Good news for the non-EU highly skilled workers willing to live and work in Italy, as they can now apply for an EU Blue Card work permit.
On June 28, 2012, Italy, by emanating the Legislative Decree, joined other European countries which apply the provisions of the EU Blue Card Directive. The Directive puts in place common and efficient rules allowing highly skilled non-EU foreigners to come and work in the EU where there is need. All EU Member States except Denmark, the UK and Ireland are bound by the Directive.
In Italy this new institute allows to non-EU high qualified employees to be granted a special residence permit, as they can be hired directly without enduring the long process of obtaining a work quota. This means that the employers in Italy will be allowed to bring into the country highly skilled workers at any time, throughout the year, without waiting for the government to publish the Quota Agreement (Decreto Flussi).
In order to be eligible for a Blue Card, a foreign national employee must be able to prove that he or she possesses highly specialised work skills. This can be done if the employee has a university diploma or other training certificate that confirms attendance at, and successful completion of, a minimum three-year course at a professional learning institute.
According to the Directive, higher education qualification refers to "any diploma, certificate or other evidence of formal qualifications issued by a competent authority attesting the successful completion of a post-secondary higher education program, namely a set of courses provided by an educational establishment recognized as a higher education institution by the State in which it is situated." In Italy, foreign workers must have obtained Level 1, 2, and 3 professional qualifications in ISTAT's professionals list.
Many categories of workers will be admitted for highly qualified work. For instance, top managers, IT experts, engineers, doctors, agronomists, lecturers, technicians, accountants, laboratory analysts, social assistants, tour operators, tourist animators, etc. In order to be admitted, foreign workers will have to meet the requirements established by the Italian law, such as an employment contract for a period equal to or greater than 1 year; the minimum salary more than or at least €25.000,00 per year; proof of the accommodation and etc.
As a general rule, once a Member State grants a Blue Card to a migrant, that person can also move to another EU Member State where their skills may be needed. Non-EU foreigners already living legally in Italy will also be allowed to apply for the EU Blue Card if they meet the requirements. Another advantage is that Blue card provides with preferential treatment regarding the family reunion and long term status acquisition.
In short, the EU Blue Card establishes a fast-track admission procedure for the foreigners who meet the requirements and ensures a common set of social and economic rights (equal to those of EU nationals) in a number of areas, as a consequence, the Blue Card scheme presents an attractive package to potential highly qualified migrants. Nonetheless, as the Blue Card system is new, the laws are often interpreted and applied by the local authorities in a very contradictory way, therefore, it is absolutely advisable to engage an immigration lawyer before applying.
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