Italian government announces the number of foreign workers allowed in Italy for 2022

The Italian government has announced a cap of 69.700 on the number of workers from outside the EEA allowed in Italy for 2022. The decree, dated 21 December 21, will be published on the Official Gazette of January 17, 2022.

More than half of quotas are reserved to entries for seasonal work (42.000); there are 20.000 quotas for subordinate work, but only for specific sectors of activity (road haulage, building, and hospitality/tourism industry) and for certain nationalities; the majority of remaining quotas are reserved to permit conversion (7000) for foreign citizens already in possession of a residence permit in Italy or EU (study, seasonal work, permanent) intending to change status i.e. to convert the existing permit into a permit for employment/self-employment.

The rest – a few quotas – are for self-employment work (500) and special categories (200) of foreigners (such as Venezuela’s residents with Italian ancestors or individuals who have completed specific training in their country of residence).

Background

Immigration for work purposes in Italy is based on a quota system which is fixed annually by means of a Decree - the so-called "decreto-flussi". The decree sets the numerical limits for each category of foreign nationals allowed to apply for a work permit and the period during which applications can be submitted. Permits are normally granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Several categories of workers are excluded from the cap and are not subject to a fixed limit, such as ICT assignments, highly-skilled, executives or managerial employees assigned to the Italian branch of a foreign legal entity, university lecturers and professors, translators, and interpreters, professional nurses, etc.

Applications for permit conversion, permits reserved to special categories of foreigners, and subordinate permit applications in the sector of road haulage, building, and hospitality/tourism industry can be submitted starting from 9 am on January 27th while Seasonal work permit applications can be submitted starting from 9 am on February 1st. The deadline for presenting the application is March 17th, 2022.

Quota categories

The 69.700 quotas are to be allocated amongst the following categories:

NEW ENTRIES – FOR NON-EU NATIONALS RESIDING ABROAD 

  • 42.000 quotas Seasonal Work. Limited to: 
    • Agriculture; hospitality and tourism industry 
    • the following nationalities. Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Korea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Philippines Gambia, Ghana, Japan, Guatemala, India, Kosovo, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of North Macedonia, Senegal, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, 
    • Within the quota of 42.000 units, 1000 entries are reserved to workers that have already worked as seasonal employees at least once in the previous 5 years and whose employers apply for a multi-year permit. 
    • Within the quota of 42.000 units, for the agriculture sector, only 14.000 quotas are reserved to applications field by organizations representing employers (Cia; Coldiretti, Confagricoltura etc.) 
  • 20.000 quotas (subordinate work - work as an employee) in the sector of road haulage, building and hospitality/tourism industry, of which: 
    • 17.000 for the following nationalities. Albania, Algeria, Bangladesh, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Korea, Ivory Coast, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Philippines Gambia, Ghana, Japan, Guatemala, India, Kosovo, Mali, Morocco, Mauritius,
    • Moldova, Montenegro, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of North Macedonia, Senegal, Serbia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine, 
  • 3000 for citizens of countries with which Italy will have cooperation agreements in 2022
  • 100 quotas (subordinate work - work as an employee). For foreign nationals resident abroad who have completed an educational/training program in their home country (pursuant to Art. 23 of Immigration Law) 
  • 100 quotas (employee/self-employee). For employed or self-employed work. Reserved to foreign nationals who have Italian ancestry and reside in Venezuela 
  • 500 quotas for self-employment 
    • entrepreneurs intending to implement an investment plan of interest for the Italian economy, involving an investment of at least € 500.000 and creating at least 3 new jobs in Italy 
    • Freelancers/independent contractors who intend to practice: regulated or controlled professions (i.e. individuals belonging to a professional association or enrolled with an official/public register) OR professions that are not non-regulated
    • but are considered representative at the national level and included in the lists edited by the Public Administration 
    • Holders of corporate offices or administrative/controlling positions (any of the following: Chairman, CEO, Member of the board of directors, Auditor) in an Italian company, active since at least 3 years (requirements set in Visa Decree May 11, 2011 n.850) 
    • Foreign citizens who intend to set up innovative start-up companies, under certain conditions and who will have a self-employment relationship with the start-up 
    • internationally well-known and highest repute artists, artists of recognized high professional qualification or artists who are hired by well-known Italian theatres, important public institutions, public television or well-known national private televisions (requirements set in Visa Decree May 11, 2011 n.850) 

PERMIT CONVERSION – FOR NON-EU NATIONALS ALREADY IN ITALY/EU (total 7.000) 

  • 4.400 quotas - from seasonal to standard work permit. For conversions of seasonal work permit to a standard, non-seasonal work permit (as an employee) 
  • 2.000 quotas from study to employed work. For conversion of study, internship, and/or vocational training residence permit into a residence permit for work (as an employee) 
  • 370 quotas from study to self-employment. For conversion of study, internship, and/or vocational training residence permit into a residence permit for self-employment 
  • 200 quotas. For holders of an EU residence permit for long-term residents issued by a Member State other than Italy who wish to apply for a residence permit for work (as an employee) in Italy 
  • 30 quotas. For holders of an EU residence permit for long-term residents issued by a Member State other than Italy who wish to apply for a residence permit for self-employment in Italy 

Employers should evaluate their need for work permits for non-EU nationals, especially if intending to hire foreign nationals holding a study, internship, and/or vocational training residence permit or permanent residents of an EU country.

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