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UPDATE: Is Italy introducing a digital nomad visa?

The internet is awash with rumours that Italy is planning to follow in the footsteps of Portugal and Germany by introducing its own digital nomad visa. Are they true?

UPDATE: Is Italy introducing a digital nomad visa?
Is Italy planning to introduce a digital nomad visa? Photo by STEPHEN MATUREN / AFP

**Note: this article is no longer being updated. Find the latest news on this here.**

Social media groups and online forums have been abuzz in recent days with the news that Italy is introducing a digital nomad visa.

Such a visa would give remote workers from outside the European Union a far easier route to a new life in Italy than the current options available, which are only viable for a limited number of people – and so interest in the plan is understandably high.

READ ALSO: How to get an Italian work visa

But there has been no end of confusion about whether or not the visa has actually been approved and passed into Italian law.

Even many of the Italian legal experts The Local has spoken to over the past week have been uncertain about the status of the visa law – particularly as the final version of the decree text made no mention of it.

The digital nomad visa proposal was initially included in a draft decree, as a provision offering a specific visa for non-EU nomadi digitali “who carry out highly qualified work activities through the use of technological tools that allow them to work remotely, autonomously or for a company that is not resident in the territory of the Italian state.”

As reported in an earlier version of this article, Costanza Petreni, a senior immigration consultant at the immigration firm Mazzeschi, said the proposal made it all the way to the disegno di legge (bill) stage before disappearing from the final text published on January 27th – making it unclear whether the visa had been approved or not.

“The decree did not include the visa option we spoke about which was initially included in the bill,” Petreni clarified on Tuesday.

She confirmed that the visa option then made a reappearance under the conversion of the decree into law on March 28th

“Usually only minor amendments are applied”, at this stage, she explained, “however, the converted law included the visa option, which was ruled out in the published decree, after our interview”.

This appears to mean that the digital nomad visa has in fact been approved and will become available – though none of the Italian legal professionals The Local spoke to on Tuesday were prepared to confirm this at the time of writing, with several immigration lawyers stating that they were still conducting reviews of the new decree.

If it is approved, the Italian government will need to publish another decree detailing the requirements and procedure for obtaining this type of visa – meaning it could still be a while until we know how it works and how to apply.

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IMMIGRATION

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

Moving to another country is never easy, as it requires going through cultural changes and administrative formalities. It can be even more complicated when looking for a job.

EXPLAINED: What are the main obstacles to finding a job when moving to an EU country?

According to new data released by the EU statistical office, Eurostat, the knowledge of the national language and the recognition of professional qualifications are the two most common obstacles experienced by foreign-born people in finding a ‘suitable’ job in countries of the European Union.

Overall, about a quarter of people born outside the EU who had experience in working or looking for work in the bloc reported some difficulties getting a ‘suitable’ job for level of education (without considering the field of expertise or previous experience).

The Eurostat analysis shows that the situation is better for EU citizens moving within the bloc. But there are major differences depending on countries and gender.

Life can be more difficult for women

In 2021, 13.2 percent of men and 20.3 percent of women born in another European Union country reported obstacles in getting a suitable job in the EU place of residence.

These proportions however increase to 20.9 percent for men and 27.3 percent for women born in a non-EU country with a high level of development (based on the United Nations’ Human Development Index) and 31.1 percent for men and 35.7 percent for women from non-EU countries with a low or medium level of development.

Finland (42.9 percent), Sweden (41.7 percent), Luxembourg (34.6 percent) and France (32.1 percent) are the countries with the highest shares of people born outside the EU reporting problems. Norway, which is not part of the bloc, has an even higher percentage, 45.2, and Switzerland 34.3 percent.

In contrast, Cyprus (11.2 percent), Malta (10.9 percent), Slovenia (10.2 percent), Latvia (10 percent) and Lithuania (6.7 percent) have the lowest proportion of people born outside the EU reporting difficulties.

Lack of language skills

The lack of skills in the national language is most commonly cited as a hurdle, and it is even more problematic for women.

This issue was reported by 4.2 percent of men born in another EU country, 5.3 percent of those born in a developed country outside the EU and 9.7 percent of those from a non-EU country with a middle or low level of development. The corresponding shares for women, however, were 5.6, 6.7 and 10.5 percent respectively.

The countries where language skills were more likely to be reported by non-EU citizens as an obstacle in getting a relevant job were Finland (22.8 percent), Luxembourg (14.7 percent) and Sweden (13.1 percent).

As regards other countries covered by The Local, the percentage of non-EU citizens citing the language as a problem was 12.4 percent in Austria, 10.2 percent in Denmark, 7.8 percent in France, 5.1 percent in Italy, 2.7 percent in Spain, 11.1 percent on Norway and 10.1 percent in Switzerland. Data is not available for Germany.

Portugal (77.4 percent), Croatia (68.8 percent), Hungary (58.8 percent) and Spain (58.4 percent) have the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving, while more than 70 percent of non-EU citizens residing in Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg and Norway said they had participated in language courses after arrival.

Lisbon Portugal

Portugal has the highest share of people from outside the EU already speaking the language as a mother tongue before arriving. (Photo by Aayush Gupta on Unsplash)

Recognition of qualifications

Another hurdle on the way to a relevant job in EU countries is the lack of recognition of a formal qualification obtained abroad. This issue was reported by 2 percent of men and 3.8 percent of women born in another EU country. It was also mentioned by 3.3 percent of men and 5.9 percent of women born in a developed country outside the EU, and 4.8 percent of men and 4.6 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Eurostat says this reflects an “unofficial distrust” among employers of qualification obtained abroad and the “low official validation of foreign education”.

The lack of availability of a suitable job was another factor mentioned in the survey. In Croatia, Portugal and Hungary, this was the main obstacle to getting an adequate position.

This issue concerned 3.3 percent of men and 4.5 percent of women born in another EU country, 4.2 percent of men and 5 percent of women born in a developed non-EU country It also worried 3.9 percent of men and 5.1 percent of women born in a less developed non-EU country.

Restricted right to work due to citizenship or residence permits, as well as plain discrimination on the grounds of origin were also cited as problems.

Discrimination was mostly reported by people born in a less developed non-EU country (3.1 percent for men and 3.3 percent for women) compared to people born in highly developed non-EU countries (1.9 percent for men and 2.2 percent for women).

Citizenship and residence permits issues are unusual for people from within the EU. For people from outside the EU, this is the only area where women seem to have fewer problems than men: 1.6 percent of women from developed non-EU countries reported this issue, against 2.1 percent of men, with the share increasing to 2.8 and 3.3 percent respectively for women and men from less developed non-EU states.

The article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.

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