We are pleased to announce a new addition to the Immigration and Citizenship department. Liliana Petrolo is an Italian lawyer with extensive experience in applications for visas for entry to Italy, in particular from non-EU countries, including: visas for re-entry into Italy, for family reasons, study, or elective residence (visto per reingresso, motivi familiari, residenza elettiva e studio); “blue card” applications for skilled workers (carta blu); permits for family re-union (permesso di soggiorno per ricongiungimento familiare); permanent, temporary and seasonal work permits (permesso di soggiorno stagionale e temporaneo); residence permits for EU long-term residents (Carta di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo) and residence cards for family members of EU citizens (Permesso di soggiorno UE per soggiornanti di lungo periodo a favore dei familiari).
This post sets out the rules for British citizens already resident in Italy, and also aims to give some guidance for those hoping to apply for residence in Italy during the post-Brexit transition period.
The UK ended its membership of the EU on 31st January 2020, under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement concluded on 19th October 2019.
We are currently in the transition period, during which time all EU law is still binding in the United Kingdom and applies to British citizens resident in Member States. The transition period is due to end on 31st December 2020, however we note there is the possibility for this to be extended for “up to 1 or 2 years” if an agreement is reached between the EU and the UK before 1st July 2020.
Chapter 1 of the Withdrawal Agreement deals with citizen’s rights and, in particular, the right of residence in EU member states (Articles 13 – 23).
British citizens already resident in Italy at 31st January 2020
The Withdrawal Agreement permits EU countries to treat the rights of British citizens and their family members who were already resident in member States before Brexit, in one of two ways.
Italy fortunately adopted the simpler of these, the “declaratory” procedure, which means British citizens already resident in Italy pre-Brexit do not need to apply for residence again from scratch. The “declaratory” procedure enable British citizens already resident in Italy to simply exchange their present certificate of residence for a new document declaring the continuation of their existing status and all rights which this conferred.
The Ministero dell’Interno (Italian Home Office) issued a guidance note Circolare n. 3/2020 in February 2020 . The Circular sets out the contents of the new residence document, which is named “Attestazione di Iscrizione Anagrafica” (a template is shown here).
From 1st February 2020 British citizens already registered as resident may attend their local Comune to request this new document, simply by showing proof of ID.
As at the time of this guidance note, it has not been clarified whether this new document is actually mandatory, or if there is a time limit by which to apply for it. In the meantime, it is likely that a simple “certificato di residenza” should be sufficient to demonstrate a British citizen’s current status in Italy.
There is also a lack of clarity regarding the “Attestazione di Soggiorno Permanente” during the transition period. Many long-term British residents may have already applied for this document in the past after 5 years residence. We understand that the Ministero dell’Interno has issued guidance to Comuni to refuse to issue this document post-January 2020, although this decision may be unlawful and is being challenged.
It should not be necessary for a person to hand in their Attestazione di Soggiorno Permanente on being issued with the new “Attestazione di Iscrizione”, however we understand this has happened on occasion, and guidance is also needed on this.
British citizens not resident in Italy at 31st January 2020
British citizens who were not already registered as resident before 31st January 2020 may still enter Italy during the transition period without a visa, under the Terms of the EU Directive on Free Movement n. 38/2004, and then may apply to the Comune to be registered as resident under the usual rules for EU citizens up to the end of 2020.
An application for residence made before 31st December 2020 must be made on one of the grounds set out in Article 7 of the Free Movement Directive. The British citizen must therefore show that they fall into one of the following categories, and provide documentary evidence that they:
(a) are workers or self-employed in the host Member State;
(b) have sufficient resources for themselves and their family members and have comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the host Member State;
(c) are students enrolled at a private or public establishment and have comprehensive sickness insurance;
(d) are family members accompanying or joining an EU citizen who satisfies the conditions referred to in points (a), (b) or (c).
They must provide proof of the address where they are living and permission to residence there (tenancy agreement or ownership) and their presence will be checked by the Municipal Police.
Once registered with the Comune, new residents will be issued with the “Attestazione di Iscrizione Anagrafica”.
