This important topic was discussed in Rome, the 8 last October during the meeting promoted by the Association of the Albanian Community in Italy "BESA" with the sponsorship of the President of the Capitoline Assembly of Rome Capital, Hon. Mirko Coratti.
We publish the report by Shqiponja Dosti, an Economist, an expert in migration and development, who gave a presentation at the recent Rome conference. This is a topic of particular interest on the subject of social security.
Albanian workers in Italy, foresight for their future
Shqiponja Dosti, Economist, expert in migration and development
The Albanian migration to Italy takes on significant dimensions: In the 1980 there were only 514, in the 1990 with the first exodus counted 2034, and at the end of the 2013 the Albanians are 502.546 to be classified as the 2 ° community from non-EU countries.
The driving factors are:
- socio-political transformations in progress: socio-economic reasons
- attractions: the historical and cultural ties between Italy and Albania
- geographical: proximity
The Albanian community in Italy is consolidated is stable:
- the significant increase in the share of long-term residents
- the share of family reunions
- the incidence of second generations
- increasing number of acquisition of Italian citizenship
- feeling part of European integration
The main socio-demographic characteristics
- The gender composition of the community is balanced (men: 53%; women 47%)
- The prevailing age class is that of minors which represents the 27,5% of presences
- The 18-29 class years that reaches the 23%.
- The first three settlement regions are: Lombardy (21%), Emilia Romagna (13%) and Tuscany (14%).
- Most Albanian presences in Italy are linked to family reasons: 58,9%,
- Residence permits for work represent the 35,6%.
- The Albanian community in Italy is characterized by the high percentage of holders of EC residence permits for long-term residents, equal to 66% of the total
- The students of Albanian origin in the 2011 / 2012 school year are 102.719 and occupy the first place in the ranking of non-EU nationalities by number of students included in the Italian school circuit.
- 493 Albanians have become Italian citizens in the 2012 and about 15.000 in the 2013
Here we want to discuss the link between Albanian workers and International Conventions on social security:
What are International Conventions on social security:
they are a form of protection for the emigrant citizen, aimed at assuring the emigrant workers the same social security benefits provided by the legislation of the foreign country for their own citizens.
In fact, international agreements guarantee migrant workers the same protection provided by individual national legislation for those who have always worked in the same state.
What are the fundamental principles of each agreement:
- equal treatment: each State reserves to the citizens of the other Contracting State the same treatment, in terms of obligations and rights, reserved to its own citizens;
- application of the law in force in the place where work is carried out, naturally to this principle of applicable legislation, there are some exceptions to avoid double contributions (postings);
- totalization: rules are laid down for the accumulation of insurance periods carried out in the Contracting States for the right to benefits.
Currently the bilateral social security agreements (to date) between Italy and other countries are:
Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada-Quebec, Cape Verde, Croatia, other states born of the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, Jersey and the Channel Islands, Israel (only double contribution agreement), Principality of Monaco, Republic of Korea (only agreement against the double contribution) Republic of San Marino, Holy See, United States of America, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela
What do they expect:
- equal treatment,
- the uniqueness of the applicable legislation,
- the aggregation of insurance periods in order to achieve the requirements for the right to benefit,
- exportability of services.
Because our Albanian community considers it appropriate to ask and lobby to push both governments (Italy-Albania) to reach a bilateral agreement but also a multilateral one if possible.
It is clear that at the base of the stipulation of the conventions there must be the awareness that we are talking about people, rights, dignity, models of society but, given that governments reason in purely economic terms to have some more elements available .
In the Italian public debate the "costs of immigration" are often evoked, especially in terms of access to school and housing services, but the contribution of immigrants to public finances, both on the social security and on the direct and indirect taxes side, is still scarce awareness. Some data from the IV report on workers of immigrant origin in the INPS archives  :
As in the other Mediterranean European countries the activity rate of foreigners is high: equal to 72,7% in 2009, 11 percentage points higher than that referred to the Italian population, even if the gap is lower for the female activity rate.
The contribution and tax revenue of immigrants. An estimate
An estimate from which to start is precisely that of the number of foreign workers employed, which can be considered around two million in the 2008, an intermediate figure between that found through the Istat sample survey (which is probably underestimated, because it only considers the foreign residents, while it is also possible to work with only the residence permit and does not take into account seasonal workers), and archival data from INPS and Inail sources that include all those born abroad for whom at least one work relationship is , but not necessarily for fifty-two weeks, that is for the whole year.
