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In July 2016, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour issued a joint circular (no. 35/0002777 dated 14/07/2016) about the requirements for highly skilled work permit applications filed pursuant to Articles 27 and 27-quater of Legislative Decree No. 286/98 (Italian Immigration Law).
The Ministries’ action falls within the framework of the European Agenda on Migration in an effort to promote Europe as an attractive destination for highly skilled migrants, students and researchers and appears to be an effort to limit the discretionary power of local Immigration offices and to streamline the application process harmonising requirements.

However, despite the efforts to harmonize the list of requirements throughout Italy, the impact of the ministerial circular did not have the desired effect. In fact, also because the circular is not clear enough and leaves space to interpretations, in terms on what – which kind of document - and how – if legalisation is necessary in any case - needs to be provided, local authorities are interpreting differently some of the requirements.
All the more, being Italian local authorities quite slow in implementing new regulations, many Immigration offices throughout Italy are still working at their list of documents and are yet to disclose it.

The main new provisions about intra-company work permit for highly specialized personnel or managers/directors and highly qualified workers on assignment to Italy - the most common permits used by multinational groups – are:
1. Letter of assignment or support letter: the circular specifies the content and format of the letter. This must be now countersigned by the worker for acceptance and must contain detailed information on the sending company and its affiliation with the Italian host entity; reasons for the assignment and details (duration, salary etc.); information on assignee (hiring date, job role, qualification and sector of activity, educational qualification etc.; information on Italian host company and indication of the operative office where assignee will be based for the majority of working hours and – most important – information about the salary amount and social security payments (if a bilateral convention is in place on social security and the assignee remains on the social security system of the sending country or if he/she will be covered by the Italian social security system).
2. If – under a bilateral agreement – the assignee remains covered by his/her home social security system - a copy of the social security certificate/certificate of coverage issued by social security institution one is registered with in his/her home country
3. Thorough verification will be carried out on the financial position and income of both the Italian host entity and the sending company. The sending company latest financial statement (reporting assets, liabilities, profit and loss account) must now be provided.

The circular confirms that any documents originated outside Italy must be apostille or legalised as appropriate and accompanied by attested translation into Italian

The Circular also provides clarity on several aspects, which – though being in practice already well known and established – were not clearly specified, leading to possible different interpretation form authorities such as:

• Intra company assignments can be up to 4 or 5 years long in total (depending on the type) and work permit extensions should be released accordingly
• where allowed, local hire at the host company for holders of highly skilled intra company work permit is possible only a) at the end of the first assignment period (as shown in the work permit and contract of stay or (b) after the first assignment period has passed, within the maximum assignment length – 5 years;
• work permit extension: the circular provided the relevant application forms to be used when applying for work permit extensions

The circular confirms other information and requirements regarding in general work permit application exempted from the quota system though not introducing considerable new provisions.

Effective August 30, 2016 the Apostille Convention - also known as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents - has been implemented in Chile

As a result, the documents issued in Chile and certified with an Apostille will be recognized in any other Apostille Convention member country. Likewise, apostilled documents from any other signatory country (Italy included) will be accepted in Chile without additional certifications.
Foreign Ministry of Chile has also launched a website dedicated to the Apostille process http://apostilla.gob.cl/.

Until now, the validity of any document issued by Chile was recognized only if its original had been verified by local authorities and then legalized by the Italian Consular Authority in Chile (and vice versa).
The implementation of the Hague Convention has streamlined this process, making the lengthy and expensive steps of the consular legalization process no longer necessary and facilitating the procurement and international circulation of public documents between Chile and other signatory countries, Italy included.

September 2016 - By means of Presidential Decree No. 03903/2016 of 14 September 2016 the Council of State has decided to suspend the court order of the TAR, Lazio's Regional Administrative Court, which back in May 2016 had abolished the residence permits application fees. The immediate consequence is that the fees are temporarily reintroduced, at least until a final decision is taken on the matter. A Chambers hearing is scheduled for 13 October 2016 to discuss further the subject and reach a final decision.

Due to lack of precise indications on the matter, we expect delays in residence permits processing time and issuance. Applications already filed may be kept on hold until the required fee is paid.