The British Embassy in Rome has published guidance on the new rules which can be consulted here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/living-in-italy
The Free Movement Directive and rules for EU citizens applying for residence in another member states was implemented in Italian Legislation in Legge no.30/2007.
Every year the Ministero dell’Interno issues the Decreto Flussi, which is the quota of how many non-EU citizens are allowed to enter Italy to carry out seasonal subordinate work, self-employed work and non-seasonal work from eligible countries.
In 2018, the Decreto Flussi quotas were already available in January, with the application being submitted on 31st January 2018. In 2019, they were released on 24th April 2019. 30,850 workers were allowed to enter of which 18,000 were seasonal workers. Many of these worked in agriculture.
Among the countries that made the most requests and that entered Italy following the 2019 Decreto Flussi were India with 22,000 (49%), Morocco with 9,000 (21%) and Egypt (11%).
The Italian provinces that have received multiple applications are Naples 13,000 instances; Verona and Latina 2,000 instances; and Rome and Trento 1,500.00 instances.
This year’s workforce is significantly lacking because foreign labourers are blocked in their countries of origin or because they felt that coming to Italy would pose health risks due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the data collected from the Report on Migration and Rural Areas published by the European Commission’s Joint Research Center, in Italy the percentage of foreign workers employed in this sector increased from 15 to 20% of migrants, especially seasonal workers who are entering Italy to work in the fruit and vegetables industry. For example, Verona (Veneto) this year are requesting a 1,200 man workforce. Agriculture Minister Teresa Bellanova is working on this emergency.
Applications are made via: https://nullaostalavoro.dlci.interno.it/Ministero/Index2.
We are regularly checking the Ministero dell’Interno (nulla osta) website but note that the quotas listed on this page remain to be those of 2019.
We do not believe that the quotas for seasonal workers will be released before June or July 2020. The delay is clearly due to the pandemic. Although it would seem that every year the quotas are released later and later. The Department of Agriculture wants these quotas to be released urgently because there is a lack of agricultural workers in the Italian countryside e.g. to pick fruits. A lot of fruits and crops have gone to waste, which has had a devastating effect on the Italian economy and will continue to get worse until there are people on the fields.
Ironically, the UK, which has now reached the same COVID-19 death rate as Italy, had a mass of Romanians enter the UK to pick fruit in mid-April despite the pandemic at the time being at its peak.
It would be prudent to already start preparing documentation as those clients who submit the documents quicker when the quotas are released will have a higher chance of success.
The suspension of ongoing administrative procedures, and the extension of deadlines or expiry dates, was formalised by decree dated 17th March 2020, n.70 (more commonly referred to as ‘Decreto Legge Cura Italia’) in response to the COVID-19 epidemic.
LINK TO DECRETO:
By administrative procedures we are referring to applications made to “public authorities” in Italy. This article does not cover administrative proceedings (ie legal proceedings challenging decisions of the public authorities before the administrative courts at the TAR or Consiglio di Stato).
Article 103 paragraph 1 of the ‘D.L. Cura Italia’ states that any administrative procedures pending from 23rd February 2020 are suspended until 15th April 2020 (Sospensione dei termini nei procedimenti amministrativi). This means that any time falling in that period this period is not taken into account in relation to any deadlines.
Article 103 paragraph 2 of ‘D.L. Cura Italia’ states that all certificates, permits and concessions, expiring between 31st January 2020 and 15th April 2020 have an extended validity until 15th June 2020 (Atti amministrativi in scadenza).
We are expecting guidelines shortly to confirm whether the date of April 15th 2020 is being extended further as the country is still in lockdown as at the time of posting this article.
The Ministero dell’Intero (Dipartimento per le Libertà Civili e l’Immigrazione) has issued Circolare n. 3351 dated 24th March 2020 (here on in referred to as ‘the Circular’), which clarifies precisely which immigration and citizenship procedures are affected by these provisions.
