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The International Comparative Legal Guide to:
A practical cross-border insight into corporate immigration law
Published by Global Legal Group, with contributions from:
Barrios & Fuentes, Abogados
Bloomfield Law Practice
Ceballos Abogados
Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates
Chow King & Associates
CS Global Partners
EmpLaw Advokater AB
Enrique Arellano Rincón Abogados, S.C.
Fredrikson & Byron P.A.
Gomberg Dalfen S.E.N.C.
Harvey Law Group
Holding Redlich
Karl Waheed Avocats
Kingsley Napley LLP
Klasko Immigration Law Partners
Law firm Šafar & Partners, Ltd
Lenz & Staehelin
Lund Elmer Sandager Law Firm LLP
Mazzeschi srl
Miller Mayer, LLP
Nakai Immigration Services LPC
NAVARRO CASTEX Abogados
Oberhammer Rechtsanwälte GmbH
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal
Middle East LLP
3rd Edition
Corporate Immigration 2016
ICLG
WWW.ICLG.CO.UK
Further copies of this book and others in the series can be ordered from the publisher. Please call +44 20 7367 0720
Disclaimer
This publication is for general information purposes only. It does not purport to provide comprehensive full legal or other advice.
Global Legal Group Ltd. and the contributors accept no responsibility for losses that may arise from reliance upon information contained in this publication.
This publication is intended to give an indication of legal issues upon which you may need advice. Full legal advice should be taken from a qualified
professional when dealing with specific situations.
The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Corporate Immigration 2016
General Chapters:
Country Question and Answer Chapters:
1	 Tightening the Screws: The Future of Corporate Immigration in the UK – Nicolas Rollason &		
Kim Vowden, Kingsley Napley LLP	 1
2	 Corroboration Requirements Increase the Burden on Transferees and Skilled Workers –		
William A. Stock, Klasko Immigration Law Partners	 4
3	 Best Practice within the Citizenship by Investment Market – Micha-Rose Emmett, CS Global Partners	 7
4	 Visa Options for Employees Who Lose the H-1B Lottery – Kristal Ozmun & Stephen Yale-Loehr,		
Miller Mayer, LLP	 11
5	 The ASEAN Economic Community – a Myth or a Reality? – Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat,		
Harvey Law Group	 16
6	 AILA: An Overview – Noriko Kurotsu & Audrey Lustgarten, American Immigration Lawyers Association	 21
7	 Argentina	 NAVARRO CASTEX Abogados: Sofia Inchauspe & Florencia Cavazza	 25
8	 Australia	 Holding Redlich: Maria Debra Jockel	 32
9	 Austria	 Oberhammer Rechtsanwälte GmbH: Ewald Oberhammer & Petra Pardatscher	 40
10	 Canada	 Gomberg Dalfen S.E.N.C.: Avi Gomberg & Isabelle Owston	 48
11	 China	 Fredrikson & Byron P.A.: Laura Danielson & Zhu “June” Cheng	 54
12	 Denmark	 Lund Elmer Sandager Law Firm LLP: Michael Møller Nielsen &		
	 Julie Flindt Rasmussen	 61
13	 France	 Karl Waheed Avocats: Karl Waheed	 68
14	 Hong Kong	 Chow King & Associates: Eugene Chow	 75
15	 Italy	 Mazzeschi srl: Marco Mazzeschi	 83
16	 Japan	 Nakai Immigration Services LPC: Masahito Nakai	 90
17	 Malta	 Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates: Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti &		
	 Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker	 97
18	 Mexico	 Enrique Arellano Rincón Abogados, S.C.: Enrique J. Arellano	 105
19	 Myanmar	 Harvey Law Group: Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat	 112
20	 Nigeria	 Bloomfield Law Practice: Olamide Soetan	 118
21	 Peru	 Barrios & Fuentes, Abogados: Ariel Orrego-Villacorta Icochea &		
	 María Gracia De La Piedra	 123
22	 Slovenia	 Law firm Šafar & Partners, Ltd: Martin Šafar & Polona Boršnak	 131
23	 Spain	 Ceballos Abogados: Andrés de Ceballos Cabrillo & Raquel Aberasturi Vega	 137
24	 Sweden	 EmpLaw Advokater AB: Jeanette Siwerman	 143
25	 Switzerland	 Lenz & Staehelin: Rayan Houdrouge & Matthias Oertle	 149
26	 Thailand	 Harvey Law Group: Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat	 156
27	 United Arab Emirates	 PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal Middle East LLP: Anirban Chatterji	 163
28	 United Kingdom	 Kingsley Napley LLP: Nicolas Rollason & Ilda de Sousa	 169
29	 USA	 Klasko Immigration Law Partners: William A. Stock & Feige M. Grundman	 182
30	 Vietnam	 Harvey Law Group: Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat	 189
Contributing Editor
Nicolas Rollason,
Kingsley Napley LLP
Sales Director
Florjan Osmani
Account Directors
Oliver Smith, Rory Smith
Sales Support Manager
Paul Mochalski
Sub Editor
Nicholas Catlin
Senior Editor
Rachel Williams
Chief Operating Officer
Dror Levy
Group Consulting Editor
Alan Falach
Group Publisher
Richard Firth
Published by
Global Legal Group Ltd.
59 Tanner Street
London SE1 3PL, UK
Tel: +44 20 7367 0720
Fax: +44 20 7407 5255
Email: info@glgroup.co.uk
URL: www.glgroup.co.uk
GLG Cover Design
F&F Studio Design
GLG Cover Image Source
iStockphoto
Printed by
Ashford Colour Press Ltd
August 2016
Copyright © 2016
Global Legal Group Ltd.
All rights reserved
No photocopying
ISBN 978-1-911367-07-9
ISSN 2054-7579
Strategic Partners
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Chapter 15
1	Introduction
1.1	 What are the main sources of immigration law in your
jurisdiction?
The main sources of immigration law are as follows:
■	 Legislative Decree No. 286 of 25 July 1998 – a consolidated
code on immigration and on dispositions applicable to foreign
citizens;
■	 Presidential Decree No. 394 of 31 August 1999 – for the
implementation and enforcement of dispositions set forth by
Legislative Decree No. 286/98;
■	 Ministry of Interior Directive 1.3.2000 – defining the means
of support for entrance and stay in the country;
■	 Legislative Decree No. 30 of 6 February 2007 – implementing
EU Directive No. 2004/38/CE on the right of citizens of the
Union and their family members to move and reside freely
within the territory of the Member States; and
■	 Interministerial Decree No. 850 of 11 May 2011 – defining
various types of visas and conditions for their issuance.
1.2	 What authorities administer the corporate immigration
system in your jurisdiction?
The following authorities administer the immigration system:
1)	 The Ministry of the Interior (‘Ministero dell’Interno’),
in particular the ‘Dipartimento per le libertà civili e per
l’immigrazione’: Immigration Offices (‘Sportello Unico per
l’Immigrazione’) are established in each ‘Provincia’(Province)
at the ‘Prefettura’ (Government representative office).
2)	 The Labour Office (‘Direzione Territoriale del Lavoro’, or
DtL).
3)	 The Immigration Police Department (‘Questura Ufficio
Immigrazione’).
4)	 The Central Directorate of the Immigration and Border Police
(‘Direzione Centrale della Polizia dell’Immigrazione e delle
Frontiere’).
5)	 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour
and Social Policy.
1.3	 Is your jurisdiction part of a multilateral agreement
between countries (EU/NAFTA/MERCOSUR) which
facilitates the movement of people between countries
for employment purposes?
Italy is a Member State of the EU and EEA (European Economic
Area), and therefore grants immigration and employment benefits
to EU, EEA, and EFTA (European Free Trade Area) citizens in
compliance with EU freedom of movement legislation. According
to Directive 2004/38/EC, EU citizens do not need a permit or visa
to enter and work in Italy. This is also granted to third-country
nationals whose relatives are EU nationals.
Italy is part of the Schengen Agreement – a territory where the
free movement of persons is guaranteed. The signatory states have
abolished all internal borders for a single external border. There
are shared common rules and procedures for visas for short stays,
asylum requests and border controls. The Schengen Borders Code
(Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of
the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on
the rules governing the movement of persons across borders) governs
the crossing of the external border, while a common visa policy
(Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of
the Council of 13 July 2009 Establishing a Community Code on Visas
– Visa Code) regulates the entry of legal visitors into the EU.
Italy has entered into social security bilateral agreements with
several countries and the EU to let foreign employees who work
or have been temporarily working in Italy to remain on their
home country’s social security scheme; to avoid paying certain
contributions in Italy and to maintain pension rights in relation to
the period spent working in the Italian territory.
