What does a foreigner need to work in Italy?

What does a foreigner need to work in Italy?
What does a foreigner need to work in Italy?
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Access to the Italian labor market takes place in different ways for EU foreign workers compared to non-EU foreign workers: for the former, no particular formalities are required while for the latter, the procedure provided for by the Consolidated Immigration Act must be followed.

Italian immigration laws provide that a foreign citizen, EU or non-EU citizen, may enter our country for work reasons, however, following different procedures depending on his nationality. More precisely, what does a foreigner need to work in Italy?

If it is a citizen of a member country of the European Union, to access work in Italy, it is sufficient that he is in possession of a valid identification document. As a European, in fact, he does not need a visa or a residence permit and his hiring takes place with the same formalities required for hiring an Italian worker.

On the other hand, in the case of a non-EU citizen, he must have a regular residence permit and a visa. The employer, for his part, must obtain appropriate documentation.

The entry into Italy of non-EU citizens for work reasons, both subordinate – even seasonal – and autonomous, is possible only within the maximum quotas established annually by the specific decrees for planning entry flows for work reasons. These decrees (flow decrees) are issued by the President of the Council of Ministers on the basis of the information provided by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies on the state of employment and on the number of foreigners registered on the placement lists, as well as on the data concerning the actual job requests provided by the Computerized Registry, established at the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies. The latest flow decree is the Dpcm of 21 December 2021, published in the Official Gazette no. 12 of January 17, 2022.

So let’s see more in detail what does a foreigner need to work in Italy.

Foreign EU citizen: how do you need to work in Italy?

The foreign citizen belonging to one EU state who enters Italy to work, must be equipped with:

  • of the identity card valid for expatriation or del passportboth valid;
  • of the fiscal Codewhich can be requested at the competent offices of the Revenue Agency upon presentation of the identification document.

Furthermore, if the foreign EU citizen intends to stay in our country for more than 3 monthsmust ask for the residence in Italy. He can, therefore, start working as an employee or self-employed by opening his own VAT number.

The entrance and access to the work of the non-EU citizen in our country it is regulated by the Unified Text on Immigration [1] and the related Implementing Regulation [2].


In particular for enter Italy the non-EU citizen must be in possession of a passport valid (or other equivalent document) and of entry visa (in the specific case of the entry visa for work), which must be requested at the Italian Embassy or Consulates in the country of origin or permanent residence of the non-EU foreign citizen.

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L’entry into Italy it is allowed with short-stay visas, valid for up to 3 months, and for long-term stays that involve the granting of a (long-term) residence permit with the same reason as the visa. For stays of less than 3 months, visas issued by diplomatic authorities of other States with which Italy has ratified agreements, or on the basis of EU regulations, are considered valid.

To work in Italy the non-EU foreign citizen must be the holder of a residency permit for work reasons, which must be requested within 8 working days of entering the Italian territory. The relative application must be presented to the Police Headquarters of the Province in which he intends to stay.

The residence permit for work reasons can be of several types, namely for:

  • subordinate work;
  • seasonal work;
  • multi-year seasonal work;
  • self-employment.

The non-EU foreign citizen can access the Italian labor market:

  1. directly in Italy, if he is already on the territory of our country and is in possession of a regular residence permit that enables him to work as well as possessing the requisites prescribed by law. In that case, the employer must fill out a single model of hiring communication of the non-EU worker in electronic format, for this purpose using the computer system for sending mandatory communications;
  2. from‘abroadin the’scope of entry quotas annually established by the flows decree. The Italian or foreign employer legally resident in Italy must present the request for employment of the non-EU worker (request for authorization) to Unique Immigration Desk (Sui) of the Province of residence or of the one where the registered office or the work performance takes place. This application can be presented only after the publication in the Official Gazette of the annual flow planning decree. To request the authorization, it is necessary to follow the procedures indicated in specific joint circulars between the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies and the Ministry of the Interior, which are published in advance of the date scheduled for the submission of applications. Furthermore, before submitting the request, the employer must verify that no Italian, EU or non-EU worker registered in the employment lists or registered as unemployed is available to accept that specific job. In case of acceptance of the application, the employer is summoned to sign the residence contract and to issue the permit. Subsequently, he must notify the worker who must go to the diplomatic / consular representation to obtain the entry visa for Italy. Within 8 days of arrival in our country, the worker must go to the Prefecture, again at the Single Desk to also sign the residence contract, collect the tax code and apply for a residence permit. The clearance has a duration of 180 days from issue. If it is not used, it must be returned to Sui, attaching an information note stating the reason. The nulla osta is revoked if it is returned when it is still valid. In the event of a negative opinion on the issue of the permit, the employer receives a notice of rejection of the application with motivation;
  3. fromabroad, outside the quotas established by the flows decree, and in relation to some particular cases of entry. This type of access to the Italian labor market, in fact, it concerns highly qualified non-EU workers such as university professors, nurses, show business workers, managers, who can enter the Italian territory throughout the year regardless of what is established by the flows decree. Moreover, there is no numerical limit for these admissions except for those for training and professional training internships, professional / amateur sports and voluntary work for which a specific quota is determined.


[1] Legislative Decree no. 286/1998.

[2] Presidential Decree no. 394/1999.

The article is in Italian

Tags: foreigner work Italy

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