For members


What happens to your Italian residency permit if you lose your job?

Losing your job is never ideal, but for those in Italy on a work visa there's another layer of worry. Will you lose your residency rights? Can you stay in Italy while you look for a new job? Here's what happens.

What happens to your Italian residency permit if you lose your job?
If you lose your job in Italy, the good news is that your work permit does not immediately become invalid. Photo by Scott Graham on Unsplash

The information below applies to non-EU citizens in Italy who have a residency permit (permesso di soggiorno) linked to a work permit and visa: not EU citizens or their family members, and not people with other types of residence permit.

The good news is that you won’t be kicked out of Italy the minute you lose your job: the expiry date on your residency permit for employment reasons (permesso di soggiorno per lavoro subordinato) won’t change.

Effectively, if you end up unemployed you’ll have until at least the date on which your residency permit expires to find a new job, and you may still be able to remain in Italy beyond that.

The duration of your residency permit for employment will depend on the type of work permit and visa you received, but it is normally valid for one or two years.

You’ll need to renew your residency permit before it expires, or at least within 60 days of the expiry date, at your region’s police headquarters (Questura).

There’s no rule that states you still have to be doing the same job, or even the same type of job, when you renew – as long as you can still meet all of the residency requirements.

READ ALSO: When and how should I renew my Italian residency permit?

You must provide a valid employment contract to renew your permit. This can be for a different job, including a job in a different sector.

You could also apply for a different type of permit if you meet the requirements.

If you lose a job, one option may be to work on a self-employed basis instead and then apply for a permit based on self-employment (permesso di soggiorno per lavoro autonomo) when it comes to the time to renew.

“If you have a residence permit for employment you can engage in self-employed activities if you have the required qualifications and fulfil the necessary legal requirements,” the European Commission’s immigration portal explains.

“Your change of status will be registered when your original residence permit expires.”


What happens if you’re unable to find a new job in time? 

If you’re still unemployed when your residency permit is up for renewal, this doesn’t automatically mean you have to leave Italy either.

You’ll need to register as unemployed when you lose your job. This means you’ll then be entitled to unemployment benefits, usually for up to one year, and that you may also be eligible to apply for a ‘residence permit while awaiting employment’ instead of renewing your current permit.

“If you have a residence permit for salaried employment but lose your job or resign, you may be put on the employment placement lists [meaning registered with the job centre] for the remaining period of validity of your residence permit or for a period of no more than twelve months,” the EC immigration portal website states.

“If you lose your job at the end of your permit you can ask for a renewal for a period of no more than twelve months.”

In fact, it may also be possible for residency permits while awaiting employment to be extended beyond 12 months, since Italian law “has not imposed a maximum limit on the possible renewal of an entitlement document conferred previously,” according to the Italian Labour Ministry’s website.

“It is up to the police to assess the situation of applicants on a case-by-case basis, paying particular attention to their family ties, the number of years spent in Italy, and any previous criminal convictions.”

Please note that The Local is unable to advise on individual cases or assist with job applications.

For more information on how these rules apply in your circumstances, see the Italian labour ministry’s immigration website, visit the sportello unico (immigration ‘one stop shop’), or consult the patronato for free immigration law advice.

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For members


Cafe culture and clocking out: Why remote work is so unpopular in Italy

The era of working from home in Italy ended with the Covid pandemic as Italians still overwhelmingly prefer to commute to the office and network in person, writes Silvia Marchetti.

Cafe culture and clocking out: Why remote work is so unpopular in Italy

With the Covid pandemic over, most Italians are now back to the office, sitting behind their desks and again clocking in at work. What happened to remote working or teleworking (also called ‘smart working’ in Italy)?

In my view this is (or was) the greatest novelty to come out of the pandemic, but it does not seem to have stuck in Italy. What have we learned from the pandemic about revolutionising the traditional workplace? Nulla.

Almost 80 percent of Italians worked from home during the pandemic – mostly for the first time, as the concept was almost unheard of before. But just 14.9 percent still work remotely today.

