Italy — highly skilled workers

Blue card permit: how it works?

What is the Blue Card permit?

The EU Blue Card is one of the extra quota work permits for non-EU highly specialized workers to work in Italy. It can be applied for at any time of the year, as it is not subject to the limitations of the immigration quotas. The application is to be submitted by the Company which is interested to hire the worker.


Requirements are:

  1. 3 year University diploma: it is not sufficient to submit a legalized diploma, it must be also validated by the Italian Consulate in the country where it was issued (Declaration of Value — Dichiarazione di Valore). See for example the procedure set forth by the Italian Consulate in New York, but each Consulate may have different requirements;
  2. Worker must receive a minimum 1 year job offer: the offer must be from an employer based in Italy. Employer can be (i) a company (Immigration office is asking the company to have adequate financial means and be in good standing); (ii) a private individual, but in this case it can be challenging to obtain the work permit.
  3. Be offered a high-level job position in Italy: The position offered in Italy must be for a highly qualified position, falling within Level 1, Level 2, or Level 3 of Italian Institute of statistic jobs classification ISTAT CP 2011.
  4. Salary of not less than € 25,000/year: the salary offered must not be lower than 3 times the minimum wage to be exempted from national health care contributions i.e. € 24,789.

Application Procedure

Photo by Viktor Talashuk on Unsplash

The procedure for obtaining a Blue card work permit is the following:

  1. Diploma validation: issued by the Italian Consulate having jurisdiction on the Univerisity
  2. Work permit (Nulla Osta) Online application, filed by the Italian employer;
  3. Visa: work permit is issued and worker can apply for the Visa at the Italian Consulate which has jurisdiction over his place of residence (which must be indicated in the work permit application).
  4. Entry into Italy, within 8 days the worker must go to the local Immigration Office (Sportello Unico per l’Immigrazione) and sign the contract of stay (contratto di soggiorno), i.e. confirmation of the terms and conditions of the job offer. From the next day worker can be hired and put on company’s payroll;
  5. Permesso di soggiorno: worker can file the application for the residence permit (Police registration) at the Post Office
  6. Fingerprinting: after 1–2 monts worker is summoned by the Police and given an appointment for fingerprinting;
  7. The permit is issued: after 2–3 months (waiting time can be longer) the Police will inform the worker that the permit is issued and can be collected.

What rights does a blue card worker have?

Validity: the Police issues an EU Blue Card residence permit (Permesso di soggiorno Carta Blu UE) valid for 2 years for open-end work contracts or for the validity of the contract plus 3 months, in case of a fixed term job contract;

Change employer: for the first 2 years, the worker cannot change job without the change must be previously approved by the Immigration Office;

EU mobility: after 18 months, the worker can move to another EU country with no need to obtain a new visa. Each country has its own specific requirements and conditions and the worker cannot start working without having complied with local regulations;

Family: the worker is entitled to bring his/her family (spouse and children up to 18) who can obtain a family permit which allows the spouse to work;

Healthcare: worker and family can register with the National Health Service, read our ARTICLE;

Residency: worker and family are entitled to register with the City Hall (Comune) where they are “residents” and obtain an ID card;

Taxes: you should consult with a tax expert to check tax obligations, exemptions, benefits, etc.

Useful tips

  1. Diploma validation: check the requirements with the local Italian Consulate, all Consulates have available informatino in their website. In some countries the procedure for obtaining the validation can take several months. The application can be done by a third party (with a proxy) and the worker does not need to be in the country;
  2. Application: the work permit application is filed online by the company, it cannot be applied for by the worker;
  3. Job title: make sure to choose a job title (amongst the categoties listed by the law) for which no special license is required (such as teacher). In this case the procedure would take longer;
  4. Professional experience: unfortunately Italian law does not allow to obtain the Blue Card permit without a University diploma, by proving a professional experience;
  5. Can worker be in Italy while Blue Card application is pending? YES, but cannot work, he/she can carry out only business activities (see Decree 850/2011);
  6. Visa: visa must be applied for at the Italian Consulate, worker cannot change status while in Italy nor choose a different Consulate where to apply;
  7. Change job: the employer cannot be changed during the first 2 years. The new employer will need to obtain an authorization to the change;
  8. After 2 years: after 2 years the worker can change job without requiring an auhorization and, under certain conditions, can also start working as freelance by opening a VAT position.

Disclaimer: The information provided on this article (i) does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; (ii) are for general informational purposes only and may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information (iii) this website may contain links to other third-party websites. Such links are only for the convenience of the reader; (iv) readers should contact their attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal or tax matter.



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