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Italy release 2019 work permit quotas for non-EU nationals

Italy has recently published its 2019 Immigration Quota Decree (“Decreto Flussi”) allowing non-EU nationals who fall within the circumstances set out in the Decree to obtain a work permit.

Applications can be drafted starting from 11 April and those seeking permits should make the applications as soon as possible to increase the chance of success.


Work permits are not always immediately available in Italy; it can be necessary to wait until the appropriate quotas are released by the Government in order to apply. An Immigration Quota Decree is normally issued on an annual basis, as the Government reviews the actual need for immigration permits each year.

The Decree sets the quota limits for each type of permit and also outlines the period during which applications can be submitted. Permits are normally granted on a first come, first served basis.

The content of the 2019 Quota Decree

The Decree for 2019 has set a total quota level of 30,850 permits, to be allocated amongst the following categories:

  • Non-Seasonal Workers –Total 3,000 permits:
    • Foreign nationals who have completed specific educational programs in their home country: 500 permits.
    • Certain officers and administrators of Italian companies (restrictions apply), plus certain self-employed individuals from the following categories: a) entrepreneurs (restrictions apply), b) freelance workers, c) highly skilled or renowned artists, d) founders of start-up companies: 2,400 permits.
    • Foreign nationals resident in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay or Venezuela with Italian ancestry: 100 permits.
  • Conversion of existing permits – 9,850 permits:
    • Conversion of seasonal permits into standard sponsored work permits: 4,750 permits.
    • Conversion of study/internship/training permits into subordinate work permits: 3,500 permits.
    • Conversion of certain long term residence permits (“permesso di soggiorno CE”) issued by another EU member State into subordinate work permits: 800 permits.
    • Conversion of study/internship/training permits into independent work permits: 700 permits.
    • Conversion of certain long term residence permits (“permesso di soggiorno CE”) issued by another EU member State into independent work permits: 100 permits.
  • Seasonal workers – 18,000 permits:
    • Seasonal workers in the tourist and agricultural fields who are nationals of the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kosovo, Mali, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine: 16,000 permits

Those who have previously come to Italy for seasonal work purposes will not be subject to nationality restrictions.

A quota of 2,000 permits amongst the 18,000 mentioned above is reserved for foreign nationals who have entered Italy for seasonal work purposes at least once during the last five years. In such cases, the employer needs to apply for a multi-year work permit for subordinate seasonal work.

Next steps

Employers should evaluate their need for work permits for non-EU nationals in the appropriate categories and apply as soon as possible. Due to the high volume of requests filed each day, applying for a permit in a timely manner increases the chance of success.

Applications for non-seasonal workers and for conversions of existing permits can be filed starting from 16 April 2019 while applications for seasonal workers can be submitted starting from 24 April.

The applicants must use their SPID to proceed with the identification into the Ministry of Interior’s website.

EYG no. 05796-193Gbl

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