2	 Business Visitors
2.1	 Can business visitors enter your jurisdiction under a
relevant visa waiver programme?
Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for short
stays – a maximum of 90 out of every 180 days in Italy or the
Schengen Area – for business purposes:
Albania; Andorra; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia;
Bahamas; Barbados; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Brazil; Brunei; Canada;
Chile; Costa Rica; Croatia; Dominica; El Salvador; Former
Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM); Grenada; Guatemala;
Honduras; Hong Kong; Israel; Japan; Macao; Malaysia; Mauritius;
Mexico; Monaco; Montenegro; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Northern
Mariana Islands; Panama; Paraguay; St. Kitts and Nevis; Samoa; St.
Lucia; Serbia; Seychelles; Singapore; South Korea; St. Vincent and
the Grenadines; Taiwan; Timor-Leste; Trinidad and Tobago; United
Arab Emirates; United States; Uruguay; Vanuatu; and Venezuela.
EU/EEA/EFTA nationals do not require a visa in any case.
Mazzeschi srl Marco Mazzeschi
Italy
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Italian embassy having jurisdiction over the place of the applicant’s
residence abroad. Such a visa can be granted if the applicant has
already obtained a specific Italian permission called ‘nulla osta’
(work authorisation for subordinate work). Also, the Labour
Inspectorate Authorities ensure the regularity of labour relations and
carry out inspections on employers who employ non-EU citizens, to
ascertain whether they are compliant with labour and immigration
regulations. Inspectors have the authority to enter freely, without
notice, any premises or place of work, to carry out examinations,
tests and investigations, and to interrogate the employer and the
employees on any alleged illegalities.
3.3	 What are the penalties for organisations found to be
employing foreign nationals without permission to
work?
Under Italian law, organisations found not to be compliant with
labour and immigration regulations are subject to criminal and
administrative sanctions. Criminal liability is personal, i.e. only
individuals are subject to criminal sanctions, which would therefore
be applied not to the company but rather to the officers and managers
who act in its name and on its behalf. However, companies are held
liable for the payment of pecuniary fines imposed upon their legal
representatives,officersandmanagers. Thepenaltyforhiringforeign
workers without a permit of stay, or with a permit that has expired
or been revoked or annulled, is imprisonment from six months up to
three years and a fine of €5,000 per illegal employee. In addition,
the employer is also forced to pay an accessory administrative fine
which will amount to the average cost of repatriation of the illegally
employed worker.
4	 Corporate Immigration – General
4.1	 Is there a system for registration of employers who
wish to hire foreign nationals?
Italian employers intending to hire a non-EU worker must sponsor
a Subordinate Work Permit application. These are regulated by Art.
22 of Legislative Decree No. 286/98. Subordinate Work Permits are
issued subject to the availability of quotas. The Italian Government
periodically issues a limited number of quotas, which are allocated to
each Italian Province. There is an exception to the quota system for
Temporary Work Assignments (temporary because the assignment
cannot exceed four or five years in total, depending on the type of
permit). The condition for these permits is that workers remain
hired by the foreign sending company and are temporarily assigned
to work at an Italian company. Temporary Work Assignments are
regulated by Art. 27, a), f), g) and i) of Legislative Decree No.
286/98. Another exception to the quota system is the so-called EU
Blue Card (Decree No. 108/2012) allowing Italian employers to hire
highly qualified foreign workers.
4.2	 Do employers who hire foreign nationals have
ongoing duties to ensure immigration compliance?
Employers must sponsor an employee for a work permit in
accordance with local requirements (Law Decree No. 286, Arts 22
to 27 quater; Presidential Decree No. 394,Arts 29 to 41), as follows:
■	 a locally registered company must file a work permit
application; and
■	 an individual regularly residing in Italy must represent the
local company.
2.2	 What is the maximum period for which business
visitors can enter your jurisdiction?
As per Regulation (EU) No. 610/2013 of 26 June 2013, the
maximum duration of an authorised “short stay” for third-country
nationals in the Schengen Area – irrespective of whether they are
visa-holders or visa-exempt – is defined as “90 days in any 180-day
period”.
An absence for an uninterrupted period of 90 days allows for a new
stay of up to 90 days.
2.3	 What activities are business visitors able to
undertake?
According to the Decree of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 11
May 2011, a business visitor can come to Italy for a short stay
(90 days in a 180-day period) for “travel that has an economic/
commercial basis, to make contacts or conduct negotiations, to
learn or carry out maintenance and repairs on equipment and
machinery purchased or sold pursuant to a commercial contract or
joint venture agreement”.
2.4	 Are there any special visitor categories which will
enable business visitors to undertake work or provide
services for a temporary period?
No. Gainful work activity in Italy is not allowed under business
visitor status.
2.5	 Can business visitors receive short-term training?
The only indication in the law is that a business visitor can “learn
or carry out maintenance and repairs on equipment and machinery
purchased or sold pursuant to a commercial contract or joint
venture agreement”.
3		 Immigration Compliance and Illegal 		
	Working
3.1	 Do the national authorities in your jurisdiction operate
a system of compliance inspections of employers
who regularly employ foreign nationals?
In Italy, the supervisory function of labour relations depends on
the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which takes on and
coordinates all initiatives, including those designed to tackle
undeclared or irregular work.
A ‘Central Directorate’ has been established at the Ministry, which
coordinates the inspections carried out by the supervisory bodies,
who mainly consist of the ‘Carabinieri’, the ‘Guardia di Finanza’
and the inspection staff of social security institutions.
3.2	 What are the rules on the prevention of illegal
working?
In order to prevent illegal working, the employer should verify
that the person they are employing has the right to work in Italy.
Foreign nationals entering the country must be in possession of the
relevant Italian work authorisations. In particular, foreign citizens
must enter Italy with a specific work visa, which is issued by the
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■	 translators and interpreters;
■	 university professors and researchers;
■	 professional athletes and sportspersons;
■	 entertainers, circus artists and travelling performers;
■	 domestic assistants, in specific cases;
■	 people authorised to stay for vocational training reasons;
■	 seafarers; and
■	 employees of diplomatic representations or international-law
bodies based in Italy.
4.5	 Is there a recognition that some occupations may be
in short supply and do special exemptions apply to
certain sectors and occupations?
Please see question 4.4 above.
4.6	 Are there annual quotas for different types of
employment-related work permits or visas?
Yes. By means of the annual Decree (‘Decreto Flussi’), the number
of residence and work permits that can be issued is determined
based on the work category and nationality of the workers. Quotas
should be issued taking into account the work sectors where there
is a labour shortage.
4.7	 Are there restrictions on the number of foreign
workers an employer may sponsor, in relation to
a maximum percentage of foreign workers in the
employer’s workforce?
The law does not set any specific requirement. Especially if the
Italian host company is doing regular business and does not have
collective dismissals or an ongoing reduction in the workforce, there
should be no particular issues.
4.8	 Are employees who are sponsored to work in your
jurisdiction required to demonstrate language
proficiency?
As of 10 March 2012, all foreigners over 16 who enter Italy for
the first time and apply for a residence permit with a validity of at
least one year are required to sign an Integration Agreement with
the immigration authorities. Based on this, foreigners are accredited
with points or credits centred on their level of integration in Italian
society. The implementation of the Agreement conditions has an
impact on the legal status of foreigners, who have two years (which
can be extended up to three years) in order to:
a)	 acquire knowledge of the spoken Italian language equal to
at least level A2 of the Common European Framework of
Reference for Languages; and
b)	 acquire sufficient knowledge of the principles of the Italian
Constitution, public institutions and civil life in Italy.
4.9	 Are employees who are sponsored to work in your
jurisdiction required to undergo medical examinations
before being admitted?
No, they are not.
The company must specifically indicate in the application whether:
(i)	 it has enforced any collective dismissal for reduction of
personnel during the last 12 months; and
(ii)	 it has any workers under ordinary or extraordinary
redundancies, with the same skills and characteristics as the
worker on assignment. If collective dismissals have been
enforced, this may have a negative impact on the issuance of
the permit(s).
When filing a work permit application, the Italian sponsor company
must undertake a number of commitments, including:
1)	 ensuring the foreign worker’s wage is not lower than that of a
local employee hired in the same job position/level;
2)	 guaranteeing that the worker has suitable accommodation;
3)	 guaranteeing that the expenses for the worker’s repatriation –
if applicable – are covered in full;
4)	 guaranteeing that the authorities are duly notified of any
variation on the employment contract; and
5)	 complying with all current labour obligations, including the
payment of the applicable social security charges.
