Applications to hire non-EU workers can be made following the announcement of the 2004 quotas for work permits for non-EU immigrants in Italy. This year there will be jobs for 50,000 seasonal workers, plus 29,500 places for permanent employees and the self-employed. In 2003 the quotas were 60,000 for seasonal workers and 19,500 for non-seasonal workers.

In Lazio this year 1,820 non-EU immigrants can be employed and 300 can be hired as seasonal workers. Applications will be processed at the Direzione Provinciale del Lavoro di Roma in Via dei Vestini 13 in S. Lorenzo. Employers need to make an appointment at the office and must take their own passport and a photocopy, and a photocopy of their potential employee's passport. They will be given the relevant paperwork to fill out and another appointment will be made for the completion of the process. For more information tel. 0644871605, www.welfare.gov.it (click on "Ministero", then "Direzioni regionali e provinciali del lavoro" and finally "DPL-Roma").

According to a survey entitled "Immigrants and the Roman economy ", carried out by the city's chamber of commerce and Caritas, the Catholic relief organisation, five per cent of immigrants in Rome manage their own business. In 2002, 13,367 immigrants were registered with the Camera di Commercio as business owners or partners. The Chinese made up the largest number (1,284) and they were involved mainly in the commercial and restaurant sectors, while in second place were Romanian entrepreneurs (983), who were working predominantly in the construction trade. In around two-thirds of cases companies consisted of a single person, but businesses with several employees, particularly in the hotel and commercial sectors, were also registered.

Of the 13,367 immigrants listed as business owners or partners, 45.1 per cent have registered since 2000 and 38.9 per cent registered during the 1990s. Just 3.4 per cent registered before 1980.