Immigration Law

Italian employment law for individuals

Understanding the Italian employment laws and procedures for obtaining a work permit or visa is important. Do not worry, we are here to do all the hard work for you!

This article provides an overview of the employment law in Italy for foreigners. Italian employment laws are comprehensive, offering protections and regulations for both employers and employees.

To legally work in Italy, non-EU citizens must obtain a work visa. There are different types of work visas, including employment visas, self-employment visas, and even in Italy there will be remote work visas for those digital nomads who wish to work remotely while living here.

The process to get an “Italy Work Visa” typically involves securing a job, applying for a work permit (also known as “Nulla Osta al lavoro”), and then applying for a visa at the Italian embassy or consulate in your home country. But, depending on specific circumstances and immigration flows, there are other aspects to consider.

How to access the Italian work market as a non-European citizen?

There are two ways citizens of non-EU countries can access the Italian labor market:

Directly in Italy

If individuals are currently in Italy and hold a valid residence permit that allows them to work, along with meeting other legal requirements, the employer will need to fill out a single electronic form for the recruitment of a non-EU worker. This should be done through the computer system for submitting Mandatory Communications.

From abroad

The application process for employing a non-EU worker in Italy is governed by the annual entry quotas established in the Decreto Flussi (Flows Decree). To apply, an Italian or foreign employer legally residing in Italy must submit the application to the Sportelli Unici per l’Immigrazione. This application can only be submitted after the annual Flows Decree programming decree is published in the Official Gazette of the Italian Republic. The procedures for obtaining work authorization are outlined in joint circulars issued by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies and the Ministry of the Interior. These circulars are published well in advance of the application submission deadline (Interministerial Circular No. 3843 of October 8, 2020, implementing the D.P.C.M. July 7, 2020). → PDF

The entry and employment of non-EU citizens or stateless persons in Italy are regulated by the Consolidated Act on Immigration (referred to as Legislative Decree July 25, 1998, no. 286Testo unico delle disposizioni concernenti la disciplina dell’immigrazione e norme sulla condizione dello straniero) and its Implementing Regulations (referred to as Presidential Decree No. 394 of August 31, 1999 – Regulations containing rules for the implementation of the Testo unico delle disposizioni concernenti la disciplina dell’immigrazione e norme sulla condizione dello straniero, pursuant to Article 1, paragraph 6, of Legislative Decree No. 286 of July 25, 1998).

Entering and Work in Italy for Non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens who possess a valid passport (or equivalent document) and an entry visa are generally permitted to enter the territory of Italy, unless exempted under current regulations (Article 4 of the Consolidated Text).

Foreigners who have entered Italy legally (as per Article 4) and hold a valid residence permit in accordance with the Consolidated Text (Article 5), or possess a residence permit or equivalent document issued by a competent authority of an EU member state, within the limits and conditions specified in specific agreements, are allowed to stay in Italy.

Within 8 working days of entering Italian territory, non-EU citizens intending to stay in Italy must apply for a residence permit at the Police Headquarters of the province they plan to reside in (Article 5, paragraph 2 of the Consolidated Act and Article 9 of the Implementing Regulations).

Additionally, it is worth noting that Legislative Decree No. 40 of March 4, 2014, which implements European Parliament Directive No. 2011/98/EU of December 13, 2011, has introduced amendments to the Consolidated Text. These amendments indicate that the residence permit granting permission to work now includes the term “Single Work Permit,” except for explicitly provided exceptions (Article 5, paragraph 8.1 of the Consolidated Text).

Non-EU citizens can access the Italian labor market if they are already legally residing in Italy and hold a regular residence permit, subject to signing a residence contract with the employer and meeting all legal requirements. Alternatively, if they are abroad, they can access the labor market within the quotas established by the Flows Decree.