Even when foreign nationals are working in Italy on assignment
(not employed by an Italian company), there is still a requirement
to comply with social security provisions (see Law No. 398/1987).
Obligations will start from the moment of execution of the contract
of stay.
The Italian host company is jointly liable with the sending company
for the payment of social security charges (the sending company
will need to register with the National Social Security Agency and
pay the relevant charges for the workers).
The sponsor company, in its role of “employer”, must notify
– through a dedicated online system – a number of variations
regarding the employment contract (hiring, transfer of workplace,
end of contract, etc.).
4.3	 Do the immigration authorities undertake routine
inspections of employers who sponsor foreign
nationals, to verify immigration compliance?
The employer should confirm that each foreign national employee
is authorised to work, prior to commencing. Italy does not have
formal and routine systems in place for verifying work authorisation
but leaves the responsibility of verifying the regularity of the permit
to the employer. If the potential employee already resides in Italy,
the employer must ensure they are in possession of a permit which
allows work (or application/renewal) before hiring or, in case the
potential foreign employee is abroad, must apply for a work permit.
4.4	 Do the immigration authorities maintain a list of
skilled occupations which may be filled by foreign
nationals?
There are a number of skilled occupations which are not limited by
the quota system and for which applications can be filed at any time:
■	 managers and highly skilled personnel from foreign
companies;
■	 employees of individuals or corporations carrying out
contracted work in Italy;
■	 employees, with specific skills (on secondment), of
organisations and businesses operating in Italy;
■	 journalists and reporters;
■	 professional nurses;
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activities and all activities in which a professional has discretion and
autonomy regarding the organisation of his work and is not ranked
below another employee in terms of seniority or office hierarchy.
It generally includes the appointment of the individual as a Board
Member of a company.
Autonomous Work Permits can be issued for:
■	 Activities which are subject to a licence (doctors, lawyers,
architects, etc.).
■	 Consultancy activities – freelancers and anyone willing to
carry out non-licensed activities.
■	 Entrepreneurs and officers of Italian companies.
Another option is the Italy start-up visa programme, aimed at non-
EU nationals intending to set up an innovative start-up business in
Italy or to join an established Italian start-up as a shareholder/self-
employed worker.
The issuance of Autonomous Work Permits is subject to availability
of the quotas, as provided by Art. 3 of Decree No. 286/98. The
Italian Government periodically issues a limited number of quotas
(usually once a year).
7	 Temporary Work Permits
7.1	 Is there an immigration category permitting the hiring of
temporary workers for exchanges, career development,
internships or other non-economic purposes?
A separate category of visas exists for attending training and
internships; in such cases, it is necessary to submit a training
programme plan which must be approved by the local authorities.
7.2	 Are there sector-specific temporary work permit
categories which enable foreign workers to perform
temporary work?
There are no specific temporary work permit categories in Italy.
Depending on the length of the stay and the activities the worker
will need to perform, the specific work permit to be requested
will be determined on a case-by-case basis (internship, training,
autonomous or subordinate work, or local hiring through an EU
Blue Card work permit).
8	 Group or Intra-Company Transfer Work
Permits
8.1	 Does a specific immigration category exist for inter-
company transfers within international groups of
companies?
A worker who has an intra-company work permit under Art. 27 (a)
can obtain permanent residency after five years of residency only if
he is locally hired. Please note that this is not possible for workers
who have a permit under Art. 27 (g), which covers a different kind
of intra-company assignment.
8.2	 What conditions must an employing company or
organisation fulfil in order to qualify as part of a group
of companies?
The home and host company should be affiliated or part of the same
business group or joint-venture group.
4.10	 Are employees who are sponsored to work in your
jurisdiction required to have medical insurance or are
they entitled to any free public medical services?
Foreign nationals must either be covered by private health insurance
or register with the Italian National Health Service.
The following foreign nationals are required to register with the
National Health Service and are entitled to register for free:
■	 Holders of a residence permit for subordinate work
(‘local hires’), self-employment, family, asylum, asylum
applications, adoption, foster care, citizenship or religion, or
those enrolled in unemployment lists.
■	 Holders of a family permit.
Locally hired foreign workers (employees on a local contract) and
their dependants are eligible for free registration with the National
Health Service and have a right to medical assistance.
Non-EU nationals registered with the National Health Service are
entitled to receive healthcare provided for by law and have equal
treatment as Italian citizens.
Foreign nationals not falling within the above-mentioned categories
may either register voluntarily with the National Health System (by
paying an annual amount defined by local authority) or purchase an
insurance policy valid throughout Italy with an Italian or foreign
insurance company.
4.11	 Does the work permit system allow employees who
hold work permits to be seconded to a client site?
Locally hired foreigners are subject to the same labour regulations
as EU and local employees. In case of temporary assignments, there
is a specific work permit type – Service Agreement Assignment –
that allows a foreign sending company to assign employees to a
client site of an Italian company.
5	 Highly Skilled Visas
5.1	 Is there an immigration category which covers highly
skilled individuals?
UnderArt. 27 of Law Decree No. 286/98, the following categories of
highly skilled workers are listed (exempted from the quota system):
1.	intra-company transfers for highly specialised personnel or
managers working in the same sector for at least six months;
2.	 highly qualified workers required to carry out a specific task
or activity;
3.	 highly specialised workers to be directly hired by an Italian
employer, and who are eligible for an EU Blue Card; and
4.	 special categories such as artists, athletes, university lecturers,
translators and interpreters.
6	 Investment or Establishment Work
Permits
6.1	 Is there an immigration category which permits
employees to be authorised to work based on
investment into your jurisdiction?
Italian immigration law provides the right, under certain conditions,
for foreign nationals to enter Italy and carry out self-employment
activities. ‘Autonomous Work’ refers to freelance and consultancy
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9	 New Hire Work Permits
9.1	 What is the main immigration category used for
employers who wish to obtain work permits for new
hires?
Subordinate workers (i.e. employees) are those whose services are
hired by a company or an employer operating in Italy. The issuance
of a visa for ‘lavoro subordinato’ is subject to the specific annually
released Government quotas for the intake of foreign workers. Only if
quotas are issued and available can the Italian company apply for and
obtain a work permit in order to be authorised to hire the applicant.
An exception to the quota system is for highly skilled workers (those
who have a three-year university diploma are offered a minimum one-
year contract and a salary of no less than €25,000 per year). In this
case, the employer must obtain a specific work permit under the Blue
Card Directive (Council Directive 2009/50/EC of 25 May 2009).
9.2	 Is there a requirement for labour market testing,
to demonstrate that there are no suitable resident
workers, before a work permit can be issued to new
hires?
Employers are required to check with the relevant Employment
Centre as to the availability of workers already in the country.
9.3	 Are there any exemptions to carrying out a resident
labour market test?
The labour market test requirement is referred to in Art. 22 of
Italian Immigration Law (general provisions for application for
a subordinate work permit) but there is no indication of it in the
provisions regulating intra-company assignment work permit
applications. As a matter of fact, the majority of immigration
offices do not require evidence of the fact that a market test has been
conducted for applications for assignments.
9.4	 What is the process for obtaining a work permit for a
new hire?
A work permit application follows an online procedure at the Italian
Immigration Office having jurisdiction over the employee’s place of
work for police/labour/immigration authority approval; information
is preliminarily submitted online then original documents are filed
for final approval.
9.5	 What is the process for the employee to obtain a visa
under the intra-company group transfer category for a
new hire?
Under the intra-company group transfer procedure, the worker
must continue to be paid by their foreign employer, and can only be
seconded to the Italian branch or subsidiary office, not locally hired.
The process is the same as for all other work permit categories.
Before he/she can apply for the work visa, he/she must wait for the
work permit to be issued.
9.6	 How long does the process of obtaining the work
permit and initial visa for a new hire take?
See question 8.6 above.
8.3	 What conditions must the employer fulfil in order
to obtain a work permit for an intra-company group
employee?
Employers must sponsor an employee for a work permit in
accordance with local requirements (Law Decree No. 286, Arts
22–27 quater; Presidential Decree No. 394, Arts 29–41) and pay the
relevant charges for the workers.
See also question 4.2 above.
8.4	 What is the process for obtaining a work permit for an
intra-company group employee?
A work permit application follows an online procedure at the Italian
immigration office having jurisdiction over an employee place of
work for police/labour/immigration authority approval; information
is preliminarily submitted online then original documents are filed
for final approval.
8.5	 What is the process for the employee to obtain a visa
under the intra-company group transfer category?
