Investors in Italy – 2016 Quota in Force for Issuance of Work and Residence Permits

Italy opens its borders to foreign investors. From 9 February 2016, applications for investor work permits may be submitted in Italian to the local immigration authorities via a dedicated web site.

In effect, on 2 February 2016, Italy enacted the annual decree setting forth the quotas for 2016 that apply for different categories of foreign workers in Italy. The decree known as the Decreto Flussi explains in detail:

-all numerical limits for each category of worker/citizen permitted to enter with a relevant work permit;
-the timing for the submission of the work permit request; and
-the terms and conditions around applying for a work permit.

In order to work in Italy, Italian immigration and labor authorities require non-EU nationals to obtain a specific authorization, the so-called Nulla Osta al lavoro (work permit). Every year the Italian labor authorities establish a limited number of work permits available.

The quota system was introduced under Italy’s immigration regime in 1998. With this system in place, the Italian labor authority advises the government annually on foreigners’ employment in Italy (non-EU individuals working in Italy) with a view to determining the numerical limit, or quota, for the following year.
Relying on academic and other research, the Italian authorities issue a study on the labor market every three years. The Decreto Flussi is updated annually in order to match supply and demand in the labor market.

Categories of Workers Covered by Decreto Flussi
The government established a quota for investors and self-employed individuals (a “unit” is a “person”).


• Entrepreneurs need to invest at least €500,000 and hire at least three employees.
Investors and self-employed individuals
In particular, the Decree provides for 2,400 “units” allocated for foreign citizens who belong to the following categories:
a) Entrepreneurs who carry out activities in connection with the Italian economy, invest at least €500,000 and hire at least three employees;
b) Self-employed individuals belonging to a professional association or enrolled with an official/public register;
c) An individual who has a corporate role, as defined, in an Italian company;
d) Highly qualified artists or those who are considered international celebrities;
e) Foreign citizens who want to start up an innovative company, as defined, in Italy.

Furthermore, work permits are issued under the quota system and a pre-determined number of permits are set out in the decree.
Formal international assignments (up to a maximum 5 years in duration) are not part of the quota system and they are permitted according to Italian immigration rules following specific procedures.


Maria Barba
Submitted on: 5 April 2016


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