Always dreamed of moving to Italy? With its sun-soaked coastline and laidback lifestyle, the Mediterranean country is an alluring place to become an expat. But moving there permanently can mean mountains of paperwork and months of unexplained delays.
Recently, Italy's business minister Adolfo Urso announced plans to market the country as an ideal base for remote workers and digital nomads.
“In the coming months we will draw up a comprehensive legislative proposal making it clear that the best place to live is Italy,” he said.
Details of the minister’s plan are yet to be released, but the news has been welcomed by professionals hoping to relocate to Italy.
Each year, the Italian government also offers a glimmer of hope when it announces how many work permits it will grant to non-EU citizens.
The 2023 quota, published in the government’s Official Gazette last week, is 82,705. This is significantly higher than in previous years, with less than 67,000 permits issued in 2022.
Here’s which industries are being targeted this year and what hoops you’ll need to jump through to make your Italian dreams a reality.
Who can apply for a work permit in Italy?
Each year, Italy releases the ‘decreto flussi’, a government decree that sets out its annual work permit quotas and caveats.
Of the 82,705 work permits to be issued this year, 44,000 are reserved for seasonal work, such as fruit picking.
The remaining permits will be granted for non-seasonal or self-employed work. The majority (30,105 of 38,705) are reserved for specific industries. These include:
- Road haulage
- Hotels and tourism
New for 2023:
Don’t forget that as well as a permit, all foreign workers must obtain a work visa and residence permit.
Can I get a work permit in Italy if I am self-employed?
As in previous years, in 2023 only 500 permits will be issued to self-employed workers in Italy. This includes freelancers, entrepreneurs and artists.
Read on for details of Italy’s digital nomad visa.
Italy has introduced stricter rules for work permits in 2023
Although the number of work permits to be granted is higher than in previous years, stricter rules have been introduced.
This year, employers must verify with the local job centre that there are no qualified Italian nationals available to complete non-seasonal work before applying for permits for non-EEA workers. Those trained abroad for the purpose of employment in Italy are excluded from this.
Work permit applications will be accepted from 27 March 2023 - 60 days after the publication of the decree in the Official Gazette.
Applications without objections will be automatically forwarded to the worker’s country of origin within 30 days, where the local Italian embassy or consulate will issue the visa within 20 days.
Can digital nomads work in Italy?
In early 2022, Italy approved a new visa for digital nomads. Further details are yet to be announced and it is still unclear what the limits and requirements will be.
Last year, global mobility expert Damien O’Farrell told Euronews Travel that it appears there will be no limit on the number of digital nomad permits issued annually.
However, since the visa is aimed at highly skilled workers, he predicted there will be a long list of requirements that could range from qualifications to minimum income.
Are there other quota-free routes to working in Italy?
The EU Blue Card offers visas to non-EU workers employed by an Italian company. While there’s no quota, it is a less popular route as there are strict rules to follow.
The Blue Card is for highly qualified non-EU nationals with a binding job offer from an Italian company. They must earn a minimum salary of €24,789 and have completed an undergraduate university degree.
The Italian company must have at least €50,000 to show it can hire a foreign employee.
This type of visa lasts for two years or for the duration of the employment contract.
Learn more about the Italian visas that are available here.