Enhanced India-Italy Partnership: A Leap Towards a Promising Mobility Agreement

In a historic move underscoring the evolving dynamics of international labor and academic exchange, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, alongside his Italian counterpart, made significant strides towards the early implementation of a pivotal mobility agreement between their nations. This breakthrough came during Modi’s notable visit to Italy’s Apulia region, aimed at attending the G7 Outreach Summit upon the gracious invitation from the Italian leadership. This visit, marking his first international journey since inaugurating his third term, symbolizes not just diplomatic formalities but a deep-rooted commitment to fostering bilateral relations.

The roadmap for this mobility agreement paints a promising future, promising to usher in an era of enriched collaboration by simplifying the exchange of professionals, skilled and semi-skilled workers, students, and researchers between the two culturally rich nations. It harbors the potential to significantly enhance people-to-people contacts, thereby knitting the social and economic fabrics of India and Italy more closely together.

In a bold move late December 2023, India’s Union Cabinet, under Modi’s leadership, greenlighted the migration and mobility agreement previously deliberated upon by both countries, signaling a proactive step by the Ministry of External Affairs. This agreement encapsulates a shared vision to promote the cross-border movement of students eager to pursue professional avenues post their academic endeavors, skilled workforce, dynamic young professionals, and business minds. Furthermore, it aims to lay a strong foundation for cooperation in curbing irregular migration, enriching both societies in the process.

Under the ambit of this agreement, Italy opened its doors wider, reserving substantial yearly quotas for Indian non-seasonal and seasonal workers spanning 2023 to 2025. Specifically, the quota for non-seasonal workers scales from 5,000 to 7,000, while that for seasonal workers ranges from 3,000 to 5,000 over the specified years, illustrating Italy’s commitment to welcoming Indian talent and labor force.

The formal signing of this landmark mobility agreement occurred on November 2, 2023, featuring the signatures of India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his Italian counterpart, Antonio Tajani. This ceremonial act not only exemplifies the bilateral commitments but also the essential role of India’s skilled and talented workforce in addressing demographic shortages faced by developed nations, a view consistently advocated by Jaishankar.

At a recent industry event, Jaishankar eloquently highlighted the increasing global demand for Indian talent, attributing it to the advancements in technology and the prevailing demographic challenges in the developed world. His advocacy for India’s role in the global knowledge economy was evident at the CII Annual Business Summit 2024, held in New Delhi, where he underscored the strategic importance of such mobility agreements in leveraging Indian skills worldwide.

This agreement between India and Italy exemplifies how diplomatic relations can extend beyond formal agreements to address practical needs, fostering a deeper understanding and appreciation across borders. It stands as a testament to both nations’ forward-looking approach in harnessing the potential of their human resources, promising a brighter future for their people. As this agreement moves from the realms of planning to implementation, it is poised to unlock myriad opportunities for students, workers, and professionals alike, marking a new chapter in the storied relationship between India and Italy.

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