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WORKING IN ITALY

What to know about getting an Italian work permit in 2023

Italy has released details of the number of work permits available this year and which types of workers can apply. Here's what to know if you're thinking of moving to Italy for work from outside the EU.

What to know about getting an Italian work permit in 2023
Construction is one of the industries Italy is allocating work permits for in 2023 amid a shortage of workers. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

Each year, the Italian government sets out exactly how many work permits it will grant to non-EU citizens. and for which industries.

The Italian government released the details of the 2023 quota at the end of January, confirming that a total of 82,705 permits will be available this year.

This is significantly higher than in previous years, with just under 70,000 permits issued in 2022, and 30,000 in 2021.

Some 44,000 of this year’s permits are intended for seasonal workers, in industries including agriculture and tourism.

READ ALSO: How to get an Italian work visa

Most of the remaining permits are reserved for those on longer-term employment contracts, and the majority of those can only be allocated to firms hiring workers in the following sectors:

  • Road haulage
  • Construction
  • Hospitality and tourism
  • Mechanics
  • Telecommunications
  • Food
  • Shipbuilding

However this year’s decree also brings in new and stricter criteria for issuing these permits.

For non-seasonal permits, employers must now confirm with Italian government employment agencies that no qualified Italian nationals are available to do the jobs before putting in an authorisation request.

READ ALSO: The jobs in Italy that will be most in demand in 2023

This requirement is waived for workers who have completed training programmes in their country of origin that are specifically designed to send workers to Italy. Find further details from the Italian labour ministry here (in Italian).

Applications for this year’s permits will open on March 27th.

Getting one of these permits is just the start. As a non-EEA citizen, there are three main documents you’ll need to live and work in Italy: a work permit (nulla osta), a work visa (visto) and a residency permit (permesso di soggiorno).

Find out more information about the types of Italian work visa available here.

Self-employed workers

As in previous years, in 2023 only 500 permits in total have been made available to self-employed workers. Those eligible include artists, and entrepreneur investors who will create at least three jobs in Italy, but competition for these limited place is fierce.

While Italy approved a ‘digital nomad’ visa in March 2022 that many hoped would make it easier for freelance workers to move to Italy, there have been no updates since and the plan now seems to have been abandoned by Italy’s new government.

The new decree setting out Italy’s 2023 work permit quota does not cover visa rules, so there was no mention of it here.

EU Blue Card

There is one possible way for highly-qualified workers to move to Italy for work outside of the work permit quota: The EU Blue Card is available to non-EU nationals, and the requirements include an undergraduate degree and a firm job offer from an Italian company, with a salary of at least €24,789.

Find out more about the EU Blue Card scheme in a separate article here.

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

For more information about visa and residency permit applications, see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s visa website, or contact your embassy or local Questura (police headquarters) in Italy.

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For members

MOVING TO ITALY

Can you work in Italy on an elective residency visa?

The elective residency visa is one of the most popular routes to Italian residency, but what exactly are the rules on working in the country once you arrive?

Can you work in Italy on an elective residency visa?

If you’re looking to relocate to Italy as a non-EU national without close family ties or a job offer from an Italian employer, you’ll likely have come across the elective residency visa, or ERV.

The ERV is the Italian visa best suited to many applicants, with a relatively low minimum income threshold and few other strict barriers to entry. But does it allow you to work and receive a salary once you arrive in Italy?

The short answer is no: Italy’s elective residency visa is specifically designed for people who want to move to Italy without working.

Applicants for the ERV must meet a passive income requirement of at least €31,000 per person per year or €38,000 for married couples, plus five percent per dependent minor. 

READ ALSO: Five expert tips for getting your Italian elective residency visa approved

The key is in that word ‘passive’ – while annuities, pensions and rental income all count, you can’t receive an active income from work while on the visa.

Italy’s unemployment rate is one of the highest in Europe, so the government is very careful to protect the domestic jobs market (which is why many were surprised when parliament last month approved a digital nomad visa that does allow foreigners to work from Italy, in theory for Italian employers).

READ ALSO: How easy is it to get Italy’s new digital nomad visa?

That means the vast majority of the people who move to Italy on the ERV are retirees in their 60’s or older.

Of course, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be some people who try to get around the rules by working under the table or remotely.

But if caught, you’d be found to be in breach of the terms of your visa and face being kicked out of the country – so it’s safest to follow the rules. 

Read more about the ERV and other visa options in The Local’s Italian visa section.

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