If you wish to read the Circular in Italian you can do so by clicking on the link below:
The Circular makes the following clarifications:
For citizenship matters (applications for Italian citizenship on the grounds of residence or marriage) there has been a suspension of administrative procedures for the dates between 23rd February 2020 and 15th April 2020. This will for example extend deadlines for the production of supplementary documentation or for the interviews at the Prefettura (convocazioni) of foreign nationals. It will also extend the time period of 4 years which the Ministero dell’Interno has to consider applications.
Further the Circular clarifies the position for a minor who was born in Italy and was continually resident in Italy until their 18th birthday. If the 18th birthday fell in the period from 23rd February to 15th April, there will be an extension to the 12 months deadline as to when they can submit their application to the Comune for the recognition of Italian citizenship.
Any certifications from Italy and from the country of origin, obtained for the purpose of an application for Italian citizenship, expiring between 31th January 2020 and 15th April 2020, have an extended validity until 15th June 2020 as per Article 103 paragraph 2. Please note that certificates which have been legalised with an “Apostille” fixed abroad are considered to expire 6 months from the date of the Apostille itself.
The Circular also states that when the emergency provisions are over there will need to be new measures put in place to deal with matters affected by the suspension which need priority, suggesting that it will consider applications giving reasons for urgent consideration.
Immigration (Sportello Unico)
Residence permits for non-EU citizens “Permessi di soggiorno” expiring between 31st January 2020 and 15th April 2020 have an extended validity until 15th June 2020 giving the holders of these permits the possibility of applying for a renewal at any point up to that date.
The suspension of deadlines in administrative procedures also concerns the following forms of immigration status:
- Issuing “no impediment” to seasonal work (nulla osta al lavoro stagionale)
- Issuing work permits for special cases e.g. research, Blue Card or intra-corporate transfers (nulla osta al lavoro per casi particolari)
- Conversion of residence permits from study to subordinate work and from seasonal work to non-seasonal subordinate work
- Issuing no impediment to family reunification
- EU residence permits for long-terms residents *
- Statelessness certificates
*There has also been a suspension of deadlines with regards to sitting Italian language exams for those applicants applying for EU residence permits for long-term residents.
If you have any concerns about the validity of your current immigration status, a pending application or a future application that you wanted to submit please contact Aleksandra Broom. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
If you are a national of a country outside the EEA, and not sure whether you need a visa to travel to the UK you can check the Home Office website, the rules do change from time to time and will depend on the purpose of your stay.
The way UK Visa applications are now being submitted, processed and considered has changed this year. Prior to 28th January 2019, applications from Italy were sent by post and appointments were made at the British Consulate in Rome.
From this year, all UK visa applications are now made exclusively online via the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-to-come-to-the-uk.
In the country where the applicant is resident, the application will be processed by a TLS Contact Centre. In Italy, TLS Contact Centres have been set up in Rome and Milan where applicants will be required to present their bundle of original documents for inspection by a UK Visas and Immigration (Home Office) caseworker and have their biometrics taken (fingerprints, photograph and signature).
After an applicant has registered, completed the application online, uploaded supporting evidence, paid the relevant visa fee in full, they will then be required to make an appointment at the TLS Contact Centre in Rome or Milan. Following submission of your application and making an appointment you will be given a GWF reference number, which will allow you to submit further queries and supplementary documentation or track the progress of your application.
Please contact Solicitor Aleksandra Broom if you need assistance in making any UK Visa application online e.g. visitor’s visa, student visa, study visa, work visa, family visa, returning resident visa etc. In addition to submitting applications on behalf of clients, we are able to accompany any applicants to their appointments at the TLS Contact Centre in Rome (Piazza dei Siculli 14, 00185).
We would any advise any applicants to start their UK visa application process at least 3 month before their planned arrival to the UK.
EU Blue Card:
The EU Blue Card is a work permit that is offered by 25 Member States to highly-qualified non-EU citizens. The permit allows for non-EU citizens who are qualified workers to have the freedom of movement within the European Union.
Apart from being a non-EU citizen, an applicant must also be one of the following: a highly-qualified/skilled worker or a researcher. There are also opportunities for students, vocational trainees and seasonal workers.
