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Is Italy Discriminating Against Filipino People?

Professor Richard Ebstein

I got an email today from a Richard Ebstein, a University of Singapore professor, who is to speak at a June/July Federation of European Biochemical Societies congress in Turin, Italy.

Singapore based Professor Ebstein recently underwent extensive surgery and had taken on a Filipino helper to help him during his convalescence. The carer is legally employed by Professor Ebstein and his wife.

Professor Richard Ebstein
Professor Richard Ebstein

Yesterday the Filipino helper applied to the Italian Embassy in Singapore for a Schengen Visa so she could accompany the professor on his trip to Turin. The Filipino domestic helper was told by the Italian Embassy that she did not qualify for a Visa.

While Professor Ebstein, who was with the helper at the time, protested this decision, there was nothing he could do. No Visa would be granted.

In the words of Professor Ebstein:

I found this capricious act of the Italian Embassy here in Singapore quite outrageous and even more difficult to comprehend. Furthermore, to me it reeks of discrimination against a group of wonderful people, the Filipino domestic workers here in Singapore, who are widely employed and more widely appreciated for their dedicated and loving care to many Singaporean and Ex-pat families.

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It is odd, indeed. Milan is overflowing, just about, with Filipino domestic helpers and they must have obtained residency in Italy somehow, so why can’t one other be granted a very short term Visa?

Visas Already Granted by Denmark and Germany

What makes the Italian Embassy’s behaviour even more incomprehensible is that the very same Filipino domestic helper had been granted a visa by the Danish and German governments for a trip Professor Ebstein is to make to these European countries in June.

Why is Italy apparently discriminating against Filipino domestic helpers who merely want to come to Italy for a short period? Who knows, but one imagines the influx of immigrants from African countries into Italy has caused the Italian authorities to impose a sort of self-styled blanket ban on even short term visas.

I have contacted someone who might be able to help Professor Ebstein, so we’ll see whether this situation can be resolved.

I’ll leave the last word to Professor Ebstein, as he makes a very good point which Italy should perhaps listen to:

I am wondering if the The European Union Delegation to Singapore is aware of this apparently new and discriminatory policy by the Italians towards Filipino nationals? It certainly can’t help improve relations between Europe and an important Asian country.

This post will be updated if any developments occur.

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