Foreigners beat Italians in new businesses

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Foreigners opened more than 4,000 businesses in Rome during the first five years of the economic crisis. Via del Corso Photo: lornet/Shutterstock
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Over the past five years immigrants have succeeded in opening more than 4,000 businesses in Rome, leaving Italians lagging behind, new statistics from the charity, Caritas Roma, show.

Between 2008 and 2012, foreigner-owned businesses increased by 12.6 percent, to 34,084, Caritas said in its immigration report released on Wednesday.

The highest number are owned by Bangladeshis, with 7,443 businesses collectively, followed by Romanians with 6,294. Overall a third of foreign-run businesses are owned by Asians, the largest regional group, followed by Europeans and Africans.

While immigrant-run businesses are growing in spite of the economic crisis, Italians have been less successful in recent years.

Over the past five years the overall number of Italian-owned businesses has fallen by 657, although at 142,480 Italians still run more than four times the number owned by immigrants.

The business climate reflects broader changes in Rome, with an increasing number of foreigners moving to the Italian capital.

There are 451,000 foreigners in Rome and 564,000 in total in the Lazio region, according to the Caritas report.

Numbers jumped by 31,759 in 2012, although the figures include the 6,398 babies born to immigrant parents who under national law are not immediately given Italian citizenship.

While some Italians fear the negative impact such an increase could have, recent figures show that immigrants are giving the state coffers a valuable boost during economic hard times.

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Foreigner workers contributed €13.3 billion in taxes in 2014, topping the state costs of immigration by €1.4 billion, according to statistics released in November.

READ MORE: Immigrants give Italy €1.4 billion tax boost

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