Many permessi di soggiorno will allow you to work in Italy. However, you should know that it can be difficult to find work in Italy and you may face some obstacles.
Read the full article to learn more!
Who has the right to work?
You can begin working in Italy 2 months after your asylum application is formalized. This happens once you submit your C3 form.
Many employers incorrectly think they cannot employ asylum-seekers unless they have valid refugee, subsidiary or humanitarian protection permessi. However, your right to work as an asylum-seeker is stated in Italian law.
Even though you are allowed to work as an asylum-seeker, you cannot convert your Permesso per Richiesta Asilo nor your Permesso per Attesa Esito Ricorso into a formal work permit.
Permessi that let you work
In addition to Permessi di Soggiorno per Motivi di Lavoro (work permits), the following permessi all allow you to work in Italy:
- For asylum-seekers: Permesso per Richiesta Asilo — 2 months after the government registers your C3 form
- For people appealing a negative decision: Permesso per Attesa Ricorso Pendente
- For people who have humanitarian protection: Permesso per Motivi Umanitari
- For people who have refugee status: Permesso per Asilo Politico
- For people who have subsidiary protection: Permesso per Protezione Sussidiaria
- For relatives of a minor living in Italy: Permesso per Assistenza Minori
- For people who need medical treatment: Permesso per Cure Mediche
- For people fleeing natural disaster: Permesso per Calamità
- For heroes: Permesso per Atti di Particolare Valore Civile
- For people fleeing persecution and torture: Permesso per Protezione Speciale
- For victims of criminal activity: permessi issued by the police
Right to vocational training
Italian law states that holders of international protection living in SPRAR centers may attend vocational training and internships ("borsa lavoro" in Italian), if such bursary programs are available in their center’s location.
However, this option no longer exists for asylum-seekers, who are no longer allowed to stay in SPRAR centers. If you are an asylum-seeker, you can still access vocational trainings and job opportunities in the municipality where you live.
The Provincial Labor Office, or “centro per l’impiego” in Italian, can support you in looking for trainings and vacancies. Under Italian law, you have the right to register with the centro per l’impiego even if you are an asylum-seeker. You can do this 2 months after you submit your C3 form.
In practice, you may face difficulties finding a job because of language barriers, or because your reception center is in a remote location.
Delays in getting your first permesso and renewing it could create problems in your job search, too. However, if you can show your employer that you have made an appointment with the questura to renew your permesso, you are allowed to work.
To draft a formal contract, many employers may also ask you for a valid identification document such as an identity card or passport.
Working without a carta d'identità
Since October 5, 2018, asylum-seekers in Italy can no longer register with the registry office, in Italian “ufficio anagrafe." This means if you have a Permesso per Richiesta Asilo or a Permesso per Attesa Esito Ricorso, you may not have a carta d'identità.
If this is true for you, you can use your 6-month permesso as a valid ID document to draft a formal working contract. If your permesso expired, and you’re still waiting for the decision on your asylum request or appeal, you can use your renewal appointment form to draft a work contract. If your employer is not aware of this, you can show him or her a copy of this law.
If you need help, you can visit a union help desk. In Italy there are several different unions, or "sindacati" in Italian, including CGIL, CISL, UIL, ACLI or ANOLF. For help with finding the one closest to you, ask us on Facebook.
Learn more about: CARTA DI IDENTITA’
People under 18
Italian law restricts work for people under 18.
If you are under 15 years old, you can work only in the fields of entertainment, sports or advertising, and only with permission from your parent or legal guardian and the regional labor administration.
If you are 15 years old, in certain cases you may be able to work in other fields, too, but only as an apprentice.
If you are 16 or 17 years old, you may begin working in Italy once you meet the same legal requirements adults have to meet.
Keep in mind that, until you are 18, you:
- Cannot work more than 8 hours per day
- Cannot work more than 40 hours per week
- Cannot work night shifts
- Must take 120 hours per year of educational courses related to your profession