While protest continues in Rome over the renewal of stay permits for foreigners living in Italy, (see Hungry for rights in "articles") figures have been released by Italy's biggest trade union federation, CGIL, which show that 5 per cent of the companies listed at the Rome Chamber of Commerce belong to foreigners. More than 13,000 immigrants have started their own businesses and foreign workers are responsible for producing 10 per cent of the gross product in the capital city and the province.
Illegal work is still a problem with 35 per cent of all immigrants working undeclared, uninsured and untaxed, according to the CGIL figures.
52 per cent of the foreign workers who are legally employed do domestic work or assist the elderly, the majority of these workers are women and they are the most likely to send money home to their families. In 2002 foreigners living in Rome and the province of Rome sent home 360 million. The money went mostly to the Phillipines, Bangladesh, India, China and Romania.