Once the work permit is issued, the relevant Consulate/Embassy is
informed of the approval and the employee can submit the necessary
documents and passport for visa stamping at the Italian Consulate
which has jurisdiction over their residential area outside Italy –
proof of residency is required. The passport is kept by the Consulate
and returned to the applicant once the visa is approved.
8.6	 How long does the process of obtaining the work
permit and initial visa take?
Work permit: this should be issued within 60 days of application.
In practice, processing time depends on the location where the
application is filed and on the authorities’ workload at the time of
application.
Visa: this will take a maximum of 30 days; it is usually issued within
one week.
8.7	 How long are visas under the “initial” category valid
for, and can they be extended?
The initial visa is valid for entry into Italy for a maximum of 365
days. Once the applicant has entered Italy and completed the
registration procedures, they can extend the intra-company work
permit for a maximum of four or five years.
8.8	 Can employees coming under the intra-company
transfer route apply for permanent residence?
A foreign national assigned in Italy on an intra-company work
permit for highly specialised personnel or managers regulated by
Art. 27 clause a) working in the same sector for at least six months
can be locally hired at the end of the assignment and apply for a
local hire work permit which will entitle to permanent residence.
WWW.ICLG.CO.UK88 ICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016
© Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London
Italy
ItalyMazzeschi srl
■	 dependent adult children (18 or above) who cannot take
care of themselves because they are permanently and totally
disabled;
■	 parents who are financially dependent or aged over 65, in
case they do not have other children in the country of origin
or provenance or if these are not able to support them for
serious and documented health problems. In case of parents
aged over 65, it is mandatory that they be covered by
comprehensive health insurance); and
■	 family reunification with the biological parent of minors
already regularly residing in Italy with the other parent.
11.2	 Do civil/unmarried or same-sex partners qualify as
family members?
A law regulating civil/unmarried and same-sex couples (Law 20
May 2016 No. 76), which entered into force on 5 June 2016, was
approved by Parliament. Implementing decrees will follow to ensure
other regulations (including immigration) are in line with the new
law. We expect that civil/unmarried and same-sex married couples
will soon enjoy the same rights as everyone else with respect to the
immigration regulations.
11.3	 Do spouses and partners have access to the labour
market when they are admitted as dependants?
Yes, once they hold a family residence permit.
11.4	 Do children have access to the labour market?
Only after 16 years of age.
12		 Permanent Residence
12.1	 What are the conditions for obtaining permanent
residence?
A foreign non-EU national can apply for permanent residence after
five years of legal stay in the country, i.e. an EU Residence Permit
Card for long-term residents – in Italian, the ‘Permesso di soggiorno
CE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo or permesso di soggiorno UE
per soggiornanti di lungo periodo’ (formerly known as the ‘Carta
di soggiorno per cittadini stranieri’), Council Directive 2003/109/
EC of 25 November 2003.
The conditions for obtaining this are as follows:
■	 Five years of temporary residence status (any period in
which the foreign national has resided in Italy with a short
stay visa, received a residence permit for a short period of
time or resided in the country in accordance with the Vienna
Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the Vienna
Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, the Convention
on Special Missions of 1969, or the Vienna Convention on the
Representation of States in their Relations with International
Organisations of a Universal Character of 1975, is not
included in the residence period). Absence from Italy during
the five-year period should be no longer than six consecutive
months and should not exceed 10 months in total. Absence
shall be considered to be justifiable for military duties, for
serious and proven reasons and for serious illness.
■	 The applicant must apply for (through the Ministry of
Interior website) and pass an Italian language test (A2
level). Exemptions are in place for children under 14,
9.7	 How long are initial visas for new hires granted for
and can they be extended?
The initial visa is valid for entry into Italy for a maximum of 365
days. Once the applicant has entered Italy and completed the
registration procedures, they can extend the local hire work permit
indefinitely, based on the employment contract.
9.8	 Is labour market testing required when the employee
extends their residence?
No, it is not.
9.9	 Can employees coming as new hires apply for
permanent residence?
Yes, this is possible after at least five years of regular stay in the
country on a residence permit.
10		 Conditions of Stay for Work Permit 		
	Holders
10.1	 What are the conditions of stay of those who obtain
work permits and are resident on this basis?
Once the foreign worker receives work authorisation, they apply for
the relevant visa at the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their home
country, which will issue an entry visa for the applicant to travel to
Italy.
Within eight days of arrival, the worker must go to the Sportello
Unico that issued the work authorisation to complete the registration
formalities and submit a residence permit application.
10.2	 Are work permit holders required to register with
municipal authorities or the police after their arrival?
Registration with the Italian authorities for a work visa is required
within eight days of arrival in the country. This is for the purposes
of completing the contract of stay and permit of stay applications.
Having completed this formality, the worker is thereby compliant
with the relevant immigration rules in order to start work, and can
file the registration with the local municipal authorities.
11		 Dependants
11.1	 Who qualifies as a dependant of a person coming to
work on a sponsored basis?
Foreign nationals are eligible to apply for family reunification if
they hold a residence permit/visa with a validity of at least one year
(for employed or self-employed work, asylum, study, religious or
family reasons). Family members of foreign nationals who qualify
for dependant permits are:
■	 a legally married spouse aged at least 18;
■	 any minor children of the couple (i.e. unmarried children
under 18 years of age), or of one member of the couple (only
if the parent has full custody and the children are dependent
on them, including adopted children);
89WWW.ICLG.CO.UKICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016
© Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London
Italy
ItalyMazzeschi srl
Mazzeschi is a boutique firm specialised in corporate immigration, commercial law and citizenship law. The firm has offices in Milan, Rome and
Florence and a representative office in Taipei. In addition to corporate immigration work, it also acts for individuals with respect to Italian citizenship
acquisition. Mazzeschi is an official partner of the Invitalia Business Network (a Government agency for the promotion of inward investments). The
firm has a team of 20 lawyers and paralegals and a well-established network of co-counsels throughout Italy.
Marco Mazzeschi is admitted to the Milan Bar Association (1988),
to the Taipei Bar Association (2016) and as a Foreign Legal Affairs
Attorney in Taiwan (2016). He is also a full member of the American
Immigration LawyersAssociation (AILA– 2001). Marco has been listed
since 2005 in the International Who’s Who of Business Immigration
Lawyers as the leading practitioner in Italy. He is the author of many
publications in the field of business immigration and corporate law.
He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars.
Marco Mazzeschi
Mazzeschi srl
Via Leopardi 7
20123 Milan
Italy
Tel:	 +39 0577 926921
Email:	mm@mazzeschi.it
URL:	www.mazzeschi.it
13		 Bars to Admission
13.1	 What are the main bars to admission for work?
For foreigners applying for a work permit who are not EEA or
Schengen citizens, the main bars to admission will be the strict
requirements concerning possession of in-demand skills as a
prerequisite for obtaining a work permit. Coupled with a system of
quotas on skilled immigration which supplements the case-by-case
assessment of individual applications, the bar for obtaining a work
permit must be considered as high.
13.2	 Are criminal convictions a bar to obtaining work
permission or a visa?
Criminal convictions can be an impediment in obtaining a visa and/
or residential permit in Italy, especially if they are for conduct which
makes the foreign national a risk to national security, public order
or health.
foreign nationals having language-based learning disabilities
(certified by a medical doctor), foreign nationals who have
the Italian language certificate (Level A2), foreign nationals
with a lower or higher secondary school diploma in Italy,
university students, PhD and Master’s students, managers,
university professors, translators, interpreters, accredited
foreign correspondents and researchers.
■	 Proof of a minimum income no lower than the annual welfare
benefit (if also applying for a family member, the minimum
income level is increased).
■	 The foreign national must not be a threat to public health and
security.
■	 When applying for family members, suitable accommodation
is required.
■	 At the time of application, the foreign national must be
resident in Italy (i.e. registered with the local town hall).
■	 Evidence of eligibility: (1) tax declaration, documents
proving the foreign national is hired (or works as self-
employed worker), documents proving payment of social
security charges, and payslips; (2) a certificate from their
national criminal records bureau; (3) when applying for
family members, a house suitability certificate; and (4) a
residency certificate.	
Long-term status is not automatically granted; the application must
be filed on the grounds of said eligibility requirements. The process
is the same as that of a temporary permit (filed through the post
office); the only difference is passing the Italian language test.
12.2	 Is it possible to switch from a temporary work visa to
a work visa which leads to permanent residence?
Foreign nationals assigned in Italy on intra-company work permits
for highly specialised personnel or managers, and working in the
same sector for at least six months, can be locally hired at the end
of the assignment and apply for a local hire work permit which will
entitle them to permanent residence.
