Introduction of a New Visa in Italy

In the field of immigration and employment, Italy has recently introduced a new type of visa that represents a significant opportunity for Italian companies on the lookout for foreign workforce. This new visa allows the entry of non-EU workers without high professional qualifications and without the quantitative limits laid out in the so-called “Flows Decree”, which sets a maximum number of visas that can be issued yearly for each category.

Main Features of the New Visa

The new visa ― introduced with the Law Decree of 22 June 2023, No. 75, and the addition of Art. 27 para. 1 letter i bis of the Italian Immigration Act ― allows the entry into Italy of non-EU workers who do not meet the high professional requirements usually required for “extra quota” visas (i.e., those not subject to the quantitative limits of the Flows Decree), such as a degree or extensive previous experience.

To obtain this visa, two main requirements must be met:

  1. Non-EU Company Headquarters Requirement: The Italian company must have its main headquarters, a secondary office, a subsidiary, or its holding company in a non-EU country. Alternatively, the Italian company must own at least 20% of a company located outside the EU.
  2. Previous Work Requirement: The non-EU worker must have worked for at least 12 months in the last 48 months at the foreign office of the Italian company. It is not strictly required that the worker is still employed by the foreign company or office at the time of the entry clearance request; it is sufficient that they were employed for at least one year in the four years preceding the application.

The employment relationship with the requesting Italian company can be of two types:

  1. Transnational Posting: If the requesting worker is still employed by the foreign entity at the time of the application, they can be temporarily posted to Italy while maintaining the employment relationship with the foreign entity.
  2. Direct Hiring in Italy: If the worker is no longer employed by the foreign entity at the time of the entry clearance application, they must be directly hired by the Italian company.

Procedure for Obtaining the Visa

The procedural steps for obtaining the visa and residence permit follow the typical structure for visa and residence permit requests for employment and consist of the following steps:

  1. Entry clearance (“Nulla Osta”): The Italian employer must first submit an entry clearance application to the Immigration Desk of the Prefecture in the province where the company is located. Within 90 days, the Prefecture reviews the application and, if approved, sends the Entry Clearance to the competent Italian Consulate.
  2. National Visa: Once the Entry clearance is obtained, the worker must go to the Italian Consulate of the country of residency and apply for a National Visa for employment. The Consulate issues the visa within 30 days of the application.
  3. Residence Permit: After entering Italy, within 8 days, the worker must request an appointment at the Prefecture that issued the entry clearance to sign the so-called contract of stay between the employer, the worker, and the Prefecture. Subsequently, the Prefecture generates a residence permit application, which is sent to the Police Headquarters (Questura). Finally, the Police will take the worker’s fingerprints and issue the residence permits.

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