Italy hosts the largest population of overseas Filipino workers in Western Europe, according to Department of Foreign Affairs statistics. The Italian Ministry of Interior reports that there are 155,945 registered or documented Filipinos with valid permits to stay and work in the country. An estimated 10 percent of the Filipinos are undocumented, according to the Italian National Institute of Statistics. Batangas province is reputedly the biggest source of Filipino OFWs going to Italy. The barangay Ayao-Iyao in Lemery is said to have sent 40 percent of its total 500 households.
Filipinos were among the first immigrant groups to work in Italy, starting in the early 1970s. They constitute the sixth largest foreign community after the Romanians, Albanians, Moroccans, Chinese and Ukrainians. Most Filipinos are concentrated in major cities like Milan, Rome, Bologna, Florence and Turin. Some 20.4 percent are found in other municipalities.
They are mainly employed as domestic helpers or family caregivers. Others have found work in shops, factories and in various services. Given the employment opportunities available, Filipino women outnumber Filipino males–75, 926 vs. 49,903–with valid work permits. The rest are their dependents–15, 565 males to 14, 551 females. Italy is the fourth largest source of remittances to the Philippines. In per capita remittances, Filipinos rank second only to Chinese immigrants.
The Italian economy is industrialized and diversified. It is dominated by the manufacture of high-quality consumer goods produced by small and medium-size enterprises, many of them family owned. Italy also has a sizable underground, untaxed economy, which by some estimates accounts for as much as 17 percent of the gross national product.
However, Italy is divided into a developed industrial north, dominated by private companies, and a less developed, welfare-dependent, agricultural south, with high unemployment. Italy is the third-largest economy in the euro-zone, but it is saddled with high public debt and has imposed austerity measures. Its decreasing native labor force, aging population and low fertility rate add to its burdens.
Immigrants have become an important force in the economy. Two million Immigrants now contribute about 11 percent of the Italian gross domestic product and pay taxes amounting to about €33 billion. The 3.5 percent of the companies that migrants own and operate pay some €7.5 billion of the country’s social security (Caritas Migrantes 2010 — Dossier Sull’ Immigrazione).
The government, aware of Italy’s need for migrant labor to work on farms and in factories and fill other work that many native Italians are reluctant to do, has instituted several amnesty programs to regularize the stay of undocumented workers. It also has a family reunification program that allows immigrant parents to send for their children up to the age of 18 years. In 2008 up to 16 percent of Filipinos came to the country to join their families compared with almost 79 percent who came for employment (Colombo and Martini, 2010). The rise in the Filipino birth rate in Italy is contributing to the growing Filipino population. Some 1,598 Filipino babies were born in 2008 alone.
Although not immune to discrimination and abuse, Filipinos do not suffer as much as trafficked immigrants. Employers value them for their familiarity with English and their work ethic. They are also credited with revitalizing parishes that have suffered from the loss of native congregants.
But culture, language and race hinders their full assimilation into Italian society. Filipino children and youth brought to Italy tend to suffer the most. Emotional and identity issues confront them, and they can be vulnerable to risky behavior. Italian-born Filipinos have fewer problems integrating. They become in many ways, as Italian as any native Italian children, taking on many of their values, culture and habits. This can cause considerable conflicts with Filipino parents who consider Italian children and youth as too disrespectful to parents.
There are now nearly 70 Filipino community organizations all over Italy. Most are church based and often have close links with priests and chaplaincies that minister to their religious and counseling needs.
EMBASSY OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES
(With concurrent jurisdiction over ALBANIA and SAN MARINO)
PHILIPPINE PERMANENT REPRESENTATION TO INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS BASED IN ROME, ITALY
Viale delle Medaglie D’Oro 112-114
00136 Rome, Italy
Tel No. (+39)06-39746621 / Fax No. (+39) 06-39740872
Duty Officer: (+39) 328-6907613
The Embassy is open, except during Philippine and Italian holidays*, as follows: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday–8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Thursday–8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
*Please check holiday listing link for more details.
APPLICANTS AND VISITORS ARE REQUESTED TO COME TO THE EMBASSY APPROPRIATELY ATTIRED
PHILIPPINE OVERSEAS LABOR OFFICE
Office of the Labor Attaché - (+39) 06 39746101
Office of the Welfare Officer - (+39) 06 39751751
SSS Representative - (+39) 06 39721505
PAG-IBIG Representative - (+39) 06 39740853
Tel. No. (+39) 06-39746621 EXT. 226
PHILIPPINE CONSULATE GENERAL MILAN, ITALY
Via Stromboli No. 1 20144 Milan
Tel. No. +39 02-43980383
Fax No. +39 02-43911229
PHILIPPINE HONORARY CONSULATE
(Consular Jurisdictions: Tuscany, Umbria, Marche and Emilia Romagna)
Via Cosimo Ridolfi n.2
Tel. (+39) 055-4628848
Fax (+39) 055-4624864
The Philippine Honorary Consulate in Florence is open Mondays/Thursdays from 10.00-12.30 a.m. and 2.30-5.00 p.m., Tuesdays/Wednesdays/Fridays from 10.00-12.30 a.m., except during Philippine and Italian holidays.
PHILIPPINE HONORARY CONSULATE
(Consular Jurisdictions: Reggio Calabria, Cosenza, Catanzaro, Vibo Valenzia, Crotone and Messina)
Via Galileo Galilei, 7 (Ground Floor)
89129 Reggio Calabria
Tel. (+39) 0965-28327
Fax (+39) 0965-893611
The Philippine Honorary Consulate in Reggio Calabria is open Mondays to Fridays from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., except during Philippine and Italian holidays.
VIRGILIO A. REYES, JR.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary
Permanent Representative to the UN Agencies in Rome
GRACE T. CRUZ-FABELLA
First Secretary and Consul General (Bilateral & Political)
LEILA C. LORA-SANTOS
First Secretary and Consul (Multilateral & Economic)
JARIE R. OSIAS
Third Secretary and Vice Consul (Administrative)