59 Tanner Street, London SE1 3PL, United Kingdom
Tel: +44 20 7367 0720 / Fax: +44 20 7407 5255
Email: sales@glgroup.co.uk
www.iclg.co.uk
Current titles in the ICLG series include:
■	 Alternative Investment Funds
■	 Aviation Law
■	 Business Crime
■	 Cartels & Leniency
■	 Class & Group Actions
■	 Competition Litigation
■	 Construction & Engineering Law
■	 Copyright
■	 Corporate Governance
■	 Corporate Immigration
■	 Corporate Investigations
■	 Corporate Tax
■	 Data Protection
■	 Employment & Labour Law
■	 Enforcement of Foreign Judgments
■	 Environment & Climate Change Law
■	 Family Law
■	 Franchise
■	 Gambling
■	 Insurance & Reinsurance
■	 International Arbitration
■	 Lending & Secured Finance
■	 Litigation & Dispute Resolution
■	 Merger Control
■	 Mergers & Acquisitions
■	 Mining Law
■	 Oil & Gas Regulation
■	 Outsourcing
■	 Patents
■	 Pharmaceutical Advertising
■	 Private Client
■	 Private Equity
■	 Product Liability
■	 Project Finance
■	 Public Procurement
■	 Real Estate
■	 Securitisation
■	 Shipping Law
■	 Telecoms, Media & Internet
■	 Trade Marks

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Corporate immigration2016 italy

  • 1. The International Comparative Legal Guide to: A practical cross-border insight into corporate immigration law Published by Global Legal Group, with contributions from: Barrios & Fuentes, Abogados Bloomfield Law Practice Ceballos Abogados Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates Chow King & Associates CS Global Partners EmpLaw Advokater AB Enrique Arellano Rincón Abogados, S.C. Fredrikson & Byron P.A. Gomberg Dalfen S.E.N.C. Harvey Law Group Holding Redlich Karl Waheed Avocats Kingsley Napley LLP Klasko Immigration Law Partners Law firm Šafar & Partners, Ltd Lenz & Staehelin Lund Elmer Sandager Law Firm LLP Mazzeschi srl Miller Mayer, LLP Nakai Immigration Services LPC NAVARRO CASTEX Abogados Oberhammer Rechtsanwälte GmbH PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal Middle East LLP 3rd Edition Corporate Immigration 2016 ICLG
  • 2. WWW.ICLG.CO.UK Further copies of this book and others in the series can be ordered from the publisher. Please call +44 20 7367 0720 Disclaimer This publication is for general information purposes only. It does not purport to provide comprehensive full legal or other advice. Global Legal Group Ltd. and the contributors accept no responsibility for losses that may arise from reliance upon information contained in this publication. This publication is intended to give an indication of legal issues upon which you may need advice. Full legal advice should be taken from a qualified professional when dealing with specific situations. The International Comparative Legal Guide to: Corporate Immigration 2016 General Chapters: Country Question and Answer Chapters: 1 Tightening the Screws: The Future of Corporate Immigration in the UK – Nicolas Rollason & Kim Vowden, Kingsley Napley LLP 1 2 Corroboration Requirements Increase the Burden on Transferees and Skilled Workers – William A. Stock, Klasko Immigration Law Partners 4 3 Best Practice within the Citizenship by Investment Market – Micha-Rose Emmett, CS Global Partners 7 4 Visa Options for Employees Who Lose the H-1B Lottery – Kristal Ozmun & Stephen Yale-Loehr, Miller Mayer, LLP 11 5 The ASEAN Economic Community – a Myth or a Reality? – Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat, Harvey Law Group 16 6 AILA: An Overview – Noriko Kurotsu & Audrey Lustgarten, American Immigration Lawyers Association 21 7 Argentina NAVARRO CASTEX Abogados: Sofia Inchauspe & Florencia Cavazza 25 8 Australia Holding Redlich: Maria Debra Jockel 32 9 Austria Oberhammer Rechtsanwälte GmbH: Ewald Oberhammer & Petra Pardatscher 40 10 Canada Gomberg Dalfen S.E.N.C.: Avi Gomberg & Isabelle Owston 48 11 China Fredrikson & Byron P.A.: Laura Danielson & Zhu “June” Cheng 54 12 Denmark Lund Elmer Sandager Law Firm LLP: Michael Møller Nielsen & Julie Flindt Rasmussen 61 13 France Karl Waheed Avocats: Karl Waheed 68 14 Hong Kong Chow King & Associates: Eugene Chow 75 15 Italy Mazzeschi srl: Marco Mazzeschi 83 16 Japan Nakai Immigration Services LPC: Masahito Nakai 90 17 Malta Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates: Dr Jean-Philippe Chetcuti & Dr Priscilla Mifsud Parker 97 18 Mexico Enrique Arellano Rincón Abogados, S.C.: Enrique J. Arellano 105 19 Myanmar Harvey Law Group: Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat 112 20 Nigeria Bloomfield Law Practice: Olamide Soetan 118 21 Peru Barrios & Fuentes, Abogados: Ariel Orrego-Villacorta Icochea & María Gracia De La Piedra 123 22 Slovenia Law firm Šafar & Partners, Ltd: Martin Šafar & Polona Boršnak 131 23 Spain Ceballos Abogados: Andrés de Ceballos Cabrillo & Raquel Aberasturi Vega 137 24 Sweden EmpLaw Advokater AB: Jeanette Siwerman 143 25 Switzerland Lenz & Staehelin: Rayan Houdrouge & Matthias Oertle 149 26 Thailand Harvey Law Group: Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat 156 27 United Arab Emirates PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal Middle East LLP: Anirban Chatterji 163 28 United Kingdom Kingsley Napley LLP: Nicolas Rollason & Ilda de Sousa 169 29 USA Klasko Immigration Law Partners: William A. Stock & Feige M. Grundman 182 30 Vietnam Harvey Law Group: Jean-François Harvey & Bastien Trelcat 189 Contributing Editor Nicolas Rollason, Kingsley Napley LLP Sales Director Florjan Osmani Account Directors Oliver Smith, Rory Smith Sales Support Manager Paul Mochalski Sub Editor Nicholas Catlin Senior Editor Rachel Williams Chief Operating Officer Dror Levy Group Consulting Editor Alan Falach Group Publisher Richard Firth Published by Global Legal Group Ltd. 59 Tanner Street London SE1 3PL, UK Tel: +44 20 7367 0720 Fax: +44 20 7407 5255 Email: info@glgroup.co.uk URL: www.glgroup.co.uk GLG Cover Design F&F Studio Design GLG Cover Image Source iStockphoto Printed by Ashford Colour Press Ltd August 2016 Copyright © 2016 Global Legal Group Ltd. All rights reserved No photocopying ISBN 978-1-911367-07-9 ISSN 2054-7579 Strategic Partners
  • 3. 83WWW.ICLG.CO.UKICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Chapter 15 1 Introduction 1.1 What are the main sources of immigration law in your jurisdiction? The main sources of immigration law are as follows: ■ Legislative Decree No. 286 of 25 July 1998 – a consolidated code on immigration and on dispositions applicable to foreign citizens; ■ Presidential Decree No. 394 of 31 August 1999 – for the implementation and enforcement of dispositions set forth by Legislative Decree No. 286/98; ■ Ministry of Interior Directive 1.3.2000 – defining the means of support for entrance and stay in the country; ■ Legislative Decree No. 30 of 6 February 2007 – implementing EU Directive No. 2004/38/CE on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States; and ■ Interministerial Decree No. 850 of 11 May 2011 – defining various types of visas and conditions for their issuance. 1.2 What authorities administer the corporate immigration system in your jurisdiction? The following authorities administer the immigration system: 1) The Ministry of the Interior (‘Ministero dell’Interno’), in particular the ‘Dipartimento per le libertà civili e per l’immigrazione’: Immigration Offices (‘Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione’) are established in each ‘Provincia’(Province) at the ‘Prefettura’ (Government representative office). 2) The Labour Office (‘Direzione Territoriale del Lavoro’, or DtL). 3) The Immigration Police Department (‘Questura Ufficio Immigrazione’). 4) The Central Directorate of the Immigration and Border Police (‘Direzione Centrale della Polizia dell’Immigrazione e delle Frontiere’). 5) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. 1.3 Is your jurisdiction part of a multilateral agreement between countries (EU/NAFTA/MERCOSUR) which facilitates the movement of people between countries for employment purposes? Italy is a Member State of the EU and EEA (European Economic Area), and therefore grants immigration and employment benefits to EU, EEA, and EFTA (European Free Trade Area) citizens in compliance with EU freedom of movement legislation. According to Directive 2004/38/EC, EU citizens do not need a permit or visa to enter and work in Italy. This is also granted to third-country nationals whose relatives are EU nationals. Italy is part of the Schengen Agreement – a territory where the free movement of persons is guaranteed. The signatory states have abolished all internal borders for a single external border. There are shared common rules and procedures for visas for short stays, asylum requests and border controls. The Schengen Borders Code (Regulation (EC) No. 562/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 establishing a Community Code on the rules governing the movement of persons across borders) governs the crossing of the external border, while a common visa policy (Regulation (EC) No. 810/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 July 2009 Establishing a Community Code on Visas – Visa Code) regulates the entry of legal visitors into the EU. Italy has entered into social security bilateral agreements with several countries and the EU to let foreign employees who work or have been temporarily working in Italy to remain on their home country’s social security scheme; to avoid paying certain contributions in Italy and to maintain pension rights in relation to the period spent working in the Italian territory. 2 Business Visitors 2.1 Can business visitors enter your jurisdiction under a relevant visa waiver programme? Citizens of the following countries do not require a visa for short stays – a maximum of 90 out of every 180 days in Italy or the Schengen Area – for business purposes: Albania; Andorra; Antigua and Barbuda; Argentina; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Brazil; Brunei; Canada; Chile; Costa Rica; Croatia; Dominica; El Salvador; Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM); Grenada; Guatemala; Honduras; Hong Kong; Israel; Japan; Macao; Malaysia; Mauritius; Mexico; Monaco; Montenegro; New Zealand; Nicaragua; Northern Mariana Islands; Panama; Paraguay; St. Kitts and Nevis; Samoa; St. Lucia; Serbia; Seychelles; Singapore; South Korea; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; Taiwan; Timor-Leste; Trinidad and Tobago; United Arab Emirates; United States; Uruguay; Vanuatu; and Venezuela. EU/EEA/EFTA nationals do not require a visa in any case. Mazzeschi srl Marco Mazzeschi Italy