Considering a distribution of these workers in the main contributory categories of reference (autonomous, dependent, parasubordinate) similar to that expressed by the results of the INPS2 archives and taking into consideration the contributions paid by the worker and those paid by the company and the three different contribution rates, the economic amount generated by immigrants is: of 6,5 billions of euro among employees (contribution rate of 33% divided between the 9,19% payable by the worker, equal to almost 2 billions of euro and the rest to be paid by the employers, equal to 4,5 billion), about 744 million euros for the self-employed (contribution rate of 20%) and 201 million for the quasi-subordinate (in the 2008 the contribution rate was 24,7%, of which a third was paid by the worker ) for a total of approximately 7,5 billion, of which over 2,8 billion came directly from the workers.
This figure represents almost the 4% of all social security contributions paid in Italy in the 2008, but in the northern regions we are around 5%.
Even on the income data, estimates can be made that slightly reduce the values expressed by the INPS and by the Revenue Agency, influenced by the foreign-born component. It seems realistic to consider an average annual income of around 12.000 gross euros for foreign employees, around 15.000 euros for self-employed workers and around 10.000 euros for parasubordinated workers. They are lower than one third of the average income of Italian workers, mainly due to the number of temporary and part-time contracts in sectors such as agriculture and care work.
At the national level, an average rate of 10% can be estimated (obviously higher in the northern regions) with an income tax revenue of around 1 billion and 795 million for employees, 327 million for the self-employed and 201 for parasubordinates, for a total of 2 billion 323 million euros.
Annual expenses for renewals of residence permits amount to approximately 100 million
and applications for Italian citizenship.
As for consumption, it is possible to identify an average rate of 6,15% relative to the lowest decile of income (equal to 82% of the average rate of 7,5%) and it is estimated that the income earned is almost entirely consumed, except that for 10%, in favor of remittances to countries of origin; in this way a value of one billion euros of VAT is obtained as consumption taxes (except for the portion committed in mortgages), thus bringing the total total revenue to almost 3,5 billion, which is however partial as it does not take into account other taxes such as mineral oils and lotteries, for which reliable data are missing.
The contribution of taxes and contributions of immigrant workers begins to take on significant dimensions, precisely because of their growing presence among those employed in the national labor market.
The overall figure for the contribution and tax revenue of immigrants in the 2008 is close to 11 billion, of which over 6 billion comes directly from the payroll of workers (excluding the contributions paid by the companies in which they are employed).
Although these are estimation data, useful for assessing the maximum impact of the migrants on the contribution and tax levels rather than the specific detail of this contribution, these are values of absolute importance.
Compare the costs and benefits of migration
In many European countries, particularly those of Anglo-Saxon culture, there are estimates and analyzes of the costs and benefits linked to the immigrant presence from a financial point of view:
how much these workers pay in terms of taxes and contributions and how much they receive in services.
In truth they are rather complex calculations conducted with different methodologies that rarely led to convergent results. On average, it can be said that the majority of the analyzes seem to testify a positive contribution of migrants to general taxation or in any case a "zero tax effect"
They can be taken into consideration six main sectors of welfare spending and security that absorb almost the entire amount of expenses incurred for foreign users.
By far the most important sector of Italian welfare is that of the Health that in the very modest percentage around 2,2% of the total (to which one can add an 0,3% for irregular holders of STP "foreigners temporarily present") mainly due to their young age. Translated into euros, these percentages would however mean 2,4 and 0,4 billion.
The second most important sector is that of school which costs (2008) 44 billion; we have the data of foreign students (6,5% of the total) and therefore we get a value of 2,8 billion euros.
As regards the municipal social services, the data of some northern municipalities seem to attest a percentage of foreign users similar to that of foreign residents: on the 6,5 billions of social expenditure of municipalities, foreign users (essentially minors and adults) can be charged about 450 million euros
The fourth sector is that of casa concerning the presence in public housing of housing and the contributions of the social fund for the rent; considering a foreign presence slightly higher than the number of residents in the approximately 630.000 housing of public housing (and calculating the difference with the prices of market rents) and a larger share of the social fund for the rent, a value of approximately is obtained 200 million for both, for a total of 400 million.
The fifth sector is that of justice (courts and prisons) which in the 2008 cost the State about 7,5 billion; here the incidence of foreigners can be deduced from the number of convicts and prisoners - around 25% of the total. We thus obtain a value slightly lower than 2 billion.
