The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Migration and Mobility Agreement between India and Italy that offers mechanisms for post-study job opportunities, internships and professional trainings under the existing labour mobility pathways of the Flows Decree.

The Flow Decree is an annual provision offered by the Italian government establishing the maximum number of non-European Union citizens who can enter Italy for work reasons for both seasonal and non-seasonal labour and to initiate autonomous activities.

Seasonal workers have temporary employment as they get work during certain times of the year, while non-seasonal workers are provided a permanent or regular position by their employers.

Under the agreement, Italy will take in 5,000 non-seasonal Indian workers in 2023, 6,000 in 2024 and 7,000 in 2025. Additionally, the country will take 3,000 seasonal Indian workers for 2023, 4,000 for 2024 and 5,000 for 2025.

The agreement also allows Indian students studying in the European country to stay in Italy for up to 12 months to acquire professional experience after completing their studies.

The agreement has drawn sharp reaction from Trinamool Congress MP Saket Gokhale who said that it shows lack of job opportunities for Indians in India.

“The level of unemployment in India is so bad under the Modi government that we’re now exporting Indian laborers to other countries,” Gokhale said. “Is this the sign of a ‘vishwaguru’?”

Data from the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy shows that the share of youth (aged 15-29) in the workforce dropped sharply from 25% in 2016-’17 to 17% in 2022-’23. In contrast, for those aged above 45, the share has gone up from 37% to 49%.

Pranjul Bhandari, the chief India economist at HSBC, estimates that while India will need to create 70 million jobs over the next decade, it will only end up with 24 million.

Also read: Youth unemployment is a major problem in India – so why is it absent from national politics?

Corrections and clarifications: This article has been edited to correct the number of Indian workers who could potentially benefit from this agreement.