Relocating your employees to Italy

Italy, the land of la dolce vita, offers a wonderful climate, cities full of history and a culinary revelation for the people who live there. Yet the country is not yet very popular among expats. This is mainly due to the political situation, a high unemployment rate, and an economic gap between north and south. However, it can be very attractive for your organization to move an employee abroad. We tell you the most important information that you must take into account.

Immigration requirements

As in most European countries, a distinction is made between EU citizens and non-EU citizens. We list the immigration requirements for Italy below.

Types of work visas

Citizens of EU member states, as well as EEA citizens, are free to enter Italy and work and live there without a visa or permit for stays up to 3 months. If your employee is to stay longer than three months, they need to register their residence.

Non-EU citizens must have an employment contract in order to apply for a work visa and permit. The work permit has to be applied for by the employer, after which the employee can apply for a work visa and residence permit. Please note that the Italian government sets an annual quota for the number of work visas issued.

The work visa, called Nulla Osta, only allows employees to enter Italy. They’ll need an additional residence permit to be able to stay in the country.

Application process for Italian work visa

There are a few steps to take in order to obtain a Nulla Osta (work visa) in Italy:

  1. The employer has to apply for a work permit at the immigration office.
  2. After the work permit has been approved, the employer will inform the Italian embassy or consulate where the employee will apply for a work visa and deliver the employee their work permit.
  3. The employee will submit their visa application in person at the Italian embassy or consulate.
  4. After entering Italy, the employee has eight days to apply for a residence permit.

Can the spouse reside in Italy as well?

Is the employee’s spouse or registered partner also an EEA or EU member state citizen? Then the same rules apply with regard to living and working in Italy. In case the spouse is not a citizen of the EEA or EU member state, they have to apply for a residence card and register their presence.


Relocation management

Thanks to the Mediterranean climate and rich history that the country possesses, it can be very attractive for employees to relocate to Italy for a short or long term. We discuss a number of factors that are important for a move abroad, so that you can prepare your employee for their new destination.


As in many other countries, there are big differences in housing based on the region or larger cities where you will live. Especially in big cities like Milan, Rome or Venice it is a challenge to find affordable housing options. You often pay a high price for rent here, but the advantage is that you live in a bustling city with many attractions. In general, it is slightly cheaper in the south of the country, in terms of housing as well as groceries, food or other living costs.

Another big advantage that you will find in a big city is the fact that there is a more international atmosphere. Unlike in small Italian villages, the citizens in big cities will often speak English.

Working conditions

Italy technically has no federal minimum wage, just like Austria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland and Sweden. However, there are collective bargaining agreements that set the wages at a sectoral level.

A maximum working week is 40 hours, during which overtime may not exceed 48 hours. Many public organizations or shops close at noon for a long lunch break, often between 1 and 3 PM. At private companies the lunch time is often a lot shorter.

Schooling & childcare

Primary school in Italy starts at the age of 6. Until that age, children can go to daycare or preschool, also called nido and asilo. However, in some regions it’s very common to keep the children at home with their (grand)parents until they are old enough to go to primary school.

The costs for daycare can vary, because these institutions are run through both the state and private organizations. Preschools are regulated by the Ministry of Public Education (Ministero della Pubblica Istruzione), although they do not regulate the curriculum of the schools. Therefore, the programs at preschools can vary.


The Italian health care system is known for its high quality. There is a public health care system, called Servizio Sanitario Nazionale, which is regulated on a regional basis. Hospitalization in a public hospital or emergency medical service is completely free of charge for everyone, even non-citizens. It’s important to note that the primary emergency telephone number in Italy is 118, since the European number (112) does not work in all regions.


Costs of relocating employees to Italy

Visa costs

If your employee is staying in Italy for less than 3 months and is an EEA or EU member state citizen, no additional visa needs to be applied for. They do need to register their presence after which a certificate of registration is issued. A fee of €27,50 applies for this.

If the employee stays longer in Italy or they are a non-EU citizen, then they’ll have to apply for a work visa. The costs for a visa for salaried employment is €116. When applying for a residence permit as well, additional costs may apply. These costs are depended on the type of permit, your circumstances and where you apply.

Shipment costs

Italy has a good connection with other countries, as well as a convenient location by the sea, which makes it easy to arrange the transport of household goods. In general, the costs for sea freight are the lowest, because more goods can be transported at once on a boat, in contrast to, for example, an airplane. With sea transport, consider a longer transport time, so make sure that the process is started on time.

Flight tickets

Not only the household goods, but also the employee and their family themselves must arrive at their destination. There are several major airports in Italy with good accessibility from other (European) cities. In many cases, the costs for the airline tickets are paid by the employer, but this can be determined differently in consultation with the employee.

It is interesting to book the airline tickets far in advance, because the prices are usually lower than when you book it short in advance.

Cost of living in Italy

The cost of living depends very much on the region or city where the employee will live. In general, you will spend more money on housing in the north of the country, especially if you live in one of the larger cities, such as Milan. When living outside the big cities or in a smaller village, the cost of living is a lot more affordable.

Prices for food, drinks and entertainment are comparable to prices in other European countries.

A big advantage of relocating to Italy is that the healthcare and emergency medical service is free, even for non-residents of Italy.

A professional relocator helps relocating your employees to Italy

A new job and relocation abroad demand a lot from an employee. To make the preparations and arrival as smooth as possible, it is interesting to enlist the help of a professional relocator. They know exactly which documents must be arranged, which requirements must be met and how your employee is guided in the right way.

Discover our relocation services and read more about how Voerman can help your organization relocate employees to Italy.

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