As there are various labour shortages in particular sectors within Europe, there is a demand of qualified workers within the following professions: mathematics, informatics, natural sciences, technology and medicine. The highly-qualified worker will need to demonstrate that they are able to provide an economic service that is scarce in the hosting EU member state, that the business will have a positive effect in the overall economy of the hosting state and that the applicant possesses sufficient financial resources to provide for the operation of the business. The aforementioned professionals have a higher chance of obtaining the EU Blue Card due to lack of candidates and lower annual income.
The highly skilled professional will have to submit documentary evidence that they have obtained the required knowledge by way of either university degree, work experience as a scientist, academic or other highly-qualified occupation. In case of no university degree, the applicant will have to demonstrate five years equivalent work experience.
A written declaration from the employer will need to be provided as part of the application process, explaining what benefit the applicant will have on their business. Ultimately, the employer is acting as the applicant’s sponsor and without this declaration the application for an EU Blue Card will not be successful.
For applicants making an application for an EU Blue Card in Italy, the employer must present a request, or a communication, proposing a contract to the Sportello Unico per L’immigrazione (Single Desk for Immigration) in the Prefettura of the right province. If the application is successful, the Italian embassy in the applicant’s country of origin will issue a visa to enter Italy. This is known as entry clearance.
There is also a salary threshold that must be met. For a profession that is in shortage the estimated salary is 37,752 Euro, for university graduates the estimated salary is 46,400 Euro and for jobs where a ‘special interest’ is requested, the estimated salary is lower and therefore it is easier to obtain the EU Blue Card.
After the application has been submitted, the applicant may have to wait for a maximum of 90 days until they receive a decision on their application. A refusal generates an automatic right of appeal, which needs to be exercised within three weeks of the service of the decision.
At Oliver and Partners we can assist you in making an application for an EU Blue Card and obtaining and submitting all relevant documentation.
Work Permit Quotas 2019 for non-EU nationals:
Work permit quotas for non-EU nationals in Italy are released at the beginning of each year by way of publication of the Immigration Quota Decree ‘Decreto Flussi’, which allows non-EU nationals who meet the requirements of the decree to obtain a work permit in Italy.
The quotas vary from year to year. In 2018, the quota was 30,850 in relation to non-EU nationals of which 18,000 were seasonal workers. It is highly likely that the quota shall remain the same for 2019. In 2018, 30,850 workers were divided into three groups i.e. non-seasonal workers, seasonal workers and those who were converting existing permits.
Non-Seasonal Workers –Total 3,000 permits:
Foreign nationals who have completed specific educational programs in their home country: 500 permits.
Certain officers and administrators of Italian companies (restrictions apply), plus certain self-employed individuals from the following categories: a) Entrepreneurs (restrictions apply), b) Freelance workers, c) Highly skilled or renowned artists d) Founders of start-up companies: 2,400 permits.
Foreign nationals resident in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay or Venezuela with Italian ancestry: 100 permits.
Seasonal workers – 18,000 permits:
Seasonal workers in the tourist and agricultural fields who are nationals of the following countries: Albania, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gambia, Ghana, India, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kosovo, Mali, Mauritius, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Niger, Nigeria, Pakistan, Philippines, Senegal, Serbia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia, Ukraine: 16,000 permits
Conversion of existing permits – 9,850 permits:
Conversion of seasonal permits into standard sponsored work permits: 4,750 permits.
Conversion of study/internship/training permits into subordinate work permits: 3,500 permits.
Conversion of certain long term residence permits (“permesso di soggiorno CE”) issued by another EU member State into subordinate work permits: 800 permits.
Conversion of study/internship/training permits into independent work permits: 700 permits.
Conversion of certain long term residence permits (“permesso di soggiorno CE”) issued by another EU member State into independent work permits: 100 permits *
In a the recent Press Conference ‘Conferenza Stampa’ on 23 January 2019, the Interior Minister stated that some countries who have not been collaborating have will be excluded from this upcoming Decreto Flussi, these will possibly include Pakistan and Bangladesh.
