As more and more workers switched on a permanent basis to working from home during the Covid pandemic, they thought about exactly where to work from. Many choose Italy, but the work visa has proved an issue – until now.
Moving to Italy if you’re not an EU citizen can be a time-consuming and confusing business. However, Italy recently announced a new visa scheme for digital nomads. This will make living and working in Italy easier for citizens of third countries.
In Italy, the rules and requirements to obtain a self-employed work visa are set by the consolidated immigration law and a legislative decree (known as Decreto Flussi). Under the current rules, if the applicant does already not live in Italy, legally under a different visa scheme, the application must be submitted at the Italian Consulate of the place of permanent residency.
In other words, if you’re in Italy under the permitted 90-day tourist period, you would have to return to your home country and apply for your work visa.
Furthermore, the Decreto Flussi has quotes, meaning only a certain number of applications are allowed annually.
New digital nomad visa scheme
Recently, the Italian government enacted more economic measures (Decreto Sostegni Ter) to help the Italian economy recover from Covid.
Among this bundle of measure was one which aims to simplify the process of getting a work visa for those 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 based in the territory of the Italian state”.
The proposal has not yet defined the requirements of “highly qualified professional/work activities”. But, it is likely that the applicant may have to hold a degree or Masters, or show sufficient previous experience in the field. Other requirements announced to date are:
- Need private healthcare insurance
- Must comply with Italian fiscal and tax-related regulations
Most importantly, the new scheme – if confirmed – will be granted outside the quota restrictions. That means, there’s no timeframe for the application to be made within.
The part of the proposal that states “or for a company that is not based in the territory of the Italian state” suggests applicants can continue their employed activity with their current employer, even if that employer is not Italian. However, this still requires clarification and to be accepted in the decree.
Taxes for newcomers to Italy
Currently, Italy has two attractive tax regimes that can be used by newcomers.
- Regime forfettario
The Regime Forfettario allows you to pay a flat 5% tax on your earnings for the first five years. This is ideal for self-employed individuals.
- Impatriates Regime
This system allows for a 70% to 90% exemption in calculating earned income subject to tax. This applies to both employees and self-employed individuals.
The tax regime under the new digital nomad visa has yet to be detailed. However, we can be hopeful that tax responsibilities will be significantly low for temporary residents.
Whilst there is still much that needs to be expanded upon, it is promising that the Italian government is addressing the remote way of working, the brain drain from the country and is looking to attract qualified professionals to Italy.