Getting a job in italy

Italy is a different world, or worlds, depending on where you are. The North and the South are quite different from each other. Rome is a big cosmopolitan self contained entity in its own right. The country varies between highly advanced and the remains of an old village culture which still exists in many places all over the country.


Italian visa requirements for anything other than tourism can be a bit demanding. Italy has had serious problems with illegal immigration. The process really reflects a lot of checks and balances which have had to be created to allow authorities legal power to deal with illegal entrants under different circumstances.

It's a bureaucratic process, but it's also a legal process, and it has to be done properly.

Italy is an EU member, one of the original 15 member countries. EU citizens (including the new EEA members) don't need a visa, unless they intend to stay more than 90 days. (This is a common provision in most countries.) Italy is also part of the Schengen Agreement, and a common Schengen visa applies for member countries.

Fortunately the Italian Foreign Ministry has created a simple web page for other nationals to check out visa requirements.

Non EU nationals require a Residence Visa for periods over that 90 day standardized stay provision. There's a pretty extensive list of related documents depending on the nature of your visit, (there are no less than 21 reasons listed on the site, each with its own requirements, related to each nationality) and you're advised to check with your local Italian consulate beforehand to make sure you've got everything.

Valid passports for the term of your stay are also required.

Visas are issued as adhesive stickers in your passport.

The passport must be valid for three months after expiry of the visa.

Applicants under 18 require written authority from a parent or guardian.

It is quite possible that any of your documentation will need to be translated into Italian. Ask the consulate about this.

Proof Of Financial Resources:

This can be in any legitimate, verifiable, form, like bank statements, provided the Italian authorities accept it as valid proof of financial self support. Depending on your circumstances you may need to check out what's acceptable and what isn't.

(We're not kidding about asking for advice from the consulates. Remember, you're entering another country, and they're within their rights to decline admission. Just get it right at the start.)

In some cases letters from banks, financial service providers or other sources of financial resources supporting your application are acceptable. These letters have to be notarized.

NOTE: Immigration authorities are within their statutory powers to require and obtain information regarding your application. This is a pretty much carte blanche authority, applying to any country.

Important: Proof of financial resources doesn't apply to people coming to Italy to take up work.

Work permits

Authorization to work, as it's known, is issued by the local Department of Labour Office, upon application by your employer. This authorization also has to be authorized by the local police. The final approved document is then sent to your local Italian consulate for processing with your other documents.

For non-EU citizens, this can be a lengthy process, sometimes taking more than a year. It's also a lot of trouble to go to for an employer, and few are likely to be ready to undergo the procedures. If you're actually living in Italy, or are working for an Italian company, it's simpler.

Job search in Italy

Italy is a patchwork of economic conditions, varying from depressed rural and urban areas to advanced economic scenarios. It's a big country, but job opportunities tend to be regional, rather than national.

Language skills

There are a lot of regional Italian dialects, as well as basic Italian. The dialects are sometimes useful job hunting assets in those regions. For people of Italian ancestry with regional backgrounds the cultural familiarity is also helpful. It's strongly advised that you have a reliable level of Italian language skills prior to applying for a job in Italy, at least to conversational fluency. Generally speaking high school Italian really isn't good enough in the workplace.

In border regions, knowledge of French, German, and Slovenian are also useful.

Basic methods of job search:

  1. Contacts in Italy, family or business.
  2. Mass media job ads.
  3. Internet job ads.
  4. Trade or professional associations.

1. Contacts in Italy, family or business.

Local and/or professional contacts and knowledge are particularly helpful in Italy, where regional diversity is so important. As you can see from the visa requirements, Italy is a bit fussy about who it lets in and why, so these contacts and connections are useful, to have someone at the other end working on your behalf.

2. Mass media job ads.

These are both national and local newspaper and magazine ads, potentially very helpful in terms of seeing what jobs are available and where. You'll notice a distinct difference in regional ads. That reflects the economic conditions, and is basic to job hunting. Rome, Florence, and some of the other big cities are usually the stronger job markets.

3. Internet job ads.

The online versions of the papers and magazines are good for remote job hunting. One particular site,, is useful as a unique job site (site is in Italian only)

Foreign sites, including the financial press are also helpful for professional jobs.

4. Trade or professional associations.

For foreigners, these are often the best avenue of job hunting. Trades and professions have extensive international connections, and the common language of the businesses is a good starting point for looking for work.

Other sources of information include Chambers Of Commerce in Italy for foreign businesses. The Italian chambers of commerce in your home country are also a good potential source of information. Also good potential resources are the Euro Info Centres (EIC) found in the major cities of EU countries. Researching Italian companies can be done through direct online checking, or Infoimprese, (Italian language only) a useful website of Italian chambers of commerce with information on companies.

Working and Living in Italy

Italy is chalk and cheese, in some ways, regarding quality of life. The South is a depressed area, suffering from high crime rates despite the endless efforts of the police. The North is a very different place, with a different culture. You'll find that the Italian stereotypes, in Italy itself, are pretty ridiculous, as well as rather insulting.

Youth unemployment is a serious issue. It's improved a little, recently, but you can see from an occasional look at the various news articles that it's another good reason for the tough entry requirements.

Average wages are just that: Average. Inflation doesn't help. Foreigners need to do their homework about costs, taxes, accommodation. We advise foreigners in other countries to make realistic budgets and try to have some spare cash available for any difficulties.

Wages and working hours

Wages and hours of work are subject to agreements with the employer. Normal working hours range from 8 AM to 7 PM. The legal maximum hours of work per week is 48 hours. (NOTE: contractual variations for shifts, etc, are also normal.)


Workers are entitled to a minimum four weeks' leave per year, extending to an average of five or six weeks depending on years of service. There are also ten statutory public holidays per year.

Italy is one of the world's major tourist destinations, and there's a lot to see, particularly if you're an art lover, an opera lover, or a history buff. You could easily spend a decade going through the sites of interest.

Nobody complains much about Italian food, either. The Mediterranean diet is considered one of the healthiest, and some local wine usually seems to help with digestion.

Some foreigners have a very strong affinity with Italy, and are positively addicted to the place. For people who really love it, Italy is definitely worth a look as a place to live and work.