"Expat": yes, but not forever

Three talents, two Countries, and a promise

SBS-Special Broadcasting Service Italian spreads language news throughout Australia for Italians residents. Recently, downstream from the presentation of the pitiless data (500 thousand Italians, half of them between 15 and 34 years old, in the last 10 years have gone to live and work abroad; just this "junior" half brought with it a potential of 16 billion euros) of the Leone Moressa Foundation "2019 Report on the economics of immigration", dedicated an episode to our expats who found in Oceania a new home and a career, scoring a series of interviews with questions among which stood out: "A part of the culture and affections, what would drive you to return to Italy?" and "What incentives would make you consider the possibility of re-entering your country of origin?"

Here are three stories from those collected. Stories of Italian talents who have chosen the way abroad, reported by AISE-Agenzia International Foreign Press in an article with the emblematic title: "Is it possible to return to work in Italy?". Andrea Ciaffi is 32 years old, was born in Rome and arrived in Sydney in 2014, with a degree in construction engineering in his pocket. Today he works at ARUP, in his field, and has also acquired Australian citizenship. He acknowledges our Country's effort to bring its talents home, but judges the tax reliefs insufficient on their own: "You have to solve the problem for which the boys have left, which was in my opinion a prospect for the long-term future.” He also tries to give a solution to improve the appeal of Italy on those who, just like him, left.

"If we don't invest in a credible infrastructure plan, one for every industry, medicine, engineering, etc., we can't just propose tax reliefs." Because "what matters are the opportunities that need to be generated." For an Italy like the one photographed by the Foundation's Report, alongside the huge economic loss, there is the even more urgent one to solve about the know-how, the skills that those who leave take away with them, which may be perfected abroad and abroad will bring added value taken away from our Country. For Andrea, the best solution would be a mix of public investment, on the one hand, and give-back, on the other: giving the opportunity to those who went away to teach Italy what they learned outside on the field.

Stefano is also an engineer, and his title, like Andrea's, comes from Rome. Still, Stefano also thinks about structural changes, to evolve the job system, "the way companies operate and the way investors invest in Italy." Australia is full of Italian workers, and many of our compatriots are also asserting themselves on the academic front. Born a civil engineer, Alberto Meucci is now researcher for the University of Melbourne (the one listed inside the ranking of best full-time Mba providers universities in the world). His testimony is less nostalgic, perhaps more severe. He recalls an Italy in which "the situation, at least in my field, was quite difficult." Where the work exsisted, but the salary did not allow sufficient stability. Where you had to wait, because "they tell you that you are an investment, that you have to wait." He did not feel being taken into account, and chose another life.

To Andrea, to Stefano, to Alberto. To all those who have made a choice that is still courageous, often very hard and forced by conditions and situations that leave few other alternatives. To them, all of us who remain in this Country, living every day Italy with its lights and shadows, to all of them we must make a promise, and something more. We have to keep it. We must promise them that we will rebuild a Country worthy of the name it bears, as innovative as the creative spirit it has always spread to the world, a system to look at with admiration and with the desire to be a part of it. Not a cultural or holiday destination, but a Country capable of sitting among the great ones. A pole of excellence, a cradle of talent, that knows how to generate potentials, but also knows how to cultivate them, support them, grow them. That knows how to attract those who are not Italian.

Because the word "expat" is just a parenthesis printed on so many Italian resumes. The talent is mobile, and sometimes it goes so far, but then comes home, to keep shining more than before.