for 8,000 workers from Egypt and 6,500 workers from Moldova.
The Philippines is among 14 countries that the Italian government set quotas for number of workers.
Just recently, the Italian government encouraged irregular or undocumented domestic workers and caregivers to apply for amnesty. During the June to September 30 application period, the Italian government said it has received 180,408 applications representing domestic workers and 114,336 for caregivers. No data by nationality are currently available.
Migration analyst Filomeno Aguilar of the Ateneo de Manila University told the OFW Journalism Consortium he sees this amnesty measure benefiting Filipinos more than other nationals.
POEA data show that deployment of Filipino workers to Italy was up by 22.6 percent in 2008 (22,623 versus 17,855 in 2007, the latter figure the lowest deployment to Italy in the current millennium).
Remittances data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show that Italy is the fifth-biggest source of remittances in 2008 with US$678.539 million (behind the United States, Saudi Arabia, Canada, and the United Kingdom),
The 2008 figure is higher than the US$635.994 million coming from Italy-based Filipinos in 2007.
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