At Question Time on 21 November 2018, Lisa Noja from the Partito Democratico asked what the governments intentions were in relation to the shortage of family assistance (l’assistenza familiare) staff and in particular to domestic workers and caregivers in Italy. The reponse was the the government priority lies in resolving the unemployment rate in Italy, which currently stands at 3 million.
The General Director of Immigration and Political Integration from the Ministry of Labour, Tatiana Esposito, has recently confirmed that the quota for 2019 is unlikely to change. She has suggested that those who are entering to carry out subordinate work should not exceed 6,000 units.
We are still waiting for the quota allowance to be confirmed from the Uffici di Gabinetto dei Ministri and for the signature of the President of the Consiglio dei Ministri. In the event that no decreto is released, the President of the Consiglio can rely on transitional provisions based on the Decreto Flussi 2018.
*statistics obtained from Ernst and Young
A new language test for Italian citizenship has recently been added in an amendment to the immigration and citizenship law D.L. n. 91 of 5th February 1992.
Last month amendment 14.7 of the Decreto Sicurezza was approved in the Camera, confirming the requirement that all those applying for Italian citizenship under Article 5 of the 1992 law (marriage grounds) and Article 9 (residence grounds) must pass an Italian language test to the minimum level of B1 (pre-intermediate).
Article 9 of D.L. n. 91/1992 has now been amended to include Article 9.1, which states:
‘The granting of Italian citizenship pursuant to Articles 5 and 9 is subject to possession by the interested party of an adequate knowledge of Italian, not less than level B1 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR)’.
This is expected to be shown by production of:
“un titolo di studio rilasciato da un istituto di istruzione pubblico o paritario riconosciuto dal Ministero dell’istruzione, dell’università e della ricerca e dal Ministero degli affari esteri e della cooperazione internazionale o dal Ministero dell’istruzione, dell’università e della ricerca, ovvero a produrre apposita certificazione rilasciata da un ente certificatore riconosciuto dal Ministero dell’istruzione, dell’università e della ricerca e dal Ministero degli affari esteri e della cooperazione internazionale o dal Ministero dell’istruzione, dell’università e della ricerca.”
The Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (known in Italian as Quadro Comune Europeo di Rigerimento per le Lingue (QCER)) states that in order for an applicant to have a B1 level of knowledge, he/she should be able to do the following:
- Can understand the main points of clear standard input on familiar matters regularly encountered in work, school, leisure, etc.
- Can deal with most situations likely to arise while travelling in an area where the language is spoken.
- Can produce simple connected text on topics that are familiar or of personal interest.
- Can describe experiences and events, dreams, hopes and ambitions and briefly give reasons and explanations for opinions and plans.
The following Italian language certificates have been approved by the CEFR: CELI, CILS and PILDA.
The online application has not yet been amended, but there is already an indication on the Ministero dell’Interno portal that applicants from 1st December may be contacted to integrate their documentation.
Changes to Italian Immigration and Citizenship rules (Decreto Salvini) came into force on October 5th 2018 with Decreto Legge 113/2018.
Article 14 of this new law changes the current rules on applications for Italian citizenship. These new rules affect a number of our clients, in particular British citizens hoping to obtain Italian citizenship before the UK leaves the EU in order to safeguard the rights associated with European citizenship. The main changes are the increase in time in which the Home office must make a decision and the increase in the application fee. Although amendments were also proposed to recognise the same rights to women ancestors to have passed Italian citizenship to their descendants, this was removed from the draft and has not been included in the definitive text. It is expected that this will be included in future legislation.
We have prepared an English translation of Article 14 which deals with changes to the rules on applications for Italian citizenship on the grounds of marriage (Art. 5 of the 1992 law) or on grounds of residence in Italy (Art. 9 of the 1992 law).
