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Visas and Work Permits 7 min

Work permits and visas in Italy: an employer’s guide

Written by Sally Flaxman
Sally Flaxman

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If you’re hiring in Italy or relocating an existing employee to the country, you must make sure they have the right documentation to live and work there legally.

Handling work permits and visas abroad can be a tricky process, especially if you have no prior knowledge of Italian labor and immigration laws

Apart from dealing with a mountain of paperwork, you’ll also have to deal with the complexities of global hiring. This includes setting up processes to hire, onboard, and pay team members in Italy apart from staying compliant with Italian labor laws and tax practices. In this guide, we’ll explain the basics of work permits and visas in Italy. We’ll also explain how you navigate immigration procedures quickly and efficiently if you partner with an employer of record like Remote.

So let’s dive right in.

Why is immigration compliance important in Italy?

Italy is a hugely attractive country for both workers and businesses to settle in. However, its work permit and visa requirements can be complex, and if you and your employee fail to comply with them, you may receive fines, penalties, ongoing scrutiny, and reputational damage.

These risks are only growing, too, especially as trends shift towards remote work and governments start to reassess their existing policies. For example, there are many instances of workers on tourist visas overstaying in countries. This can create issues for themselves and the companies they work for, and authorities are cracking down.

As a result, it’s crucial to ensure that everything is above board, and that your people have the right paperwork.

Who is eligible to work in Italy?

Italian citizens are, by default, eligible to work in Italy (even if they currently live abroad), as are permanent residents.

Citizens of EU and EEA member states can also live and work in France without the need for a visa or work permit, as can citizens of Switzerland. The current EU and EEA member states are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland

Nationals of other countries can also live and work in Italy, but they will require authorization to work and a valid work visa.

Here’s what you need to know about getting these documents — including what you, as the employer, need to do.

Getting authorization to work in Italy

Before your employee can apply for an Italian work visa, they first need authorization to work (nulla osta al lavoro subordinato). To obtain this, you — the employer — will have to submit an authorization request through the One Stop Shop for Immigration (SUI).

This can be a complex process for several reasons.

Firstly, you can only submit the request within a specified time window, known as a Flow Decree (Decreto Flussi).  Note that new Flow Decrees usually occur each year, but this is not necessarily a given. Decree Flows are based on the needs of the Italian labor market and are opened and closed at the discretion of the Italian government.

Secondly, the number of authorizations issued is subject to a strict quota. In the 2022 Flow Decree, for instance, there were only 76,000 authorizations available (44,000 of which were reserved for seasonal work). You can learn more about the quotas here.

When you submit your request, you will have to bear both of these things in mind. You will also have to verify with the Italian labor agency (ANPAL) that no Italian, EU, or EEA citizen is suitable and willing to fulfill the role.

You can learn more about the application process — including which documents you need to supply — on the SUI portal.

Your application should be processed within 30 to 60 days. If it is successful, you will be notified, and the authorization will be automatically forwarded to the Italian consulate or embassy in your employee’s country.

Note that Remote can assist you throughout this entire process, from establishing your employee’s eligibility to assisting you with the authorization application.

To learn more, check out our article on relocating employeesinternationally.

Get your Remote Relocation Guide

Learn how to simplify your planned relocation with this walkthrough guide. We outline the key steps for you and your employer to enable a compliant, efficient, and hassle-free move.

Relocation Guide download

What about the Schengen Visa?

The Schengen Visa allows holders to visit Italy (or any Schengen member state) for up to 90 days.

On its own, though, it does not allow holders to work in Italy. It is generally designed for tourism or personal purposes, such as visiting family or friends.

What about the EU Blue Card?

The EU Blue Card is an alternative work permit for skilled workers from outside the EU/EEA. It allows holders to work in the issuing country, and travel freely to other EU/EEA countries.

In Italy, the Blue Card is not part of the Flow Decree quota. This means you do not need to obtain the authorization to work discussed above. To be eligible, your employee must:

  • Possess a recognized higher education qualification from an accredited university or an equivalent, professionally-recognized qualification

  • Earn a gross annual base salary of at least €24,790

  • Meet the conditions of a labor market assessment, conducted by the immigration authorities.

The Blue Card is valid in Italy for up to two years. Note that, if your employee is eligible, you must apply for the Blue Card on their behalf using the SUI portal.

Getting a visa in Italy

Once you have obtained the authorization to work, your employee can then apply for a long-stay National Visa (Type D).

To do this, they will need to apply (in person) at the Italian embassy or consulate in their current country of residence, and provide:

  • A signed and completed application form

  • Authorization to work document (or, if applicable, EU Blue Card (Italy))

  • A valid passport

The application should be processed within two to three weeks. Once issued, your employee can then travel to Italy, where they must apply for a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) through their nearest post office within eight working days.

Intra-company transfer (ICT) visa

If your company has an Italian office, and you want to relocate an employee there, you can apply for a special ICT visa instead.

To be eligible for this visa, your employee must either be:

  1. a manager or subject-matter expert with specific expertise, skills, and experience; or

  2. relocating in order to develop specific professional competencies.

Note that you will still need to obtain authorization to work.

This visa is valid for up to two years and can be renewed.

Does Italy offer a digital nomad visa?

The Italian government approved the introduction of a new digital nomad visa in March 2022, and it is expected to be available soon.

As you can see, there’s plenty of administrative work to do if you want to hire a non-citizen or relocate an employee to Italy.

Your best bet is to work with an employer of record like Remote who can not only help you handle the hassles of global hiring, but also help you stay in compliance with local immigration and labor laws.

As well as helping you manage your employees’ onboarding, taxes, benefits, and payroll, Remote can support you with their relocation process. Specifically, we will:

  1. Set up a consultation with one of our mobility experts

  2. Review your employee’s existing visa and citizenship status

  3. Review the visa and work permit requirements for the desired country relocation

  4. Review your employee’s eligibility

  5. Fill out the paperwork (with assistance from you and your employee)

  6. Submit the application

This ensures that any potential hiccups are identified quickly and that the process is as quick and smooth as possible — for both you and your employee. Download Remote’s Relocation Guide for more information on how you relocate your employees quickly and compliantly. 

To learn more about how you can make the entire relocation process easier with Remote, book a consultation with one of our friendly mobility gurus — and get the process moving today.

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