Is Italian Agriculture a "Pull Factor" for Irregular Migration—and, If So, Why?

In discussions on irregular migration in Europe, undeclared work is generally viewed as a “pull factor”—positive aspects of a destination-country that attract an individual or group to leave their home—for both employers as well as prospective migrants, and especially in sectors such as agriculture. A closer examination of the agricultural model, however, reveals that structural forces are driving demand for work and incentivizing exploitation. This is particularly evident in Southern Italy, a region famous for its produce, where both civil society organizations and the media have documented exploitation of migrant workers. A closer examination of EU and member states efforts to avoid exploitation is needed.

In Is Italian Agriculture a ‘Pull Factor’ for Irregular Migration—and, If So, Why?, a new study, authors from the Open Society Foundations’ European Policy Institute and the European University Institute look at how Europe's Common Agricultural Policy, the practices of supermarket chains, organized crime, and gang-master recruitment practices contribute to migrant exploitation. The study further recommends a closer examination of EU member state efforts to counter exploitation and offers an overview of private sector practice’s intended to combat exploitation—such as the provision of information on workers’ rights, adequate housing and transport, and EU-wide labeling schemes, among others.