New immigration rules, which will enter into force 10 days after their publication in the Official Gazette, are to overhaul the existing immigration regime, which is to be found in Legislative Decree 2286 of July 5 1998 and DPR 398 of August 31 1999.

A new Immigration Office based at the Governmental Territorial Offices will be established, and will replace the provincial employment offices as the body with sole responsibility for all immigration matters. The Immigration Office will be governed by specific acts which must be issued within six months of the new law's enactment.

The new statute provides that an Italian employer which intends to hire a foreign employee must first conclude a 'residence contract' with the employee, under which it undertakes to provide accommodation for the employee and to cover the cost of the return journey back to his or her home country. Without this contract, no residence permit will be issued.

In addition, all foreigners who request a residence permit will be fingerprinted.

For further information on this topic please contact Franco Toffoletto at Toffoletto e Soci by telephone (+39 02 541641) or by fax (+39 02 54164500) or by email ([email protected]).