Italy’s fledgling centre-left government plans to relax the country’s immigration laws. Social policy minister Paolo Ferrero wants to normalise the situation of illegal immigrants who are already working in the country. Temporary residence permits would be granted to thousands of illegal workers, increasing tax revenues, so supporters say, with money previously paid cash-in-hand.
But critics have lambasted the plan as an “Open Border” policy, and claim it could trigger a wave of applications from abroad. Ferrero also outraged the centre-right opposition by saying he wanted to divert resources away from migrant detention centres. The lower house of parliament will vote on Prime Minister Romano Prodi’s mandate later today. The debate is the last procedural hurdle after the centre-left coalition won the country’s election with the narrowest of margins six weeks ago.