Background:
In October 2011, a joint Ministerial decree had introduced high residence permit application/renewal fees (from Eur 80 to 200, depending on the type and duration of the permit, in addition to the fixed expenses already in place - about 60 euros - 30.36 EUR for the electronic card and 30 EUR for the post office services). In 2015, the European Court of Justice had judged the tax a violation of EU regulations and subsequently The Regional Administrative Court in Lazio had declared illegal the part of a decree which established a residence permit tax and abolished the fee on applications.

Italy implemented Directive 2014/67 (concerning the posting of workers in the framework of the provision of services) with Decree. N. 136/2016 (in force as of 22.07.2016).  The decree introduces new obligations for companies posting foreign workers to Italy. 
Specific guidelines for the accomplishment of the new provisions are still to be issued.
The Decree applies to:  
  • EU companies posting workers to  a company in Italy (also a company of the same group);
  • EU placement agencies posting workers in Italy;
  • NON-EU companies posting  workers in Italy.
The decree introduces a regime of joint liability between the host and sending entities up to two years after the termination of the posting in relation to social security contributions etc. 
The decree introduces some obligations for the sending companies posting workers to Italy, namely:   
  • Send a notice to the Ministry  of Labour before the posting is initiated and of any changes occurred during the relationship;
  • Keep all documents referring to the posting (employment contract, payslips, notifications etc.)
  • Appoint a local representative  domiciled in Italy
 
For the full text of Decree. N. 136/2016 click here  

August 11, 2016 - The Ministry of Internal Affairs has finally provided clarity on the impact of the recent law recognizing same sex unions on immigration provisions.

 

Background
Italy has recognised same-sex civil unions since 5 June 2016 (Law n.76/2016), granting to same-sex couples most of the rights of marriage except parenting (stepchild or joint adoption). Further to this, an implementing decree (no. 144, July, 23 2016) has provided guidance on civil union registration procedures in the marital archives, giving the green light to celebration of the first gay unions.

 

Impact on Immigration policy
Clause 20 of the new law establishes that - whenever in legislation, administrative acts and collective agreements there is any reference to marriage, or the words “Coniuge” (Spouse) “Coniugi” (Spouses), or equivalent terms - the provisions are to be applied to same sex civil unions as well.
As a consequence, whenever there’s reference to “coniuge” (Spouse), “moglie” (Wife), “marito” (Husband), and “sposo” (Husband) in immigration law, the provisions are extended to same sex couples who have entered into a legally registered civil union.

A ministerial circular has finally officially confirmed that under the new regulations, the right to family reunion is extended to same sex foreign nationals entered into a legally registered civil union. The foreign same sex spouse of a foreign national regularly residing in Italy is now eligible to obtain a residence permit for family reasons under the same conditions and following the same procedures as different-sex spouses.
Documentary evidence of the civil union - in Italy or abroad - will be required to ascertain that the civil union is effectively and legally registered.

 

For the full text of ministerial circular click here

The EU has signed short-stay visa waiver agreements with the Republic of the Marshall Islands and Tuvalu


The new visa regime provides for visa-free travel to those citizens in possession of a valid ordinary, diplomatic, service/official or special passport travelling to the respective countries for a period of stay of 90 days in any 180-day period.

 

The visa is waived for those travelling for reasons such as tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities, family visits, business etc. Any activity different from the above or any stay beyond 90 days in any 180-day period will require a visa prior to entry.

On August 14, the Apostille Convention - also known as the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalization for Foreign Public Documents - will enter into force in Brazil.
As a result, international circulation of public documents between Brazil and other signatory countries, Italy included, will be greatly simplified.

The lengthy and burdensome consular authentication process will be replaced by the issuance of an “apostille.”

At present, a Brazil-issued document is recognized as valid in Italy only if its original has been verified by local authorities and then legalized by the Italian Consular Authority in Brazil (and vice versa).