One reason for this is the simple fact that Italians need to hang out. They’re real political animals and for many the office is their most important social hub, after the family setting.

Unlike in other Western countries, the office is where 90 percent of one’s career is built by networking and PR, rather than on real merit and achievement. My dad always says that an after-lunch espresso with “important colleagues” is more valuable than a 12-hour shift sitting in front of a computer.

Italians have a saying: “le conoscenze contano”, meaning that knowing the right people can advance your career.

I once had a job contract at a leading industrial lobby in Rome, and I remember hours spent at the bar or having lunch chatting with colleagues and employees about future projects and summits, when all I wanted to do was rush through the speeches and papers I had to write. Eventually, I quit.

READ ALSO: ‘It’s crazy’: What to expect when you work for an Italian company

Italians are also very physical in everything they do, so the workplace must be a concrete spot, set apart from home. 

Multi-tasking is hard, and flexibility at work is as feared as the plague. It is seen as working seven days a week, on a 24-hour basis if you do it remotely. Italian workers would rather be with colleagues in person at the office, then at the beach having to answer emails.

The working week in Italy is as sacrosanct as Sunday mass. Once you’ve clocked out, you’re out. The universe may collapse but it’s not your call to step in and rescue it. Smartphones may have somewhat blurred the work-home boundary even in Italy, but haven’t destroyed it.

Lately I have noticed that virtual press conferences, events, and festivals are no longer available, during the pandemic I just needed a laptop to listen to speeches. Now I often need to take a taxi to get to the venue. It’s aggravating. 

Back to the daily commute: in Italy, seeing colleagues in person is all-important. Photo by JEsse on Unsplash

All over the world people go to cafés and bars to work from their laptops. But in Italy it’s a bit different. 

Over here, we do things our way: writing a paper while you devour a cornetto would not be cool. My gran had a saying: “Ogni cosa a suo tempo”, meaning ‘everything has its time’.

Cafés for most Italians are hangout spots where you chat with friends or colleagues and have a quick coffee on the run, gulping it down at the counter rather than sitting down. They’re not ideal places for working. 

READ ALSO: Italy ranked one of the worst countries for expats to work in – again

In some northern Italian cities, sitting for hours at nice panoramic cafés with a steaming cappuccino while answering emails may be more popular, mainly because many cafés in Milan, Bologna and Turin are huge and have several rooms. But this is not something you can do in the south.

All of this means Italy is probably one of the worst countries in Europe for remote work, and it’s not just because of the mindset. 

Many parts of the country still lack high-speed internet, especially rural areas, but also cities. I live north of Rome and don’t even have a home WIFI, so I’m considering subscribing to one of those internet companies that provide signal to yachts in the middle of the sea and campers on isolated mountain tops. 

This lack of digital infrastructure makes it hard both for Italians teleworking and for foreigners hoping to relocate to Italy and work remotely for companies abroad or as freelancers. 

READ ALSO: What happened to Italy’s planned digital nomad visa?

However, I still think that even if all of Italy was hooked up with supersonic internet, Italians would still prefer to commute to a physical workplace each day.

Foreigners have long been waiting for the ‘digital nomad’ visa, approved in 2021 and then forgotten by the new government that seems to have other priorities. One politician from the ruling coalition told me the law is rotting in parliament simply because there are so many other ways to lure foreign money which are viewed as safer.

The cheap homes bonanza, the 7 percent flat tax rate for expat retirees in several southern regions, and the elective residency visa for pensioners, are all examples of more concrete measures sure to bring significant taxes into state coffers. 

Meanwhile, digital nomads are often seen as ‘vague’ freelancers whose job isn’t quite clear, who can’t be easily classified and tracked down. In other words, digital nomads are somehow perceived by authorities, in my view, as potential tax dodgers.

I think Italy has lost an opportunity to really embrace remote work. If not even a global pandemic has the power to modernise the Italian workplace, I don’t know what can.