Italian working visas can be divided into two main categories: “in quota” and “extra quota” visas.
‘In quota’ visas are subject to a quantitative limitation: every year, the Italian Government decides how many visas can be issued for each category through the so-called Flow Decree (Decreto Flussi). The quotas are for subordinate work, seasonal work, and self-employment. Permits are normally granted on a first-come, first-served basis.
‘Extra quota’ visas, on the contrary, are not subjected to any quantitative limitation. This category is relevant to: lecturers and professors of foreign universities who have to carry out academic or teaching activities in Italy; translators and interpreters; employees of foreign companies or organisations carrying out activities in Italy, when the employer tasks the employee with work activities to be performed in Italy for a certain period of time; employees of foreign companies to be embarked on Italian cruises to perform work activities based on a service agreement with the Italian company or natural person owning or managing the ship; artists and technicians to be employed to perform operas, theatre shows, music and dance events; dancers, artists and musicians to be employed at bars, clubs or other entertainment venues; artists to be employed by companies or other private or public entities (active in the field of cinema, music, theatre, radio or television) to carry out cultural or folkloristic events; employees of a circus performing in Italy; professional athletes who intend to perform paid professional sports activities for an Italian sports club affiliated to the Italian National Olympic Committee (CONI); journalists employed by a foreign press organisation, a radio broadcaster or a tv network, as long as the journalist is accredited in Italy; au pairs or other people who take part in exchange programmes (established by an international agreement valid in Italy) to work part-time in Italy; nurses to be employed in Italian private or public health facilities or hospitals.
Step One: Applying for a Security Clearance (“Nulla Osta”): applicant has to file specific forms and documentation with the competent Italian immigration authority.
Step Two: Visa application: this must be filed with the Italian Consulate having jurisdiction over the worker’s current permanent residence. You cannot select a different Consulate, even if you are traveling and are closer to another Consulate. The Visa Application will involve completing the relevant application form and providing supporting documentation.
Step Three: Residence Permit Application: once the worker arrives in Italy, he/she must apply for the Residence Permit, also called “Permesso di Soggiorno”. It can be requested from any Post Office by submitting the relevant forms.
This process enables an employer from outside the EU to provisionally assign an employee possessing high-level managerial, administrative, or specialized skills to a subsidiary, affiliate, or branch in Italy. For a successful immigration process, it is necessary that both the company and the worker comply with specific requirements and supply specific documents.
The EU Blue Card is one of the extra quota work permits for non-EU highly specialized workers. It can be applied throughout the year, as it is not constrained by the immigration quotas established by the Italian government.
To secure the work permit, the applicant must fulfil these criteria:
1. Possess a higher education degree. The diploma must be authenticated by the Italian Consulate in the country of issuance (Declaration of Value – Dichiarazione di Valore).
2. Have a job offer from an Italian employer for a high-level job position.
3. Compensation in Italy satisfies the EU Blue Card wage stipulation: The remuneration proposed should not be less than 3 times the minimum wage to qualify for exemption from national health care contributions.
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