Increased Immigration & The Workforce


Pope Francis greets the sick after speaking to workers in Turin, Italy. Image: RV

Pope Francis’s two-day Apostolic Visit to Turin (June 21-22) began Sunday morning in Piazza Rebaudengo, where he addressed an audience of workers, farmers and entrepreneurs.

Local labourers spoke to the Pope about their daily difficulties, with the issue of increased immigration being brought up.

A lot of workers are experiencing difficulties in securing jobs with competition high, made even more difficult with an increase in overseas workers vying for the same positions.

Recently, The Sydney Morning Herald published an article highlighting the difficulties of local nursing graduates in their quest to find work as competition from immigrant’s increases.

The article reported that Australian-trained nurses and midwives are being locked out of the workforce as hospitals hire hundreds of skilled migrants every year. The national union representing 240,000 nurses, midwives and assistants warned the federal government that thousands of graduates missed out on jobs because healthcare employers were signing up foreign workers with temporary 457 visas.

After hearing the difficulties of those in Turin, Pope Francis affirmed that work is necessary, not only for the economy, but also for the integrity of the human person, for their dignity and social inclusion.  He acknowledged the problems caused by the current economic crisis on the health, education, and future of individuals. 

He recognized that new migrants increase competition, but that “they are not to be blamed, because they are also victims of inequality, of this ‘throw-away economy’, and of war”.

Pope Francis also emphasized the need for an economic model which is not in function of capital and production, but which works for the common good.  The challenge of the future must be “faced with solidarity and broad vision”, and with a “social and generational pact”, which pools resources for the common effort.

The solution to this economic crisis, Pope Francis says, is for all workers to say ‘NO’ to an economy of waste which excludes persons who do not produce, ‘NO’ to corruption and the idolatry of money, and ‘NO’ to inequality which generates violence. “Don Bosco”, he reminded the saint’s compatriots, “teaches us that the best method is prevention:  even social conflict must be prevented, and this is done with justice”.

In the wake of increased immigration and economic difficulties, Pope Francis called for the 60,000 people in Turin and the rest of the world to think of their own poor, elderly people and jobless and not to turn backs on them.

“It makes one cry to see the spectacle of these days in which human beings have been treated like merchandise,”

“Work is fundamental … and it is necessary that the whole society, all its components, collaborate so that there may be work worthy of men and women for all…This requires an economic model that is not organized for the purpose of capital and of production but rather for the common good.”

Pope has repeatedly called upon the international community to pay more attention to migrant crisis. Earlier in June he described leaving migrants to die in the Mediterranean as an “attack against life”, likening it to abortion or euthanasia.

The Pope finished his address recalling a theme which bridges the gap between the generations:

“Children are the promise of the future, of moving ahead”, and “grandparents are the memory of the past which traces our steps for the future.”



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