Migrant-Owned Businesses are on the Rise in Italy

Cityscape of Florence. Photo: Vladimir Gladkov/Pexels.com

According to data released by the Italian trade organization Unioncamere/InfoCamere, migrant workers’ preferences for where and in what sector they work vary by nationality, writes Infomigrants.

Viterbo, Turin, and Cremona for Romanians, and Prato, Fermo, and Florence for Chinese, have the highest proportion of foreign business owners. The data revealed that the Chinese own 34 percent of all foreign-owned businesses in Italy. Moroccan, Romanian, and Chinese entrepreneurs also have clear sector preferences. This is why some Moroccan business owners are more prevalent in the commerce sector, whereas Romanians prefer the construction sector. Moroccans and Romanians prefer transportation, stocking, and rental, whereas Chinese businesses focus on manufacturing, recreation, and entertainment.

This data was collected by Unioncamere/InfoCamere in collaboration with Futurae, the Ministry of Labor’s Migrant Business Program.

“The contribution and benefit to the Italian economy from foreign business are even more appreciated and necessary given the demography in our country, a problem for which there is no solution in the short-term,” Unioncamere head, Andrea Prete said.

Italian-Moroccan Migrant Labor Agreement

A few days ago, on March 28th, Sicilian and Moroccan labor groups reached an agreement that will allow Moroccan workers to be trained in Morocco for seasonal employment in Sicily. A Memorandum of Understanding will allow Moroccan nationals to receive vocational training and work in Italy.

The agreement was signed by the Sicily Foreign Workers Association, the Human Solidarity Consortium, and the General Union of Moroccan Workers (UGTM). The UGTM of Fez will be in charge of supporting and funding the training in Morocco, as well as student recruitment.

The initiative is open to all companies in Italy that want to participate. Supporters of the agreement hope that it will allow Italian businesses and families to look for and hire trained workers with language skills, thereby combating labor exploitation.
Both sides are pleased with the outcome, according to Paolo Ragusa, regional chairman of the Foreign Workers Association: “We want to offer migrants appropriate alternatives to the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean Sea.” Nuccia Albano, Sicily’s regional councillor for social policies, went on to say, “Those coming from abroad can be integrated more quickly and effectively into enterprises seeking qualified manpower.”

In Italy, More than 10 Percent of Companies are Based Abroad

By the end of 2023, the Chamber of

Commerce’s Registry of Companies had registered approximately 660.000 foreign businesses. That equates to approximately 11 percent of Italian companies.

This figure is up two percent from the previous year and seven percent from 2019.

Between January and December 2023, approximately 64 000 businesses were registered in Italy, while approximately 36 000 were closed, resulting in a positive outcome of approximately 27 000 units.

Other European countries are also taking steps to alleviate their labor shortages. For example, Germany is looking to the Philippines to help fill its growing healthcare worker shortage.

“The EU needs a million migrants per year,” said EU Commissioner Yilva Johansson in January of this year, when she emphasized the importance of regular migration for member states to cope with the continent’s aging population.


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