Italy – Taxation of international executives

What are the main work permit categories for long-term assignments to Italy? In this context outline whether a local employment contract is required for the specific permit type.

Work Permit for high skilled workers/managers (lasting for maximum 5 years, split in smaller portions)1

Conditions to apply for the work permit are:

  • Possibility to demonstrate corporate ties between the home company and the company where the applicant will be seconded.
  • Secondment letter: containing the relevant information about the two companies, the posted employee (e.g. salary, companies‘ details, payment of social security contributions according to the current scenario between the two countries/jurisdictions, University Degree, etc.).
  • Minimum 6 months of seniority in the same sector.

Work Permit (nulla osta) for high qualified workers/managers (local employment contract required)1

The Work Permit (nulla osta) for high skilled workers (based on a local employment contract) is applicable if:

  • The applicant has achieved a 3-year University Degree (to be proved via the dichiarazione di Valore in Loco) professional qualifications is falling in levels 1, 2 and 3 of the ISTAT classification of professions CP 2011 although residing in another Member State, or holders of Blue Card issued in another Member State.
  • A minimum 1-year long work contract.
  • A minimum salary of around EUR30,000 (three times the minimum wage required not to receive public funds).

It is possible for the holder of a Blue card issued by another EU country/jurisdiction at least 18 months before, to enter Italy directly without asking for an entry Visa.

ICT (Intra-Corporate Transfer) work permit1

It is possible to apply for such work permit (Nulla osta) for executives, or specialized workers or trainees if:

  • Such kinds of applicants have been working in the same company (belonging to the same group) for at least 3 months right before the application.
  • Temporary secondment – for occupational or training purposes – of a third-country/jurisdiction national who, at the time of application for the ICT permit, resides outside the Member States, from an undertaking established outside a Member State, (and to which the third-country/jurisdiction national is bound by a work contract before and during the transfer), to an entity belonging to the undertaking or to the same group of undertakings and established in a particular Member State.

The ICT work permit lasts up to a maximum of 3 years applicable to the following categories:

1) Managers: (maximum length is 3 years)

Employees working in a managerial position, who may supervise the work of other professionals or employees;

2) Specialists: (maximum length is 3 years)

Workers who are highly specialized and who can provide the Italian entity with specialized knowledge;

3) Trainees: (maximum length is 1 year)

Junior employees who shall be transferred in order to gain experience and knowledge necessary to develop their skills.

Mobility ICT work permit:

Workers with an ICT work permit issued by another EU State Member are authorized to stay and work at an Italian branch or subsidiary of the foreign company of which they are employees. Two scenarios can take place:

1) Short-term mobility

Non-EU nationals who already hold a valid intra-corporate transferee permit issued by another member state may enter and work in Italy.

Holders of a valid ICT permit issued by another member state, for short-term mobility, are entitled to stay in Italy and work in any Italian entity and belonging to the same undertaking for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180-day period.

For short-term mobility, holders of a valid ICT permit issued by another state shall simply notify their arrival to the local police office (Dichiarazione di presenza) and need no visa.

2) Long-term mobility

Non-EU nationals who already hold a valid intra-corporate transferee permit issued by another member state may enter and work in Italy.

Holders of a valid ICT permit issued by another member state, for long-term mobility, that is more than 90 days, are entitled to stay Italy and work in any Italian entity and belonging to the same undertaking, prior obtaining the Work Permit within 90 days from the date of the entry in Italy. 

The procedure is as it follows:

1. The host company must submit the work permit (nulla osta) application. The application must be sent within 90 days from the date of entry in Italy.

2. Within 8 days from the date of the issuing of the Nulla Osta, the foreigner must inform the immigration authority of their stay in Italy (in order to obtain a permit to stay).

During the issuing of the Nulla Osta and the collection of the permit to stay, foreigners are allowed to work – provided that the ICT work permit issued by the first Member State is still valid.

Self-employed worker Work Permit1

There are two types of Autonomo as below:

  • Quota di Autonomo: Nulla Osta has no validity which means the there is no limitation in the duration of secondment in Italy
  • Fuori quota di Autonomo validity of Nulla Osta is 5 years thus the max period of secondment is 5 years.