  • 4. WWW.ICLG.CO.UK84 ICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Italy ItalyMazzeschi srl Italian embassy having jurisdiction over the place of the applicant’s residence abroad. Such a visa can be granted if the applicant has already obtained a specific Italian permission called ‘nulla osta’ (work authorisation for subordinate work). Also, the Labour Inspectorate Authorities ensure the regularity of labour relations and carry out inspections on employers who employ non-EU citizens, to ascertain whether they are compliant with labour and immigration regulations. Inspectors have the authority to enter freely, without notice, any premises or place of work, to carry out examinations, tests and investigations, and to interrogate the employer and the employees on any alleged illegalities. 3.3 What are the penalties for organisations found to be employing foreign nationals without permission to work? Under Italian law, organisations found not to be compliant with labour and immigration regulations are subject to criminal and administrative sanctions. Criminal liability is personal, i.e. only individuals are subject to criminal sanctions, which would therefore be applied not to the company but rather to the officers and managers who act in its name and on its behalf. However, companies are held liable for the payment of pecuniary fines imposed upon their legal representatives,officersandmanagers. Thepenaltyforhiringforeign workers without a permit of stay, or with a permit that has expired or been revoked or annulled, is imprisonment from six months up to three years and a fine of €5,000 per illegal employee. In addition, the employer is also forced to pay an accessory administrative fine which will amount to the average cost of repatriation of the illegally employed worker. 4 Corporate Immigration – General 4.1 Is there a system for registration of employers who wish to hire foreign nationals? Italian employers intending to hire a non-EU worker must sponsor a Subordinate Work Permit application. These are regulated by Art. 22 of Legislative Decree No. 286/98. Subordinate Work Permits are issued subject to the availability of quotas. The Italian Government periodically issues a limited number of quotas, which are allocated to each Italian Province. There is an exception to the quota system for Temporary Work Assignments (temporary because the assignment cannot exceed four or five years in total, depending on the type of permit). The condition for these permits is that workers remain hired by the foreign sending company and are temporarily assigned to work at an Italian company. Temporary Work Assignments are regulated by Art. 27, a), f), g) and i) of Legislative Decree No. 286/98. Another exception to the quota system is the so-called EU Blue Card (Decree No. 108/2012) allowing Italian employers to hire highly qualified foreign workers. 4.2 Do employers who hire foreign nationals have ongoing duties to ensure immigration compliance? Employers must sponsor an employee for a work permit in accordance with local requirements (Law Decree No. 286, Arts 22 to 27 quater; Presidential Decree No. 394,Arts 29 to 41), as follows: ■ a locally registered company must file a work permit application; and ■ an individual regularly residing in Italy must represent the local company. 2.2 What is the maximum period for which business visitors can enter your jurisdiction? As per Regulation (EU) No. 610/2013 of 26 June 2013, the maximum duration of an authorised “short stay” for third-country nationals in the Schengen Area – irrespective of whether they are visa-holders or visa-exempt – is defined as “90 days in any 180-day period”. An absence for an uninterrupted period of 90 days allows for a new stay of up to 90 days. 2.3 What activities are business visitors able to undertake? According to the Decree of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of 11 May 2011, a business visitor can come to Italy for a short stay (90 days in a 180-day period) for “travel that has an economic/ commercial basis, to make contacts or conduct negotiations, to learn or carry out maintenance and repairs on equipment and machinery purchased or sold pursuant to a commercial contract or joint venture agreement”. 2.4 Are there any special visitor categories which will enable business visitors to undertake work or provide services for a temporary period? No. Gainful work activity in Italy is not allowed under business visitor status. 2.5 Can business visitors receive short-term training? The only indication in the law is that a business visitor can “learn or carry out maintenance and repairs on equipment and machinery purchased or sold pursuant to a commercial contract or joint venture agreement”. 3 Immigration Compliance and Illegal Working 3.1 Do the national authorities in your jurisdiction operate a system of compliance inspections of employers who regularly employ foreign nationals? In Italy, the supervisory function of labour relations depends on the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, which takes on and coordinates all initiatives, including those designed to tackle undeclared or irregular work. A ‘Central Directorate’ has been established at the Ministry, which coordinates the inspections carried out by the supervisory bodies, who mainly consist of the ‘Carabinieri’, the ‘Guardia di Finanza’ and the inspection staff of social security institutions. 3.2 What are the rules on the prevention of illegal working? In order to prevent illegal working, the employer should verify that the person they are employing has the right to work in Italy. Foreign nationals entering the country must be in possession of the relevant Italian work authorisations. In particular, foreign citizens must enter Italy with a specific work visa, which is issued by the
  • 5. 85WWW.ICLG.CO.UKICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Italy ItalyMazzeschi srl ■ translators and interpreters; ■ university professors and researchers; ■ professional athletes and sportspersons; ■ entertainers, circus artists and travelling performers; ■ domestic assistants, in specific cases; ■ people authorised to stay for vocational training reasons; ■ seafarers; and ■ employees of diplomatic representations or international-law bodies based in Italy. 4.5 Is there a recognition that some occupations may be in short supply and do special exemptions apply to certain sectors and occupations? Please see question 4.4 above. 4.6 Are there annual quotas for different types of employment-related work permits or visas? Yes. By means of the annual Decree (‘Decreto Flussi’), the number of residence and work permits that can be issued is determined based on the work category and nationality of the workers. Quotas should be issued taking into account the work sectors where there is a labour shortage. 4.7 Are there restrictions on the number of foreign workers an employer may sponsor, in relation to a maximum percentage of foreign workers in the employer’s workforce? The law does not set any specific requirement. Especially if the Italian host company is doing regular business and does not have collective dismissals or an ongoing reduction in the workforce, there should be no particular issues. 4.8 Are employees who are sponsored to work in your jurisdiction required to demonstrate language proficiency? As of 10 March 2012, all foreigners over 16 who enter Italy for the first time and apply for a residence permit with a validity of at least one year are required to sign an Integration Agreement with the immigration authorities. Based on this, foreigners are accredited with points or credits centred on their level of integration in Italian society. The implementation of the Agreement conditions has an impact on the legal status of foreigners, who have two years (which can be extended up to three years) in order to: a) acquire knowledge of the spoken Italian language equal to at least level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages; and b) acquire sufficient knowledge of the principles of the Italian Constitution, public institutions and civil life in Italy. 4.9 Are employees who are sponsored to work in your jurisdiction required to undergo medical examinations before being admitted? No, they are not. The company must specifically indicate in the application whether: (i) it has enforced any collective dismissal for reduction of personnel during the last 12 months; and (ii) it has any workers under ordinary or extraordinary redundancies, with the same skills and characteristics as the worker on assignment. If collective dismissals have been enforced, this may have a negative impact on the issuance of the permit(s). When filing a work permit application, the Italian sponsor company must undertake a number of commitments, including: 1) ensuring the foreign worker’s wage is not lower than that of a local employee hired in the same job position/level; 2) guaranteeing that the worker has suitable accommodation; 3) guaranteeing that the expenses for the worker’s repatriation – if applicable – are covered in full; 4) guaranteeing that the authorities are duly notified of any variation on the employment contract; and 5) complying with all current labour obligations, including the payment of the applicable social security charges. Even when foreign nationals are working in Italy on assignment (not employed by an Italian company), there is still a requirement to comply with social security provisions (see Law No. 398/1987). Obligations will start from the moment of execution of the contract of stay. The Italian host company is jointly liable with the sending company for the payment of social security charges (the sending company will need to register with the National Social Security Agency and pay the relevant charges for the workers). The sponsor company, in its role of “employer”, must notify – through a dedicated online system – a number of variations regarding the employment contract (hiring, transfer of workplace, end of contract, etc.). 4.3 Do the immigration authorities undertake routine inspections of employers who sponsor foreign nationals, to verify immigration compliance? The employer should confirm that each foreign national employee is authorised to work, prior to commencing. Italy does not have formal and routine systems in place for verifying work authorisation but leaves the responsibility of verifying the regularity of the permit to the employer. If the potential employee already resides in Italy, the employer must ensure they are in possession of a permit which allows work (or application/renewal) before hiring or, in case the potential foreign employee is abroad, must apply for a work permit. 4.4 Do the immigration authorities maintain a list of skilled occupations which may be filled by foreign nationals? There are a number of skilled occupations which are not limited by the quota system and for which applications can be filed at any time: ■ managers and highly skilled personnel from foreign companies; ■ employees of individuals or corporations carrying out contracted work in Italy; ■ employees, with specific skills (on secondment), of organisations and businesses operating in Italy; ■ journalists and reporters; ■ professional nurses;