In this regard, the Consolidated Text provides that with one or more Decrees of the President of the Council of Ministers, the maximum quotas of foreigners to be admitted into the territory of the State for subordinate work are defined annually by November 30 of the year preceding the year to which the Decree refers, on the basis of the general criteria identified in the planning document. Those are including:

  • needs of a seasonal nature
  • self-employment
  • family reunifications
  • any temporary protection measure

Therefore, entry visas and residence permits for subordinate work, including for needs of a seasonal nature, and for self-employment, are issued within the limit of the above quotas (Art. 3, paragraph 4 and Art. 21, paragraph 1 of the Consolidated Act).

The Decreto Flussi –  ultimately, the Prime Minister’s Decree of December 29, 2022 – sets entry quotas for labor reasons annually based on the needs of the production system. For more information on the changes introduced by the latest Flows Decree and the procedures for submitting applications, go to the portal of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy and consult the interministerial circular dated January 30, 2023.

How To Apply For Italian Decreto Flussi?

How to get a work visa in Italy? Entering legally through the routes provided by the government. The Italian Ministry recently issued a circular in which it explains that the mechanism for accessing the computer portal (ALI) has been simplified.

It is no longer necessary to apply to the prefecture for profiling, and there is no longer a maximum limit of applications.

The IT system automatically profiles only the following operators:

1/ Application submission

The application is electronically submitted through the Services Portal – ALI, accessed via SPID.

During the precompilation phase, the applicant fills out the application form for work clearance or conversion and attaches the necessary documentation.

An email address must be provided in the PEC field of the application forms, which will be used for all communications from the Single Desk for Immigration.

This email address should be considered as the designated place for receiving notifications related to the application, in accordance with Article 47 of the Civil Code.

On the designated “click day,” starting from 9 a.m., applicants can proceed with submitting the previously filled-out application(s).

2/ Preliminary analysis of the application

Integration of data and documents

During the application review process, the Single Immigration Desk (SUI) may request the following:

  1. Additional documents to be provided as a supplement to the application.
  1. Data integration within the application, based on instructions from the Territorial Labor Inspectorate (ITL).

In such instances, a communication will be sent via PEC to the email address provided by the applicant in their application.

To respond to the Single Desk for Immigration, it is necessary to follow the instructions provided in the received communication.

Specifically, for scenario (1), the applicant should access the Services Portal – ALI to identify the documents that need to be supplemented and upload the required documentation.

For scenario (2), the applicant should access the Services Portal – ALI to directly integrate or edit the data within the application as per the requested integration.

3/ Notice of rejection/ Final rejection 

In the following situations the Sportello, using the system, sends a communication to the applicant’s provided email address. This communication includes an attachment of the notice of rejection (as per Article 10 bis l. 241/90), which contains the relevant reasoning.

  1. When the documental investigation yields a negative outcome (as mentioned in point 1 of the previous paragraph), such as the absence or inadequacy of the required mandatory documents.
  1. When the Territorial Labor Inspectorate (ITL) and/or the Police Headquarters provide a negative opinion.

Upon receiving the notice, the applicant has 10 days to respond to the Administration, providing their own observations. These comments should be sent to the same PEC address from which the notice was received.

Any final rejection decision, following the comments stage, will be transmitted in the same manner as the initial notice.

The notice of rejection and the final rejection order can also be accessed by logging into the Services Portal – ALI.

4/ Clearance / Communication

When the preliminary investigation of the application for work clearance yields favorable results, the applicant will receive a communication via the email address provided in the application. This communication will notify the applicant that the “nulla osta” (authorization) has been issued and can be downloaded by accessing the Services Portal – ALI.

According to current regulations (Decree Law No. 73/2022), the investigation is considered favorable in the following cases:

  • (a) The issuance of positive opinions from both the Territorial Labor Inspectorate (ITL) and the Police Headquarters, or only the ITL opinion, in accordance with the application templates.
  • (b) If 30 days have passed without receiving the aforementioned opinions for application forms C-stag, B2020, B-PS, and B.

For conversion models (VA, VB, LS/LS1, LS2, Z), the work clearance document is replaced by a notice indicating the conversion process. In cases where the simplified procedure applies, as per applications submitted by employers’ organizations that have signed a special memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy (Art. 44 paragraph 5 of Decree Law No. 73/2022 and 27 paragraph 1b of Legislative Decree No. 286/1998), the file is forwarded to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for visa issuance.

