With the publication of Legislative Decree 253/2916, in effect from January 11, 2017 and amending the Consolidated Act on Immigration (Legislative Decree 286/1998), Italy has finally implemented Directive 2014/66/EC of 15 May 2014 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer (the so-called “ICT Directive”).

The decree introduces a new Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) Permit

Who Is Affected?

The new provisions apply to third country nationals temporarily seconded from a non-EU employer to an Italian company of the same group and who qualify as:

  • Managers (“dirigenti” i.e. workers in a senior position, directing the host entity, supervising work of other professional or managerial employees etc.);
  • Specialists (i.e. workers possessing specialized knowledge essential to the host entity’s areas of activity, techniques or management);
  • Trainees (graduated workers transferred for career development purposes).

Also, holders of ICT work and residence permits issued in other member states will be able to work at a company of the same group in Italy for up to 90 days by simply notifying their presence. For stays of more than 90 days, an ICT work and residence permit must be obtained, but no work visa will be required.

Main Features of the New ICT Permit

  • It allows both residence and work in Italy;
  • It may be issued for a maximum of three years for managers and specialists and up to one year for trainees;
  • At the expiry of the maximum ICT permit validity period, a new application can be filed only after at least 3 months have passed;
  • The work permit application is filed by the Italian host company;
  • Family members of ICT permit holders qualify for a family permit even if the assignment is for less than one year;
  • Holders of a valid Italian ICT permit will be allowed, under conditions, to temporarily perform activities at an entity of the same group established in another EU member state.

Qualifying Criteria

  • The host entity established in Italy and the employer established outside the EU must be part of the same company or group of companies;
  • The employee must have been working for the same company, or for a company of the same group, for at least three uninterrupted months immediately preceding the transfer.
  • After the assignment is finished the worker shall return to another part of the company or group outside the EU.
  • The worker will hold a position as manager, specialist or trainee for which he or she qualified (if the position is for a regulated profession, this must be recognized in Italy).
  • The employer must confirm its commitment to complying with the relevant social security obligations in Italy, unless a social security agreement applies.

Implementation

At present, the Italian immigration authority is still shaping the application procedures. It is still uncertain how the new application procedure will work in practice.  It is expected that this will become clear in the coming days.

The existing highly-skilled migrant program remains in place with some variations. Therefore, it is still possible to submit applications under article 27(a) regulating the intra-company work permit for managers/highly skilled staff. The new provisions overlap with that of the existing highly-skilled migrant program. Therefore we expect that the Immigration authority will soon issue guidelines to clarify the differences between the two procedures.

Background

Directive 2014/66/EC of 15 May 2014 “on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer” aims to create a consistent EU-wide system for non-EU nationals sent on assignment within a group of companies to EU Member States.

The deadline for EU Member States to transpose this directive into their national legislation was November 29, 2016. However, Italy is only the seventh country to implement the ICT directive so far. The United Kingdom, Ireland and Denmark have opted out of the directive.


Please note that this is general information only and not intended as advice on a specific matter. Please feel free to contact Fakhoury Global Immigration directly with questions exclusive to your situation. This news alert may have been prepared using information from Peregrine Immigration Management, which is licensed to Fakhoury Global Immigration.