14 May | Italian Immigration Overview
If you are reading this, it is likely that you are looking for information about immigration to Italy. Below you will find an overview covering the most important aspects of the process.
The first thing to know is that the Italian immigration system makes a distinction between EU citizens and Non EU citizens.
EU citizens usually have to follow fewer procedures, which is in accordance with the principles set out by the freedom of movement based on EU directives; Non EU citizens, on the other hand, have to follow a series of requirements, which are governed by the Italian Immigration law.
In relation to Non EU citizens, foreigners may apply for a work permit under two categories:
Extra Quota Authorizations
The Quota System (Decreto Flussi)
This decree determines the number of work permits that can be issued based on the work category and the nationality of the workers. This system also allows the individual to convert a training permit into a full time employee work permit and other options are available depending on what the decree allows for that year.
The Extra Quota Authorization
This mechanism allows Non EU citizens belonging to specific work categories to enter and work in Italy if the requirements meet the criteria included in the art. 27 of the law n. 286/98. Generally, this is the law which is used mostly by multinationals transferring staff to Italy and companies that can show a business relationship between them and the host company in Italy where staff will be based.
Companies follow this procedure to obtain an Intra-company work permit – this is used to transfer highly specialized workers from abroad. This type of work permit (art. 27 let. A) enables Multinationals or foreign companies to temporarily transfer Non EU highly qualified workers (managers/directors) to Italy. The Italian conpany (that requests a work permit at the Italian Immigration Office) and the foreign company must be part of the same group.
This procedure allows the Non EU worker to be temporarily assigned to work at an Italian company, however the worker remains on the payroll in the home country.
Under the art. 27-law decree n. 286/98 many other categories are included:
Secondments within international service agreements (art. 27 let.I)
Qualified workers needed to carry out special activities (art. 27 let. G)
Workers undertaking training courses/projects (art. 27 let. F)
Starting from August 2012 the Italian government implemented the European Directive 2009/50/EC, known as the EU Blue Card intended for qualified foreign workers who are not EU, EEA, or Swiss Nationals. The procedure for this kind of worker falls under the art. 27 quater, law 286/98. This procedure allows highly qualified workers to enter into Italy outside the quota system and to be hired directly by an Italian employer.
Investors and Entrepreneurs
Outside the quota system, foreigners who want to invest in Italy and work as self-employed workers though setting up a company, or working as professionals or consultants, can apply for a self-employed work permit under the art. 27 law 286/98 or art. 40, 22 DPR 394/99. This procedure does not involve the Immigration Office in Italy; the applicant must apply directly at the Italian Consulate or Embassy in his country of residency. The applicant applying for such a permit will need to present a business plan, which describes in detail the intended investment project.
Start Up Visa
The art. 7 of law decree n. 145/2013 allows for new ways to make it easier to obtain a work permit for Italy, related especially to high tech and internet start ups, investments, high level training programmes in collaboration with Italian Universities, research centres and other entities. These new ways of entering Italy legally are still unfolding so please check back for updates.