5. Revocation of work clearance

If the opinions from Questura and ITL have not been issued within the procedural deadline of 30 days, they can still be recorded in the computer system until the completion of the procedure, specifically until the preparation stage of the residence permit application form (Form 209).

In such cases, the same methods of communication mentioned earlier regarding the notice of final rejection/rejection are applicable to the applicant.

6/ Convocation at the Police Department

After the issuance of the visa by MAECI or, in the case of conversions, following the communication regarding the conversion of the clearance, the applicant will receive a communication via PEC to the provided email address. This communication will contain an invitation to view the date of the convocation at the Prefecture on the Services Portal – ALI.

Additionally, the applicant has the option to self-schedule the convocation by directly accessing the appropriate section of the Portal and selecting a preferred day and time from the options provided by the Desk.

The self-scheduled convocation is visible to the Single Immigration Desk (SUI), which has the ability to modify it by setting a different date and time. The applicant will be notified of any changes in the same manner as mentioned earlier.

Moreover, the SUI may also arrange for a potential convocation in a telematic mode, such as through videoconference. In such cases, detailed instructions will be provided by the Desk in the convocation notice accessible through the Portal.

Employer Sponsorship in Italy

Employer sponsorship plays a crucial role in facilitating employment opportunities for foreign individuals seeking work in Italy. To secure employment visa status, it is important to understand the process involved, including the need for reference letters, an essential component of the employer sponsorship process in Italy. These letters serve as evidence of an individual’s professional experience, skills, and qualifications. They provide valuable insights to Italian authorities, helping them assess the suitability of a foreign employee for a specific job position. Examples of employment reference letters should include details about the employee’s job responsibilities, achievements, and their contribution to previous organizations. These letters should be drafted on official company letterhead, signed by authorized individuals, and ideally translated into Italian to ensure clarity and understanding.

Sponsorship for Employment Visa Status

To obtain an employment visa status in Italy, foreign workers typically require sponsorship from an Italian employer. This sponsorship demonstrates that the employer has a legitimate job opening that cannot be filled by an Italian or EU citizen. The employer must provide relevant documentation, including a copy of the employment contract, evidence of the company’s financial stability, and proof of compliance with Italian labor laws. Additionally, the employer must guarantee suitable accommodation for the employee during their stay in Italy. The visa application process is generally handled by the employee, in coordination with the Italian embassy or consulate in their home country.

Work permits in Italy and EU during 2022

In 2022, 3.7 million non-EU citizens obtained a residence permit for the first time in a European Union country. Eurostat, the European statistical institute, specifies that this data does not include individuals granted temporary protection in the EU following the Russian invasion in Ukraine. 

The primary reasons attracting people to Europe are primarily for “work” purposes, accounting for 42% of all first residence permits issued in 2022, corresponding to 1.6 million permits (an 18% increase compared to 2021). This is followed by “family reasons” (24%) and then “other reasons” such as international protection (21%) and study (13%). 

Germany issued the highest number of permits in the EU (15% of the total, which is 538,690 permits), but it also experienced the largest increase compared to 2021 (+190%), mainly due to the rise in permits issued for family reasons. Spain ranks second in terms of absolute numbers of permits issued (12%, 457,412 permits), followed by Italy (9%, 337,788) and France (9%, 324,200). 

CountryPercentage of Total PermitsNumber of Permits
Czech Republic53,809


ILF Immigration Attorneys are here to help you after you have found employment in Italy by streamlining the visa acquisition process and turning your Italian dreams into tangible reality.

We have expertise in Italian Immigration Law: Italian immigration laws are multifaceted and subject to frequent updates. Navigating this complex landscape demands a deep understanding of the legal nuances. ILF Immigration Attorneys possess an up-to-the-minute grasp of Italian immigration regulations, ensuring that your application is meticulously prepared, compliant, and equipped to overcome potential hurdles.

Please note, that unfortunately we cannot help to find employment and do not have a job or career service.

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