From August 14th, the apostille will streamline this process, making the consular legalisation step no longer necessary. Authorities in charge of handling the process will be the "Cartórios" - Notary offices in the Capitals of federated states, which will be listed on the site WWW.cnj.jus.br/haia
By means of the Apostille instrument, enabled Cartórios will attest the validity of public documents to be presented in any of the Hague Convention signatory country.

The Apostille will be also applied to the translations of the same public documents, provided that it is performed by sworn public translators included in the lists prepared by relevant authorities of the Federated States.

In short, the Brazilian public acts will be recognized as valid in Italy thanks to the Apostille affixed to the document and to the translation.

Regulation (EU) 2016/1191 was published last week (26.7.2016) in the Official Journal of the European Union.
The Regulation - signed 9 June 2016 - aims at cutting red tape and reduce costs for citizens when submitting in a Union country a public document issued in another Union country.
The Regulation covers public documents such as certificates, notarial acts, judgments and consular documents in certain areas.

The public documents covered by the Regulation will no longer require an apostille stamp to prove its authenticity. This applies also to certified copies.

The areas covered are: birth; a person being alive; death; name; marriage, divorce, legal separation or marriage annulment; registered partnership, dissolution/legal separation/annulment of a registered partnership, parenthood; adoption; domicile and/or residence; nationality; absence of a criminal record and the right to vote and stand as a candidate in municipal elections/elections to the European Parliament.


Additionally, the receiving Union Country cannot require a translation if the public document is in one of the official languages of the Union country or in another non-official language that the Union country can accept.

In addition, multilingual standard forms - issued in all Union languages - are introduced. The forms attached to their public document will exempt it from translation, unless an exceptional circumstance exist. Multilingual forms will be issued for the documents concerning: birth, a person being alive, death, marriage, registered partnership, domicile and/or residence and absence of a criminal record.

Finally, a mechanism based on an existing IT system will be in place to fight against fraudulent public documents.


The Regulation will enter into force on 15/08/2016; Union countries have two years and a half from then to adopt all necessary measures to allow for the smooth application of the Regulation at the end of this period.


Factsheet (European Commission – Justice and Consumers website)

 

Italy, July 25, 2016 - The Supreme Court (ruling no. 15343) - applying in full the principles of international law - has ruled that the marriage of two Pakistani nationals celebrated in their home country through Skype without the physical presence of the couple, must be recognised by the Ministry of Interior and therefore considered valid in Italy.

The EU and the Republic of Kiribati - an island nation located in the central tropical Pacific Ocean - signed a short-stay visa waiver agreement that provides for visa-free travel for EU citizens when travelling to the territory of Kiribati and for citizens of Kiribati when travelling to the EU (Schengen area), for short stays.
The agreement was signed on June 23 2016 and applies on a provisional basis as from 24 June. It was published into the Official Journal of the European Union on July 23
As per Schengen regulations, citizens of the Union may stay in the territory of Kiribati for a maximum period of 90 days in any 180 day period and the same applies to citizens of Kiribati travelling to the territory of the Member States. The visa-free travel applies to citizens from the EU and Kiribati holders of a valid ordinary, diplomatic, service/official or special passport and for any kind of purposes of travel (for instance tourism, cultural visits, scientific activities, family visits, business etc.), except for the purpose of carrying out a paid activity.
The agreement is aimed to facilitate contacts, increment tourism and business between the EU and Kiribati.
Kiribati now joins the list of the third countries whose whose nationals are exempt from short stay visa requirement: Albania, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, El Salvador, Grenada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hong Kong, Israel, Japan, Kiribati, Macau, Macedonia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Mauritius, Mexico, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Palau, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Serbia, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, United States, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Vatican City, Venezuela.

Under Italian citizenship law [art. 9(d) Law n. 92/1991] EU citizens who

  • (i) have lived in Italy for at least 4 years (i.e. are registered as residents with the local Townhall); and
  • (ii) can prove to have paid taxes; and
  • (ii) do not have any criminal convictions,

are eligible for Italian citizenship.

Even though the adjudication can take a few years (and the applicant must remain resident in Italy and continue to pay taxes until adjudication) citizenship is adjudicated if the conditions for eligibility are in place on the day the application is lodged.

