Access to employment is a key factor for migrant integration not only as a means of socio-economic incorporation, but also because it can help a person build relationships, support wellbeing and increase the sense of belonging to the local community. In the Italian context, the employment of migrants is constantly on the rise although only a small proportion are in highly qualified positions. However, there is an increase in migrant entrepreneurship as an alternative pathway. In Italy, migrants’ access to the labour market depends on their legal status and the reasons for their admission. In general, everyone has the opportunity to work including asylum seekers who gain this right just 60 days after a request for international protection. The right to work is overseen by the Ministry of Labour although it is the Regions which have competence in active labour market policies. Employment Centres (CPI), decentralized structures operating on a provincial basis, offer guidance and training services in agreement with the Regional government. Methods and empirical research The research for this brief was carried out through semistructured qualitative interviews with social workers, educators working on local integration projects, and local government officials in the towns of Cosenza, Lamezia Terme and Villa San Giovanni. Other interviews were conducted with mediators/experts from migrant associations, members of humanitarian organisations and representatives of the National Refugee Reception System (SIPROIMI). GLIMER Research argues that there is limited attention on the work being done to integrate refugees and asylum seekers into the labour market in Calabria. For GLIMER Research, a sustained focus by policy makers and employers is needed to address the challenges faced by displaced migrants. Particular attention should be directed to local labour market conditions in suburban areas with a high level of low-skilled and labour-intensive employment. This policy brief note takes into account the structural conditions of the economic situation in Calabria and suggests ways to improve the legal, controlled and facilitated access of refugees to the labour market.

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.5082895