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Assessing the Relation between the Underground Economy and Irregular Migration in Italy


A number of studies show the importance of the underground economy in defining the dynamics of migratory flows to southern European countries. A very high number of foreign-born workers are employed in the underground economy in Italy. However, by no means has the informal economy in the country been created by migrants. Instead, the opposite is true. Research demonstrates that it is precisely because the underground economy provides a wealth of employment opportunities that there is a strong incentive for migrants to access southern European countries, especially Italy, despite the difficulties in gaining regular migration status.
Keywords: Italy, irregular migration, underground economy, eurozone crisis, European political economy