Accordingly, even though the UK leaves the EU in the near future, a UK citizen meeting the conditions indicated above could apply for citizenship while UK is still a EU member and, provided that the applicant meets all requirements on the day the application is lodged, there should be no problems for obtaining Italian citizenship.
For further information mm@mazzeschi.it 

Italy, 14 July 2016 -  By means of a joint circular (no. 35/0002777 dated 14/07/2016) the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Labour have finally provided clear guidelines to Immigration Authorities on the list of documents required for work permit applications for highly skilled workers (either on temporary assignment or locally hired on an EU Blue Card).
Further to this, the discretionary power of local Immigration offices with regards to documentary requirements should be limited and the application process should gradually become more streamlined.
The Ministries’ action falls within the framework of the European Agenda on Migration in an effort to promote Europe as an attractive destination for highly skilled migrants, students and researchers.

 

See the original document here

June 21, 2016 - Filing the application for a Housing Feasibility Certificate in town halls such as Latina and Rome is becoming increasingly more difficult for a number of reasons (offices  internal reorganization, temporary inaccessibility of the online system, increased number of documents required...).

As a general rule, among other obligations as part of the work permit application, the Italian employer acting as the sponsor, must ensure that the foreign worker will be guaranteed a suitable accommodation during his/her Italian assignment.

In order to complete the immigration formalities,  it is therefore necessary to provide documented proof of a “suitable accommodation” for the assignee and each immigration office or immigration police department may adopt a different policy (which can be more strict than the other, depending on the officer).

In particular, the contract of stay and residence permit filing step (which must occur within 8 days from the foreigner arriving to Italy with the valid work visa) requires either:

1. A reservation in a temporary accommodation facility such as hotel, residence etc.

or

2. The availability of a privately owned house/apartment (through a lease, a property deed, a declaration of hospitality in case it is owned/leased by a third party hosting the foreigner) that falls in line with health and safety regulations and meets the minimum requirement in size in proportion to the number of people living there; standards which are set forth by law.

 

The documents required respectively in case (1) and (2) are:

     1. Reservation in a temporary accommodation facility such as hotel, residence etc.

A written confirmation of the reservation, printed on the hotel letterhead and signed by a hotel representative.

Depending on the jurisdiction where the application is filed, there may be different requirements in terms of document format and length of reservation.

In Milan, authorities are very strict and do not accept a reservation for less than 1 month from the date of the contract of stay appointment. Moreover, the letter must be in Italian, contain the employee data and must be presented in original signed by the hotel representative along with a copy of the signatory identity document. Also, because the accommodation is supposed to be temporary, it is also required a declaration from the employer stating that during the stay in Italy they – as the employer – will ensure the employee is provided with a suitable accommodation (either directly or by means of an adequate financial amount). Because the reservation must be for 1 month from the date the contract of stay is signed and this should happen – unless unavailability of officers – within 8 days of arrival, it is advisable that the employee upon arrival has a reservation for at least 1 month + 2 weeks, in order to allow enough time to accomplish all the necessary formalities.

 

2. Availability of a privately owned house/apartment

Whether the property is leased or owned by the employee or by the employer or even by a third party hosting the employee, documents required are: registered lease, cessione di fabbricato or dichiarazione di ospitalità as appropriate and housing feasibility certificate* (or its application receipt).

Note that the housing feasibility certificate is an official document issued by the relevant local authority upon request. It is a document required specifically for immigration procedures and obtaining it (or even simply applying for it) may be in most cases lengthy and burdensome. For this reason, it is unlikely that a foreign national who has just arrived in Italy can provide not only a duly signed and registered lease (note by law the landlord has up to 30 days to register the lease which could delay even further applying for the HFC) but also obtain even the receipt let alone the actual certificate itself.

*such a document is however generally required in case of a family permit application later on in the process

Given the above, in order to comply with immigration requirements and be able to start the in-country immigration formalities within 8 days of arrival, each employee should be able to submit the required documents almost immediately upon arrival. In case of the scenario as described in point 2 above, it is very difficult to procure all is necessary within such a short time, unless the employee has had the chance to visit Italy beforehand and obtain all the relevant documentation.