If a quota exists (within the frame of the Quota system), the application can take place in this framework and in this case there 5 years-limit is not applicable. If there is no quota available, they can only apply for “fuori quota” (for executive members who have an engagement contract. In this case there 5 years-limit will be valid).


The local Labor and Immigration authorities issue a temporary work permit (nulla osta) that will allow the applicant to apply for a visa at the competent Italian embassy/consulate where the applicant is officially a resident.

At this step, the application as a self-employed is ultimately verified by the competent Italian embassy/consulate abroad and its Nulla Osta will be officially issued according to their decision.

 Supporting documents:

  • Proxy to an Italian delegate, (from the sending company).
  • Secondment letter, (from the sending company).
  • Degree Certificate, (from the seconded person).
  • Official documents attesting the ties between home and host company (preferably from Italy).
  • Declaration of responsibility (from Italy).
  • Application for a Nulla Osta (from Italy).
  • Application for a Certification of the Service contract (from Italy).
  • Statement of remuneration (from Italy).
  • Service contract certified by the competent Labor Office (from Italy).

Provide a general process overview to obtain a work and residence permit for long- term assignments (including processing times and maximum validation of the permit).

A) Work permit (nulla osta), general procedure:

1. The Italian company applies for the necessary work permit (nulla osta) with the relevant authority in Italy (timing depending of the territorial competent Immigration office: 2 months since the application is submitted can be considered as standard time).

The Work Permit is valid for 24 months, renewable up to 5 years.

2. Once the work permit (nulla osta) is approved, the employee on assignment applies for an entry Visa at the Italian consular authority in the country/jurisdiction where they are officially resident.

3. With the work permit (nulla osta) and valid visa, the employee can enter Italy. Usually, timing to get the Visa is about 1-2 weeks from the date of the application.

4. After their arrival in Italy, the employee must sign a contract to stay and apply for a residence permit within 8 days according to the authorities’ availability.

5. The foreign citizen sends the request of permit of stay at the Post Office and in that occasion, they will receive the appointment for the fingerprints collection at the competent Police Office.

6. After the fingerprints collection, the police station will inform the applicant via SMS of the date/time of the appointment for the collection of the permit to stay.

Such procedure applies to local hires (Blue Card) as well.

Is there a minimum salary requirement to obtain a long-term work and residence permit for assignments? Can allowances be taken into account for the salary?

Italy has a minimum wage set at national level varying case by case according to the business sector and the job qualification, so an employee on long-term assignment cannot be paid less than the amount applicable to their conditions.

For local hires (blue cards) the minimum salary to be paid, is around EUR30,000 that is three times minimum sufficient salary considered as necessary to live and be independent from public funds.

Is there a fast-track process that could expedite the visa/ work permit?

The timing to have a work permit issued depends on the local Immigration office responsible for the area where the application is sent, with the consequence that some offices are faster than others, even if they apply the same procedure.

At what stage is the employee permitted to start working when applying for a long-term work and residence permit (assignees/ local hire)?

The employee can start working once they sign the contract of stay and submits the application for the permit to stay.

Can a short-term permit/ business visa be transferred to a long-term permit in Italy?

No, at the end of/during a business trip the process of requesting a work permit for both short and long-term assignments can start/be implemented/be under process.

Once the authorities issue the work permit, the assignee must go to the Italian consulate having jurisdiction in the area where the assignee lives and ask for an entry Visa (for work reasons). Under some conditions, a cooling off period can be necessary before the process begins.

Is it possible to renew work and residence permits?

Yes, it is. In case of assignments (except for local hires) close to the expiry date of the work permit, it is possible to renew it.

Renewals of both work and residence permits are subject to the authorities’ assessment and evaluation.

For all kinds of residence permit, it is possible to renew them until reaching the maximum limit allowed, if all the requirements are respected (social security contribution is paid, the working activity exists…)

Is there a quota or system or a labor market test in place?

There are quota systems for the labor market of non-skilled foreign workers/citizen entering Italy with a relevant work permit and to convert some kinds of residence permits.

Foreigners coming to Italy under long or short-term assignments as seconded employees are not included in the quota system and follow a different path.

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