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Employment of foreign workers

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Employment-of-foreign-workers-1EU/EEA and Swiss nationals

According to the principle of free movement of persons, goods, services and capital, EU (European Union) and EEA (European Economic Area) nationals can be employed in Italy without any authorization by the Italian au- thorities.

Should an EU national choose to work in Italy for a period in excess of 3 months, he/she should apply for a so called "Stay card" ("Carta di Soggiorno"), which is normally issued by the local State Police office ("Questura") upon a simple request. This permit is renewable. Swiss citizens have the same right of entry, residence and ac- cess to work applicable as EU countries nationals.

Non EU/EEA nationals - the quota system

The admission of non-EU foreign workers is subject to a mechanism of quantitative selectivity based on quotas for new entries on a yearly basis.

They are meant to regulate the admission of third country nationals and their access to Italian labor market, by combining a purely quantitative selectivity with some elements of qualitative selectivity.

The determination of annual quotas of new inflows is established by the government, which sets the quota through a Prime Minister Decree (known as "Decreto Flussi"). The quota decree is published in the Official Jour- nal and starts some days after the implementation phase.

The whole implementation process of the quota system is basically made up of three main steps:
•authorization requests presented by employers to the Immigration Single Desk (ISD);
•visa request by prospective migrants in their country of origin;
•request and delivery of the stay permit for working purposes.

Authorization (nulla osta) request

Employers have to request authorization to hire a foreign worker living abroad to the ISD.

In the application file the applicant employer is expected to submit a so called "Stay contract" ("Contratto di soggiorno") in which she/he commits him/herself to guarantee adequate lodging for the requested worker and to fund travel costs for his/her repatriation in case of expulsion before the expiry of the contract.

In addition, the contract has to include the work contract's details that must comply with existing collective contracts for the specific sector/occupation in which the requested worker will be employed.

Once all the checks have been made by both Labor authority ("Direzione Territoriale del Lavoro") and local State Police office ("Questura"), the authorization ("nulla osta"), may be delivered to the applicant employer. The whole procedure should take 40 days from the application.

Visa issuance

Once the nulla osta is delivered to the employer, he/she sends it on to the individual foreign worker to be re- cruited who must present him/herself at the Italian diplomatic representation in his/her country of origin and requests a visa for working purposes.

The nulla osta will have a 6 month-validity, and during this period the visa may be issued.

Stay permit (permesso di soggiorno) issuance

Within eight days of his/her arrival, the foreign worker must sign the stay contract presented by the employer at the ISD and simultaneously apply for the stay permit ("Permesso di soggiorno") for working purposes. The stay permit will be issued by the Questura. The stay permit has the same duration as the employment contract with a maximum of 2 years and it is renewable.

Exemptions - extra-quotas entries

The admission of some categories of workers is explicitly exempt from the quantitative limits set through the quota system.

In particular, specific professional profiles can be admitted without any quantitative cap to regulate their inflow (for example: managers or highly skilled staff members of multinational/foreign companies, university lectu- rers and professors, translators and interpreters, professional nurses, etc.).

Despite the lack of explicit quantitative limitations, the admission of workers in these categories is still subject to the authorization ("nulla osta") granted by the territorial ISD, even if admission procedure has been further simplified for specific categories.

Stay permits have a maximum duration of two years, in case of fixed term contracts, or unlimited duration in case of open-ended contracts.

Visa for investors

Italian law provides for a special, easier and quicker procedure for foreign individual that intend to invest in Italy. This new visa opens the door to the recognition of a two-year residence permit, renewable for another three years, provided that the foreign investor (not EU citizen) demonstrates that he intends to:

•buy Italian government bonds for at least 2 million or
•invest in the capital of an Italian company (at least 1 million euros) or in a startup (minimum 500 thou- sand euros).

The investment must, in any case, be maintained for at least two years.

Alternatively this procedure will be applicable in case of relevant philanthropic donations in cultural assets, im- migrant management, education and research, for a minimum of one million.

This rule is aimed at facilitating the release of VISAS to potential investors and allows the stay, for periods of more than three months with no application of the quota system.

The investor must file the request to a specific Committee that was set up for this purpose by the Ministry of Economic Development. In the committee sit, among the others, representatives of Viminale, Farnesina, Uif, Security Guard, Revenue and Ice Agency.

In particular, the Committee will evaluate the documents with which the investor must demonstrate that she/he is the holder or beneficiary of the amounts to be invested and the certification of the legality of the funds, as well as the absence of definitive penal convictions or any other pending charges.

A specific Decree released by the Ministry of Economic Development in July 2017 ( gresso_e_soggiorno_investitori.pdf) defines the procedure for the establishment of such requirements by the Committee to which the following documentation (via the online platform) must be submitted:

1.a copy of a valid travel document with an expiration date of at least three months more than the length of the required visa;

2.documentation by which the applicant proves to be the beneficial owner and beneficiary of the amounts to be invested and that these amounts are available and transferable to Italy;

3.certification attesting to the legal origin of the funds constituted by:

a.a statement made by the requesting party indicating the source from which the funds originate;

b.certification of non-existence of definitive criminal convictions and pending charges issued by the competent authorities of countries other than Italy where, during the 10 years prior to the sub- mission of the application and after the age of 18 years, the applicant has stayed for a period of more than 12 consecutive months;

4.a statement with which the applicant undertakes to use the funds within three months of entering into Italy for the investment or donation and maintaining the investment for at least two years. The statement must me filed together with a description of the characteristics and recipients of the in- vestment or donation.

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