Despite the negative employment trend currently prevailing in Italy, the Council of Ministers has very recently approved a proposal which seeks to aid managers, specialists and trainee employees from third countries outside Europe.

On the 23rd of September 2016, the Italian Council of Ministers approved a preliminary legislative proposal for the implementation of EU Directive 2014/66/EU of 15 May 2014 concerning the conditions of entry and residence of third-country highly skilled managers and specialists in the framework of an intra-corporate transfer.

The new legislative proposal not only aims at simplifying the process for multinational companies to send their highly skilled managers and specialists on temporary assignment to subsidiaries located in Italy, but also at facilitating the mobility of intra-corporate transferees’ between Italy and other Member States during their assignment mandate.

According to the legislative proposal, to be eligible for an intra-corporate transferee permit, managers and specialists must have worked at least 3 uninterrupted months for the multinational company immediately preceding their transfer, the same applies to trainee employees. However, Italy retains the right to set a limit on admissions of intra-corporate transferees’. The permit will be valid for a minimum of 90 days and a maximum of 3 years in the case of managers and specialists and 1 year for trainee employees.

The legislative scheme also aims at implementing more rapid application procedures and to facilitate intra-EU mobility. Mirroring the provisions of the EU Directive, the Italian proposal has reciprocal provisions and will allow intra-corporate transferees’ to work in subsidiaries established in another Member State. This will permit, under certain conditions, managers, specialists and trainee employees to work in Member States other than the one in which they were initially admitted, for entities belonging to the same group of undertakings.  

The proposal also includes crucial provisions regarding the rights of family members.  According to the new provisions, family members will be able to accompany the intra-corporate transferee for the whole duration of the transfer.

Lastly, in accordance with the EU Directive, the new proposal also provides for equality of treatment for nationals of third countries with Italian nationals in relation to employment conditions, freedom of affiliation to a trade union and access to public goods and services, except housing. The rationale for granting equal treatment is to avoid that third countries nationals be discriminated as against nationals of the Member State in which they are being transferred.

Certainly this new proposal creates conflicts in a country struggling to provide employment internally, however, the benefit for Italy of this policy should be considered in a long term perspective.