Once the 8 days slot (considering working days only) has ended, the assignee will not be fully compliant unless it can be proven that he/she could not accomplish the necessary formalities because of force majeur.

In conclusion, where it is necessary to show proof of a suitable accommodation short after the arrival in the country, it is strongly recommended that clients find alternative accommodation for which the Housing Feasibility Certificate is not required to prove compliancy, such as hotels, residence or similar temporary accommodation facilities.

3 June - Same Sex Civil Union law was published in the official gazette on 21 May and will take effect on 5 June 2016.Implementing decrees will follow to harmonize all other regulations - included immigration regulations - so to be in line with the new law.

For the full text of the law (Italian only) http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/eli/id/2016/05/21/16G00082/sg 

May 27 - The TAR, Lazio's Regional Administrative Court, has declared void part of the Ministerial decree 6 October 2011 introducing residence permits tax, abolishing the fee on applications. This comes after European Court of Justice had judged the Italian residence permit application tax a breach of EU regulations, being disproportionate and a limit to the rights of foreign citizens. The decree had set the renewal fee at a variable rate between 80-200 euros, replacing the previous lower fee. Although the tax should no longer be applied, other expenses remain, such as 16€ of stamps, 30,46€ for the electronic card and 30€ for the post office services. 
It is likely that the Italian government will lower the tax to an amount that is considered acceptable by the EU. Further developments and instructions are expected soon.
 

On 11 May 2016 European Parliament approved harmonised EU entry and residence rules to make it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities (2013/0081(COD)). The new rules clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs. The procedure is now awaiting publication in Official Journal. The directive will enter into force the day after its publication in the European Official Journal. Member states will have two years time to transpose its provisions into the respective national laws.

 

Read more at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/20160504IPR25749/New-rules-to-attract-non-EU-students-researchers-and-interns-to-the-EU

 

Entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, volunteering, pupil exchange and au pairing ***II - adopted test - provisional edition

May 4, 2016 - European commission proposed visa-free travel for Turkish citizens in the Schengen area. Turks would have visa-free access to the 26 countries of the Schengen zone.
It is proposed to lift visa requirements by the end of June. The change could take effect from July, but first it requires approval by the European Parliament and member states. It will not apply to the UK and Ireland.

 

For further information:

European Commission - Press release - European Commission opens way for decision by June on visa-free travel for citizens of Turkey

European Commission - Press release

European Commission opens way for decision by June on visa-free travel for citizens of Turkey

27 April 2016 - With ministerial Decree dated March 10, 2016 issued by the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Italian government has increased filing fees for the electronic residence permit in credit-card format "permesso di soggiorno" (format pursuant to Council Regulations No. 1030/2002 and No. 380/2008)
The new amounts are as follows:

  • Residence permit card - fee waiver: €30,46 (previously €27,50)
  • Residence permit card valid from 3 months to 1 year: €110,46 (previously €107,50)
  • Residence permit card valid from 1 to 2 years: €130,46 (previously €127,50)
  • EC residence permit card for long-term residents and intra company residence permit cards for managers and highly skilled workers (application pursuant to Art.27 a of Italian Immigration law): € 230,46 (previously €227,50)

April 28, 2016 - The Police Office in Milan no longer allows local counsels to accompany clients while submitting applications. Counsels can stay with their clients in the waiting room but when applicants are summoned by the clerks to submit the applications, they cannot be accompanied by any third party.  In addition we are also noticing serious delays in fixing appointments for the fingerprinting. Individuals who have filed applications in the last few days have been summoned for September.

April 21, 2016 - On Family reunification case C-558/14, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled the following:  
Article 7(1)(c) of Council Directive 2003/86/EC of 22 September 2003 on the right to family reunification must be interpreted as allowing the competent authorities of a Member State to refuse an application for family reunification on the basis of a prospective assessment of the likelihood of the sponsor retaining, or failing to retain, the necessary stable and regular resources which are sufficient to maintain himself and the members of his family, without recourse to the social assistance system of that Member State, in the year following the date of submission of that application, that assessment being based on the pattern of the sponsor’s income in the six months preceding that date.

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