Ukrainians in Italy are mostly recent labor migrants. As of 31 December 2010, there were 380.000 Ukrainians in Italy. Many Ukrainian women make a living in Italy as caretakers for the elderly, terminally ill, children or entire families. With an average life expectancy close to 80 years, many Italian families are struggling with how to care for aging parents while maintaining a two-career household. Mistrustful of retirement homes, Italians have embraced Ukrainian migrants as an answer to a shortage of Italian in-home caregivers (making Ukrainians the fourth-largest immigrant community in Italy), a professional role snubbed by many native Italians, due to its physical difficulty and emotional stress.
According to a National Institute of Statistics (Istat) report about foreigners in Italy, there are 223,782 Ukrainians in Italy as of 2012, and about 80% of them are women. With many Ukrainian caregivers believed to be working or residing in Italy illegally, other estimates of their numbers range broadly, from 600,000 to 1 million. And while most Ukrainian immigrants eventually want to come back to Ukraine, some are choosing to stay permantently, becoming a part of the Italian society.