Immigration: rules for entry and residence for digital nomads and remote workers are enforceable

Last Updated on April 10, 2024

On 4 April 2024, the Ministerial Decree of 29 February 2024 was published, implementing art. 6 (5) of converted Italian Decree Law no. 4/2022 (the so-called Sostegni ter Decree).

After two years of waiting, the provision is now in force that allows the entry into Italy of foreign nationals who perform, either as freelancers or employees (even those working for a non-established company in Italy), highly qualified work using technological tools that enable them to work remotely. These persons are admitted to Italy regardless of the quotas established in the programming of entry flows for non-EU citizens for employment reasons.

The Decree applies to freelancers (so-called digital nomads), and to employees and collaborators whose working modality is organised by the client (so-called hetero-organised workers).

Entry and residence are permitted on condition that the persons concerned:

  • have a minimum annual income of not less than three times the amount eligible for exemption from participation in health care contributions;
  • hold health insurance valid for Italy and for the entire duration of their stay;
  • are in possession of documentation proving their suitability for accommodation;
  • can prove at least six months’ previous experience in the work activity to be carried out remotely;
  • have an employment or collaboration contract or a binding offer for highly qualified work.

From a procedural point of view, no provisional authorisation is required, and the residence permit, subject to prior acquisition of an entry visa, must be requested directly from the Questura (police headquarters) where the foreigner is located, within eight working days of entry into Italy. The document is valid for a period not exceeding 12 months, may be renewed annually, and will not be issued if the employer has been convicted during the previous five years for crimes related to illegal immigration.

The foreigner is allowed to avail of family reunification, and family members will be granted a residency permit for these reasons with the same duration as that of the worker.

From a social security point of view, the provisions of the bilateral conventions on social security between Italy and the third country in question apply or, where no convention exists, Italian law. The residence permit shall, in any case, be revoked in the event of breaches of the tax and contribution provisions in force in the Italian system.

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