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Residence permit for professional athletes

8 Novembre 2019

Case: Richie is a New Zealander top professional rugby player, he plays as a flanker and is the captain of the national rugby team. Richie’s contract with his former local team has expired, he is currently residing in Auckland and he is keen on facing a new professional challenge on the European pitches. Thanks to his widely recognized charisma, phisical strenght, leadership attitude and tactic skills, he has received several offers from some of Europe’s and Italy’s top notch clubs, willing to sign him for the upcoming season.

Question: what are the options for Richie to obtain a work visa and a residence permit for Italy that would allow him to be signed by the Italian club and move to Italy?

Solution: Considering that Richie is a professional sporstman, who has competed at the highest levels for many years and won several throphies, he might find particularly interesting and appealing for his case the Italian work and residence permit for professional athletes.
This particular residence permit was introduced into Italian Immigration Law by means of article 27, paragraph 1, letter P) of Legislative Decree 286/98 and can be applied for by those third-country professional athletes who intend to be signed by an Italian sport institution to compete in the national leagues and competions.
First of all, in order to start off the procedure aimed at the obtainment of the above-mentioned residence permit, the Italian club that wants to sign Richie shall verify with the National Rugby Federation (FIR) if the numerical tresholds that define how many third-country rugby players are entitled to be signed in Italy in a particular year have not been reached.
In fact, according to Italian Immigration Law, the maximum number of third-country professional sportsmen who can be legally signed in Italy is expressly established, before the beginning of each annual season, in force of a Decree issued by the Italian Ministry of the Interior, upon recommendation of the National Olympic Committee (CONI). The total annual available quotas provided in the manners described above are then subdivided among all the sport federations recognized by the CONI.
After having succesfully ascertained the availability of remaining quotas for that season, the Italian rugby club is allowed to file, in person of its legal representative, the specific contract of stay form (Mod. SP) and the nominative request for the issuance of the work authorization to the Italian Rugby Federation, providing all the necessary information requested by the law.
Once duly filed, the Italian Rugby Federation will forward the request to the National Olympic Committe, who will proceed to review and analyze the information and the documentation provided by the club and to verify the availability of quotas in order for third-country rugby players to be signed in Italy for the next season. Upon completion of this step, and provided that all the requirement set forth by the law are met, the Olympic Committee will issue the so called “declaration of nominative work authorization” (dichiarazione nominativa di assenso al lavoro) and immediately and automatically transmit it to the competent Italian embassy/consulate in New Zealand.
After the nominative work authorization has been issued by the competent authorities, Richie will be entitled to apply for an entry visa for subordinate work purposes at the Italian Embassy in Wellinghton. With the entry visa duly stamped on hir passport, he will be able to travel to Italy and, within 8 days from the arrival, he will be requested to file the application for the issuance of the Italian residence permit by submitting the so-called “postal kit” through the Post Office.
Richie’s residence permit will have an initial duration of 1 (one) year and it could be renewed, before the expiration, for futher periods of 1 year, on the condition that the the employment relationship with the Italian club etiher persists or is extended for one ore more annual seasons.

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