ROME: Diligent working Filipinos have made Italy a haven for themselves, but not all is well with them, as members of their family are finding it difficult to become a part of this society for various reasons, not the least of which is landing a job, according to a report.
A Filipino diplomat was quoted as saying by Manila Bulletin that many young migrant Filipinos are contributing to this unemployment problem in Italy because they cannot speak the local language.
Philippine Ambassador to Italy Domingo Nolasco reportedly laid down the brewing concerns among the Filipino youth migrating to this European nation but assured that steps are being taken to address the problem, including working with the Italian government on labor issues.
“One of the main problems now is the, with respect to the youth unemployment, we have a very high youth unemployment,” Nolasco was quoted as saying.
As of July this year, there are 171,000 Filipinos legally working in Italy. Most of Filipinos stay in Milan and Rome, the report said.
Around 80 percent of them are in the service sector, and the rest are religious persons, dependents and young people, it added.
To provide livelihood opportunities for the Filipino youth, the ambassador reportedly said they hold two labor-related seminars in cooperation with Filipino organizations in Italy.
The ultimate goal, Nolasco said, is to reach out to the youth and put them under the European Youth Guarantee Program, a government database for matching jobs with the labor market.
“They may have a chance either to get employment or an internship because the youth employment among the communities is very high,” he added.
In the past two years, Nolasco said there has been a huge flow of Filipinos joining their relatives in Italy due its “very liberal integration policy, the family reunification.”
“Many of the entrance now are either children or relatives of those who are residents already here,” he was quoted as saying by Manila Bulletin.
Another problem among the Filipino youth is the inability to speak Italian that dampens their integration or interaction with local society.
“I see that one of the problems is the language barrier. Many of them cannot easily integrate or live here because of the language barrier,” Nolasco reportedly said.
The ambassador was quoted as saying that he has encouraged Filipinos coming to Italy “to at least know the language” to avoid the problem with integration.
Nolasco likewise noticed that younger Filipinos staying in Italy have become detached from Filipino heritage and culture.
“Many of the young Filipinos are not anymore able to speak our language and many of them are not aware of our culture,” Nolasco was quoted as saying by Manila Bulletin.
“So whenever I had a chance to speak with the community or with the groups of kababayan, I always encourage them not to forget to speak with their children in our native language,” he reportedly said.
An embassy-organised weekly program to teach them about the Filipino culture with the help of several Filipino organizations and the putting up of Centro Rizal is among the efforts to address this, it was pointed out.