My eldest daughter, twenty-five, who since more than a year lives and works in Peru, regularly asks me to send parcels with parmesan and pecorino cheese, coffee, gianduiotti chocolates and nougat; in short, something typical to be consumed with other compatriots whom she met there. The Italian community in Peru is pretty sizeable: more than 30 thousand people, mostly in the capital Lima, but also elsewhere; the NGOs with whom my daughter works, for example, is based in Tauca, in the Andes, 3600 metres above sea level.
I never imagined that so many Italians lived there: we tend to think of our emigrants in Argentina, in the United States, in Germany and elsewhere in Europe…
According to the latest survey publicized by AIRE (Register of Italians living abroad), with data updated to June 2013, Italians expatriates were little more than 4 million 400 thousand, divided as follows: 16.0% in Argentina, 14.9% in Germany, 12.8% in Switzerland, 8.5% in France, 7.3% in Brazil, 5.8% in Belgium, 5.1% in the US, 4.9% in Britain, 3.1% in Canada and 3.0% in Australia, just to mention the top ten countries in the ranking.
The Italian emigration photos in 2015 according to data of the tenth Report Italians in the world, curated by the Fondazione Migrantes, however, tells a different, more enlarged story: abroad there are around 5 million Italians (with a growth of +49, 3% in 10 years), and the percentage of origin from the southern regions are still prevalent, but are declining in favour of the northern regions: Lombardy and Veneto are the ones that have recently increased the number of expats most relevantly.
Even if Italian citizens who spend more than 12 months out Italy would be required to move their residence in the new country in which they stay, enrolling therefore in AIRE, in fact there are many people to violate this obligation, not to lose the right to receive healthcare in Italy and health insurance paid by the Italian State abroad.
In 2015, more than 100,000 compatriots have left Italy, hoping to find a job abroad. The motivation is almost always the same, especially for young people. On December1st, 2016, Il Sole 24 Ore titled: “Youth unemployment falls to 36.4%, the lowest level since 2012″. There is little to rejoice. If more than one out of three under 25 has no hope of employment in short to medium term, the situation is obviously difficult and it is the most enterprising youth (fluent in speaking foreign languages, academically prepared, flexible in adapting to different contexts) to put suitcase and passport into use. The chronicles of terrorist incidents in recent years have brought attention to the stories of two girls: Valeria Solesin, slaughtered by the spray of bullets by the killers of the Bataclan in Paris, and Fabrizia Di Lorenzo, who was killed by the truck launched into the crowd of the Christmas market in Berlin. Researcher the first, employed in a large transport company the second. Too bad that people focus on these “children of Erasmus”, which are many, almost exclusively in these cases.
And not only young people leave. The Italians in the world Report mentioned nearly one million people over 65, which means nearly 20% of the total. In many cases, they are pensioners who run away from Italy and decide to live permanently abroad, in a place where the cost of living is lower, where the weather is milder and where the taxes to be paid are not as high as in Italy. Where the retirement pay can result into a better quality of life, in short. Portugal has introduced a bill that provides for “non-habitual residents” (any person who spends at least 183 days within the country) ten years of tax-exemption. Canary Islands also, which are part of Spain, are among the top destinations, and so are Greece, Montenegro, Croatia. For the more adventurous, willing to embark on other continents, Brazil as well as a lower cost of living offers several incentives introduced for over 50 migrants.
This is no xenophilia. “Give us the chance to earn our living and certainly we will be happy to stay. But we cannot continue to subsist between a precarious underpaid employment and another”, an Italian who lives in London said during a TV interview. And even for expat pensioners, the ratio between the pay they receive each month and the cost of living is the nodal point. In short: Italy is wonderful; its economy, much less.