(Provisions for the acquisition and revocation of citizenship)
1 The following modifications are to be made to Law of February 9th 1992, n.91:
a) Article 8, para 2 is revoked
b) Article 9bis, paragraph 2, is amended, the words «sum of 200 Euro« are replaced with the following «sum of 250 Euro»;
c) At the end of Article 9 bis the following is added:
ADDED TEXT “Article 9-ter 1. The term for definition of proceedings referred to in Arts. 5 and 9 is forty-eight months from the date of presentation of the question. “;
2. The time limit referred to in para 1. above also applies to applications for the recognistion of Italian citizenship made to the Italian Consulate network or to the Anagrafe of the Comune relating to facts which took place prior to 1948;
d) At the end of Article 10 the following is added:
ADDED TEXT “Art. 10-bis: 1. Italian citizenship which has been acquired pursuant to Arts. 4 para 2, Art. 5 and Art. 9, is revoked when the foreigner or stateless person to whom it was granted is convicted definitively for any of the criminal offences provided for by article 407, paragraph 2, letter a), n. 4), of the code of criminal procedure, as well as for the crimes referred to in articles 270-ter and 270-quinquies.2, of the Italian criminal code.
The revocation of citizenship is adopted within three years of the conviction of one of the offences mentioned above by decree of the President of the Republic, on the proposal of the Minister of the Interior.
2. The provisions referred to in paragraph 1, lett. b) e) and d) apply to the conferment procedures of citizenship in progress at the date of entry into force of this decree.
3. To Article 1, para 1 of the Law of 12th January 1991 n. 13 the letter aa) is substituted by the letter “aa) Concession and revocation of Italian citizenship”.
Following 5 years of continuous legal residence in Italy, an EU citizen* can apply for permanent residence. This is a certificate issued by the Comune known as the “Attestato di soggiorno permanente“.
The right to obtain the Attestato di soggiorno permanente is provided in the Directive on Free movement (2004/38/CE) and is incorporated into Italian law no. 30 of 2007 (see articles 14- 16).
Diritto di soggiorno permanente
1. Il cittadino dell’Unione che ha soggiornato legalmente ed in via continuativa per cinque anni nel territorio nazionale ha diritto al soggiorno permanente non subordinato alle condizioni previste dagli articoli 7, 11, 12 e 13.
Unlike obtaining a residence certificate within 3 months of entry into a new member state, the acquisition of permanent residence is not compulsory. It is an advantage to have this however, for these reasons:
- Once permanent residence has been obtained, it can only be forfeited if the applicant is absent from the member state where they acquired permanent residence for 2 years as per Article 14 comma 4 of directive 2004/38/CE vo 03/07.
- Some Comune may ask that residence certificates are up-dated or the holder proves the grounds on which he/she is resident in Italy. In the case of permanent residence this question need no longer be asked.
We do recommend that British citizens currently resident in Italy apply for this certificate as after the UK leaves the EU this may no longer be possible.
An application for the “attestato” is made to the Comune in which the person is currently resident. The applicant needs simply to show a valid ID such as a passport or identity card, as well as the continuity of residence for more than 5 years in Italy. It is not necessary to provide evidence of the conditions under which he/she was resident (although in practice many Comune do ask for bank statements of payslips or health insurance this is not a legal requirement). The continuity of legal residence could be proved by a “certificato di residenza storica”.
Each Comune should be able to issue EU citizens with advice on how to apply.
See link here to the Comune di Roma: Attestato di soggiorno permanente di cittadino dell’Unione Europea
Continuity of residence shall not be affected by temporary absences not exceeding a total of six months a year, or by absences of a longer duration for compulsory military service or by one absence of a maximum of twelve consecutive months for important reasons such as pregnancy and childbirth, serious illness, study or vocational training, or a posting in another Member State or a third country as per Article 16 of directive 2004/38/CE.
According to Article 15 of directive 2004/38/CE vo 30/07 permanent residence can be acquired even before the completion of 5 years legal residence for various reasons. For example, family members who have legally resided in a member state with the applicant for a continuous period of 5 years can apply for permanent residence also.
*Despite the UK’s decision to invoke Article 50 of the TEU, at the time of writing, the United Kingdom remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in and to the UK.