Islamabad: Pakistan on Saturday expressed the hope that the country would soon sign a labour agreement with Italy, which would provide employment opportunities to skilled labour in the potential market.
Documents are being exchanged between the two sides to finalize the labour agreement and positive news is expected soon, Ambassador to Italy, Jauhar Saleem said, while talking to the media through video link from Rome.
Jauhar Saleem said that a draft agreement has been shared with the Italian side in March and negotiations are expected to commence soon.
He said the agreement aims at providing comprehensive market access to Pakistani workers to the Italian labour market.
Replying to a question, he said the embassy’s lobbying also helped in Pakistan being re-included in the Italian Seasonal Work Visa Programme for 2021 and 2022, which would offer diverse opportunities to our workers in agriculture and services sectors. Italy is expected to allow around 70,000 seasonal workers from select countries in 2022 to come to Italy for work, he said.
Pakistani workers under Seasonal Work Visa Programme have started arriving in Italy since March 2022, he said.
Italy has a huge demand for workers in the agriculture sector, hospitality services, construction, logistics, truck drivers and engineers and Information Technology (IT) Professionals.
According to Confindustria, the largest employer association of Italy, there are around 193,000 vacancies available in the industrial sector.
Confindustria is of the view that 45,000 jobs are expected to be available in the technology sector.
An estimated 200,000 Pakistanis are currently residing in Italy, he said. The Ambassador said this number is continuously increasing and in 2020 the embassy facilitated regularization of around 18,000 undocumented Pakistanis workers by legalizing their stay in Italy through an Amnesty Scheme of the government.
Italy, the third largest economy of the EU, has a 25.9 million strong labour force with a labour participation rate of 59%, he said.Its services sector employs 70.4% of the labour force whereas industry and agriculture attract 25.8 and 3.68% of the total labour force, respectively.
He said Italy is facing the issue of an aging population hosting the second largest old population in the world after Japan.
Jouhar said this signifies that Italy would continue to need immigrant workers in several sectors of its economy. In order to utilize this opportunity, the embassy intensively engaged with authorities to explore opportunities of sourcing labour from the Pakistani, he said.
In 2021, the Italian side agreed in principle to negotiate a labour service agreement with Pakistan.
Replying to another question, he said that some of the most in-demand positions include software/app designers and developers, computer equipment designers and telecommunication systems designers.
He said the ongoing pandemic has enhanced demand for IT services. The embassy is promoting sourcing of IT and BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) services from Pakistan and some Italian IT companies have shown keen to invest in Pakistan`s IT sector,