A human rights perspective on undocumented migrant workers : assessment of legal frameworks and analysis of the Italian case study
Irregular migration has gained increased attention at International, European and national levels. These arenas are characterized by different approaches towards undocumented migrants. While international organizations encourage to adopt a person-centered and human rights-based approach, regional and national institutions are dominated by a “security” perspective which often neglects irregular migrants’ fundamental rights. The aim of this research is to investigate different legal frameworks towards undocumented migrant workers from a critical angle and to examine whether and to what extent their right to work and to just and favourable working conditions are respected, protected and fulfilled. As case study, the Italian legislation is assessed to evaluate its compliance with the International and European human rights standards. The implementation of the national norms is assessed as well in order to shed light on concrete hurdles faced by irregular migrant workers in labour rights enjoyment. Building on the findings, the research outlines possible areas of improvement in view of Italy’s progressive compliance with relevant labour standards at the international and regional level. In order to address irregular migrant workers’ human rights violations, the research assumes that a need for a comprehensive approach which acknowledges the labour dimension of migration exists. Moreover, it suggests to consider putting a firewall system in place and to enable undocumented migrant workers to enter the formal economy in order to address their current irreversible marginalization in the informal economy.