  • 6. WWW.ICLG.CO.UK86 ICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Italy ItalyMazzeschi srl activities and all activities in which a professional has discretion and autonomy regarding the organisation of his work and is not ranked below another employee in terms of seniority or office hierarchy. It generally includes the appointment of the individual as a Board Member of a company. Autonomous Work Permits can be issued for: ■ Activities which are subject to a licence (doctors, lawyers, architects, etc.). ■ Consultancy activities – freelancers and anyone willing to carry out non-licensed activities. ■ Entrepreneurs and officers of Italian companies. Another option is the Italy start-up visa programme, aimed at non- EU nationals intending to set up an innovative start-up business in Italy or to join an established Italian start-up as a shareholder/self- employed worker. The issuance of Autonomous Work Permits is subject to availability of the quotas, as provided by Art. 3 of Decree No. 286/98. The Italian Government periodically issues a limited number of quotas (usually once a year). 7 Temporary Work Permits 7.1 Is there an immigration category permitting the hiring of temporary workers for exchanges, career development, internships or other non-economic purposes? A separate category of visas exists for attending training and internships; in such cases, it is necessary to submit a training programme plan which must be approved by the local authorities. 7.2 Are there sector-specific temporary work permit categories which enable foreign workers to perform temporary work? There are no specific temporary work permit categories in Italy. Depending on the length of the stay and the activities the worker will need to perform, the specific work permit to be requested will be determined on a case-by-case basis (internship, training, autonomous or subordinate work, or local hiring through an EU Blue Card work permit). 8 Group or Intra-Company Transfer Work Permits 8.1 Does a specific immigration category exist for inter- company transfers within international groups of companies? A worker who has an intra-company work permit under Art. 27 (a) can obtain permanent residency after five years of residency only if he is locally hired. Please note that this is not possible for workers who have a permit under Art. 27 (g), which covers a different kind of intra-company assignment. 8.2 What conditions must an employing company or organisation fulfil in order to qualify as part of a group of companies? The home and host company should be affiliated or part of the same business group or joint-venture group. 4.10 Are employees who are sponsored to work in your jurisdiction required to have medical insurance or are they entitled to any free public medical services? Foreign nationals must either be covered by private health insurance or register with the Italian National Health Service. The following foreign nationals are required to register with the National Health Service and are entitled to register for free: ■ Holders of a residence permit for subordinate work (‘local hires’), self-employment, family, asylum, asylum applications, adoption, foster care, citizenship or religion, or those enrolled in unemployment lists. ■ Holders of a family permit. Locally hired foreign workers (employees on a local contract) and their dependants are eligible for free registration with the National Health Service and have a right to medical assistance. Non-EU nationals registered with the National Health Service are entitled to receive healthcare provided for by law and have equal treatment as Italian citizens. Foreign nationals not falling within the above-mentioned categories may either register voluntarily with the National Health System (by paying an annual amount defined by local authority) or purchase an insurance policy valid throughout Italy with an Italian or foreign insurance company. 4.11 Does the work permit system allow employees who hold work permits to be seconded to a client site? Locally hired foreigners are subject to the same labour regulations as EU and local employees. In case of temporary assignments, there is a specific work permit type – Service Agreement Assignment – that allows a foreign sending company to assign employees to a client site of an Italian company. 5 Highly Skilled Visas 5.1 Is there an immigration category which covers highly skilled individuals? UnderArt. 27 of Law Decree No. 286/98, the following categories of highly skilled workers are listed (exempted from the quota system): 1. intra-company transfers for highly specialised personnel or managers working in the same sector for at least six months; 2. highly qualified workers required to carry out a specific task or activity; 3. highly specialised workers to be directly hired by an Italian employer, and who are eligible for an EU Blue Card; and 4. special categories such as artists, athletes, university lecturers, translators and interpreters. 6 Investment or Establishment Work Permits 6.1 Is there an immigration category which permits employees to be authorised to work based on investment into your jurisdiction? Italian immigration law provides the right, under certain conditions, for foreign nationals to enter Italy and carry out self-employment activities. ‘Autonomous Work’ refers to freelance and consultancy
  • 7. 87WWW.ICLG.CO.UKICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Italy ItalyMazzeschi srl 9 New Hire Work Permits 9.1 What is the main immigration category used for employers who wish to obtain work permits for new hires? Subordinate workers (i.e. employees) are those whose services are hired by a company or an employer operating in Italy. The issuance of a visa for ‘lavoro subordinato’ is subject to the specific annually released Government quotas for the intake of foreign workers. Only if quotas are issued and available can the Italian company apply for and obtain a work permit in order to be authorised to hire the applicant. An exception to the quota system is for highly skilled workers (those who have a three-year university diploma are offered a minimum one- year contract and a salary of no less than €25,000 per year). In this case, the employer must obtain a specific work permit under the Blue Card Directive (Council Directive 2009/50/EC of 25 May 2009). 9.2 Is there a requirement for labour market testing, to demonstrate that there are no suitable resident workers, before a work permit can be issued to new hires? Employers are required to check with the relevant Employment Centre as to the availability of workers already in the country. 9.3 Are there any exemptions to carrying out a resident labour market test? The labour market test requirement is referred to in Art. 22 of Italian Immigration Law (general provisions for application for a subordinate work permit) but there is no indication of it in the provisions regulating intra-company assignment work permit applications. As a matter of fact, the majority of immigration offices do not require evidence of the fact that a market test has been conducted for applications for assignments. 9.4 What is the process for obtaining a work permit for a new hire? A work permit application follows an online procedure at the Italian Immigration Office having jurisdiction over the employee’s place of work for police/labour/immigration authority approval; information is preliminarily submitted online then original documents are filed for final approval. 9.5 What is the process for the employee to obtain a visa under the intra-company group transfer category for a new hire? Under the intra-company group transfer procedure, the worker must continue to be paid by their foreign employer, and can only be seconded to the Italian branch or subsidiary office, not locally hired. The process is the same as for all other work permit categories. Before he/she can apply for the work visa, he/she must wait for the work permit to be issued. 9.6 How long does the process of obtaining the work permit and initial visa for a new hire take? See question 8.6 above. 8.3 What conditions must the employer fulfil in order to obtain a work permit for an intra-company group employee? Employers must sponsor an employee for a work permit in accordance with local requirements (Law Decree No. 286, Arts 22–27 quater; Presidential Decree No. 394, Arts 29–41) and pay the relevant charges for the workers. See also question 4.2 above. 8.4 What is the process for obtaining a work permit for an intra-company group employee? A work permit application follows an online procedure at the Italian immigration office having jurisdiction over an employee place of work for police/labour/immigration authority approval; information is preliminarily submitted online then original documents are filed for final approval. 8.5 What is the process for the employee to obtain a visa under the intra-company group transfer category? Once the work permit is issued, the relevant Consulate/Embassy is informed of the approval and the employee can submit the necessary documents and passport for visa stamping at the Italian Consulate which has jurisdiction over their residential area outside Italy – proof of residency is required. The passport is kept by the Consulate and returned to the applicant once the visa is approved. 8.6 How long does the process of obtaining the work permit and initial visa take? Work permit: this should be issued within 60 days of application. In practice, processing time depends on the location where the application is filed and on the authorities’ workload at the time of application. Visa: this will take a maximum of 30 days; it is usually issued within one week. 8.7 How long are visas under the “initial” category valid for, and can they be extended? The initial visa is valid for entry into Italy for a maximum of 365 days. Once the applicant has entered Italy and completed the registration procedures, they can extend the intra-company work permit for a maximum of four or five years. 8.8 Can employees coming under the intra-company transfer route apply for permanent residence? A foreign national assigned in Italy on an intra-company work permit for highly specialised personnel or managers regulated by Art. 27 clause a) working in the same sector for at least six months can be locally hired at the end of the assignment and apply for a local hire work permit which will entitle to permanent residence.