The sixth sector is that of the interior (2008 total expenditure: 10,8 billion) where immigrant expenses are concentrated in identification and expulsion centers, in centers for asylum seekers and in policies related to public order, with a total expenditure slightly higher than the 500 million year. Moreover, the expenses incurred by the Ministries of Justice and the Interior concern not only foreign nationals, but, to a large extent, even illegal immigrants.
Finally, as sectors of monetary transfer, it is necessary to consider about 400 million for family allowances and about 600 million for pension benefits (with the exclusion of Italians born abroad, who represent the majority in the data collected by the INPS)
The total cost for foreign users of welfare services, at standard cost, amounts to approximately 10 billion, which should be compared with the approximately 11 billion obtained in the same year by the state (7,5 billions of social security contributions and 3,5 billions in tax revenue).
The perception that immigrants represent a burden on public accounts is therefore not supported by the data.
Moreover, the overall tax impact is rather modest and could be summarized in this way: foreigners in the 2008 represent the 7,5% of the employed in the country, with net salaries on average around the 900 / 1000 monthly euros and an average age of about 15 years lower than that of the Italians 7, constitute about 1% of tax revenue overall, public spending in the welfare sectors has risen by around 1%, providing almost 4% of social security contributions, receiving a minimum amount of pension treatment for now.
Data on the Albanian community in terms of costs / benefits
Regarding the employment status of the Albanian community :
- The 50% of the Albanian population (of 15 years and over) is occupied, a lower value of 7,6 percentage points than that registered for non-EU citizens
- The industrial sector absorbs over half of the workers belonging to the community: the 20% of Albanian employed are employed in the Industry in the strict sense, while one in three (32%) works in Construction (the latter, which distinguishes the community under exam).
- Half of the Albanian-born employees (50%) receive a monthly income higher than the 1.000 euros. The income class among the 1.001 and the 1.250 euro is predominant, in which the 27,6% of the employed belonging to the community falls.
- In 2012, Albanian workers with an employment relationship are more than 196mila; the majority (129 thousand) signed a permanent contract, while over 41 thousand are employed for a fixed term.
- An artisan on 4 (33 thousand), among non-EU citizens, is an Albanian citizen. On the other hand, there are around 30 thousand individual company owners belonging to the community, 10% of the total of non-EU entrepreneurs.
- at least 50% of the Albanian community is employed, therefore equal to 11,8% of taxpayers born abroad who pay social security contributions and pay direct and indirect taxes in Italy.
As for the welfare system, the Albanian community:
- During the 2011 the beneficiaries of extraordinary salary integration treatments of Albanian citizenship were 6.207, the 15% of the total beneficiaries of non-EU origin.
- The beneficiaries of the mobility allowance with Albanian citizenship in the 2011 were 1.921, mostly men (1.400). The impact on the total of non-EU beneficiaries is 14,6%.
- Also for the year 2011, within the Albanian community the number of beneficiaries of ordinary non-agricultural unemployment is equal to 20.895 units, 14,2% of the total of non-EU countries.
- The beneficiaries of agricultural unemployment benefits with Albanian citizenship are 11.205 (7.545 men and 3.660 women), equal to 20,3% of total non-EU citizens.
- For the year 2011, the beneficiaries of unemployment benefits with reduced requirements with Albanian citizenship, were 8.149, equal to 15,3% of total non-EU citizens.
- In the 2012 the IVS pensions provided by the INPS to citizens belonging to the Albanian community are 2.220 (7,4%)
- The number of beneficiaries of maternity benefits belonging to the Albanian community, in 2012, is equal to 4.880 (15%)
- In 2012, the number of beneficiaries of parental leave with Albanian citizenship (2.275%) is equal to 15,2
- In 2012 the number of Albanian citizens who have benefited from family allowances is 60.314 equal to (18,9%)
In my opinion, the common goal that we should set ourselves in the substantive discussions with respect to the new social security conventions is that of widening the variables to be considered in the feasibility analyzes (costs / benefits for the States) that the public administrations and the polita will be able to make use in the parliament and in the government.
For Italy, as our Minister of Labor and Youth has said, it is an opportunity to make its choice to arrive at the convention of which we are very much debating even before Albania enters the European Economic Community in which by force the rights of the citizens of member states will be respected.
 IV report on workers of immigrant origin in the INPS archives
 Ministry of Labour and Social Policy
The Albanian Community in Italy
Annual report on the presence of immigrants - 2013
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