Case: Spencer is an Australian chemical engineer and he is employed, as a highly-skilled worker, by a multinational company based in Australia, with a subsidiary in Italy. The employer intends to temporarely transfer Spencer to Italy, in order for the Italian company to benefit from his expertise and deep knlowledge and thus increase its business activities.
Question: what are the options for Spencer to obtain a work visa and a residence permit for Italy that would allow him temporarily live in the country and carry out his professional activities?
Solution: Considering that Spencer is a higly-skilled employee, has been working in the engineering industry for many years and has acquired a solid experience, he might find the Standard ICT (intra-company transfer) work visa and residence permit particularly interesting and appealing.
The Standard ICT work permit, provided for by article 27 letter a) of Italian Immigration Law (Legislative Decree 286/1998), can be requested by those third-country nationals, employed by a foreign company, who need to be temporarily seconded to a branch or a subsidiary located in the Italian territory and meet the following requirements:
- they are employed as either managers/executives or higly-skilled workers;
- they have been employed by the transferring company for at least 6 (six) uninterrupted months prior to the date of transfer; and
- the total duration of their assignment in Italy, including extensions, is not longer than 5 (five) years.
If the above-mentioned requirements are duly met, the procedure for the obtainmment of the Standard ICT work permit entails several steps and involves different authorities.
First of all, the Italian host company, in the person of its legal representative, shall file a nominative request for the issuance of the work authorization (nulla osta al lavoro) to the compent Italian immigration authorities (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione).
In order for the nulla osta to be granted, the authorities shall be provided with the supporting documents expressly listed in the above-mentioned article 27 letter a), among which the most crucial are:
- secondment letter including the details of the secondment to the Italian subsidiary;
- official document (by way of example, but not limited to, company registration report) proving the existance of a corporate link between the transferring Australian company and the Italian host one; and
- Certificate of Coverage (CoC) in light of the existance of a bilateral agreement on social security between Australia and Italy.
Once the nulla osta has been issued by the competent authorities, Spencer will be entitled to apply for an entry visa for subordinate work purposes at the Italian Embassy or Consulate in his country of residence.
With the entry visa duly stamped on his passport, Spencer will be able to travel to Italy and, within 8 days from his arrival in the Italian territory, he will be requested to sign the so called “integration agreement” in front of Italian Immigration authorities and to apply for the issuance of the Standard ICT final work permit.
Depending on the duration of his assignment in Italy, Spencer’s residence permit will have an initial duration of up to 2 (two) years, and can be renewed for futher periods, within the 5-year limit expressly provided for Standard ICT work permits by artilce 27 letter a).
Upon expiration of his work permit, or after the first renewal, Spencer will have the possibility to be directly hired by the Italian host company, by means of a specific conversion of his Standard ICT work permit into a regular Italian residence permit for subordinate work purposes.