  • 8. WWW.ICLG.CO.UK88 ICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Italy ItalyMazzeschi srl ■ dependent adult children (18 or above) who cannot take care of themselves because they are permanently and totally disabled; ■ parents who are financially dependent or aged over 65, in case they do not have other children in the country of origin or provenance or if these are not able to support them for serious and documented health problems. In case of parents aged over 65, it is mandatory that they be covered by comprehensive health insurance); and ■ family reunification with the biological parent of minors already regularly residing in Italy with the other parent. 11.2 Do civil/unmarried or same-sex partners qualify as family members? A law regulating civil/unmarried and same-sex couples (Law 20 May 2016 No. 76), which entered into force on 5 June 2016, was approved by Parliament. Implementing decrees will follow to ensure other regulations (including immigration) are in line with the new law. We expect that civil/unmarried and same-sex married couples will soon enjoy the same rights as everyone else with respect to the immigration regulations. 11.3 Do spouses and partners have access to the labour market when they are admitted as dependants? Yes, once they hold a family residence permit. 11.4 Do children have access to the labour market? Only after 16 years of age. 12 Permanent Residence 12.1 What are the conditions for obtaining permanent residence? A foreign non-EU national can apply for permanent residence after five years of legal stay in the country, i.e. an EU Residence Permit Card for long-term residents – in Italian, the ‘Permesso di soggiorno CE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo or permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo’ (formerly known as the ‘Carta di soggiorno per cittadini stranieri’), Council Directive 2003/109/ EC of 25 November 2003. The conditions for obtaining this are as follows: ■ Five years of temporary residence status (any period in which the foreign national has resided in Italy with a short stay visa, received a residence permit for a short period of time or resided in the country in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961, the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations of 1963, the Convention on Special Missions of 1969, or the Vienna Convention on the Representation of States in their Relations with International Organisations of a Universal Character of 1975, is not included in the residence period). Absence from Italy during the five-year period should be no longer than six consecutive months and should not exceed 10 months in total. Absence shall be considered to be justifiable for military duties, for serious and proven reasons and for serious illness. ■ The applicant must apply for (through the Ministry of Interior website) and pass an Italian language test (A2 level). Exemptions are in place for children under 14, 9.7 How long are initial visas for new hires granted for and can they be extended? The initial visa is valid for entry into Italy for a maximum of 365 days. Once the applicant has entered Italy and completed the registration procedures, they can extend the local hire work permit indefinitely, based on the employment contract. 9.8 Is labour market testing required when the employee extends their residence? No, it is not. 9.9 Can employees coming as new hires apply for permanent residence? Yes, this is possible after at least five years of regular stay in the country on a residence permit. 10 Conditions of Stay for Work Permit Holders 10.1 What are the conditions of stay of those who obtain work permits and are resident on this basis? Once the foreign worker receives work authorisation, they apply for the relevant visa at the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their home country, which will issue an entry visa for the applicant to travel to Italy. Within eight days of arrival, the worker must go to the Sportello Unico that issued the work authorisation to complete the registration formalities and submit a residence permit application. 10.2 Are work permit holders required to register with municipal authorities or the police after their arrival? Registration with the Italian authorities for a work visa is required within eight days of arrival in the country. This is for the purposes of completing the contract of stay and permit of stay applications. Having completed this formality, the worker is thereby compliant with the relevant immigration rules in order to start work, and can file the registration with the local municipal authorities. 11 Dependants 11.1 Who qualifies as a dependant of a person coming to work on a sponsored basis? Foreign nationals are eligible to apply for family reunification if they hold a residence permit/visa with a validity of at least one year (for employed or self-employed work, asylum, study, religious or family reasons). Family members of foreign nationals who qualify for dependant permits are: ■ a legally married spouse aged at least 18; ■ any minor children of the couple (i.e. unmarried children under 18 years of age), or of one member of the couple (only if the parent has full custody and the children are dependent on them, including adopted children);
  • 9. 89WWW.ICLG.CO.UKICLG TO: CORPORATE IMMIGRATION 2016 © Published and reproduced with kind permission by Global Legal Group Ltd, London Italy ItalyMazzeschi srl Mazzeschi is a boutique firm specialised in corporate immigration, commercial law and citizenship law. The firm has offices in Milan, Rome and Florence and a representative office in Taipei. In addition to corporate immigration work, it also acts for individuals with respect to Italian citizenship acquisition. Mazzeschi is an official partner of the Invitalia Business Network (a Government agency for the promotion of inward investments). The firm has a team of 20 lawyers and paralegals and a well-established network of co-counsels throughout Italy. Marco Mazzeschi is admitted to the Milan Bar Association (1988), to the Taipei Bar Association (2016) and as a Foreign Legal Affairs Attorney in Taiwan (2016). He is also a full member of the American Immigration LawyersAssociation (AILA– 2001). Marco has been listed since 2005 in the International Who’s Who of Business Immigration Lawyers as the leading practitioner in Italy. He is the author of many publications in the field of business immigration and corporate law. He is a frequent speaker at international conferences and seminars. Marco Mazzeschi Mazzeschi srl Via Leopardi 7 20123 Milan Italy Tel: +39 0577 926921 Email: mm@mazzeschi.it URL: www.mazzeschi.it 13 Bars to Admission 13.1 What are the main bars to admission for work? For foreigners applying for a work permit who are not EEA or Schengen citizens, the main bars to admission will be the strict requirements concerning possession of in-demand skills as a prerequisite for obtaining a work permit. Coupled with a system of quotas on skilled immigration which supplements the case-by-case assessment of individual applications, the bar for obtaining a work permit must be considered as high. 13.2 Are criminal convictions a bar to obtaining work permission or a visa? Criminal convictions can be an impediment in obtaining a visa and/ or residential permit in Italy, especially if they are for conduct which makes the foreign national a risk to national security, public order or health. foreign nationals having language-based learning disabilities (certified by a medical doctor), foreign nationals who have the Italian language certificate (Level A2), foreign nationals with a lower or higher secondary school diploma in Italy, university students, PhD and Master’s students, managers, university professors, translators, interpreters, accredited foreign correspondents and researchers. ■ Proof of a minimum income no lower than the annual welfare benefit (if also applying for a family member, the minimum income level is increased). ■ The foreign national must not be a threat to public health and security. ■ When applying for family members, suitable accommodation is required. ■ At the time of application, the foreign national must be resident in Italy (i.e. registered with the local town hall). ■ Evidence of eligibility: (1) tax declaration, documents proving the foreign national is hired (or works as self- employed worker), documents proving payment of social security charges, and payslips; (2) a certificate from their national criminal records bureau; (3) when applying for family members, a house suitability certificate; and (4) a residency certificate. Long-term status is not automatically granted; the application must be filed on the grounds of said eligibility requirements. The process is the same as that of a temporary permit (filed through the post office); the only difference is passing the Italian language test. 12.2 Is it possible to switch from a temporary work visa to a work visa which leads to permanent residence? Foreign nationals assigned in Italy on intra-company work permits for highly specialised personnel or managers, and working in the same sector for at least six months, can be locally hired at the end of the assignment and apply for a local hire work permit which will entitle them to permanent residence.
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