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Ministry of Labour: guidelines for internships of non-EU citizens published

The Ministry of Labour has released a set of guidelines on the right steps when holding a curricular internship for non-EU citizens who live abroad.

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On October 17, 2022, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies has released a set of guidelines to inform on the right steps to follow when holding a curricular internship for non-EU citizens who live abroad. The guide has been published on the Curricular Internships (“Tirocini formativi”) section of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies website; it is a tool to inform and spread awareness on the function and opportunities of internships, and has been produced to assist the relevant authorities in every step of the procedure to start a curricular internship in Italy with non-EU citizens who live abroad (governed by legislative decree 286/1998, article 27, comma 1, letter f).

The guide has been edited by the Directorate General for Immigration and Integration Policies, with the support of ANPAL Servizi (National Agency for Active Labour Policies). It is an important step in the process of building a common framework for this subject, which will contribute to a progressive standardization of territorial norms and their application, in accordance with the document “Guidelines for internships for people living abroad”, previously approved in August 2014 in agreement with the State, Regions and Autonomous Provinces.

Internship: a definition

First of all, it should be noted that a curricular internship is intended as a starting point in the intern’s professional career, however it is not a professional relationship, but “a professionalizing experience to complete one’s education”.

Those concerned are therefore foreign citizens who have already begun their education in their own native countries. Moreover, the internship cannot concern basic tasks that do not require any training, or domestic work.

Finally, curricular internships for non-EU citizens have a set minimum and maximum duration period: even though this period is established by the relevant regional norms, there are some guidelines at a national level as well.

Migration norms in Italy

The national norms that control the entry of non-EU citizens in Italy for internship purposes is article 27, comma 1 letter f, and article 39-bis of the legislative decree 286/1998 Single Text on Immigration, and article 40 comma 9 letter a of the Decree by the President of the Republic 394/1999.

Moreover, on August the 5th 2014, in accordance with an agreement between State, Regions and the Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano, the Guidelines on internships for foreign people living abroad have been published. The aim is to provide a consistent framework and to establish some ground norms at a national level. Nonetheless, the majority of Regions and Autonomous Provinces has its own regional or provincial regulation.

In any case, in accordance with current legislation, non-EU citizens who intend to travel to Italy to complete their extracurricular internship, must apply for an entry visa, which is regulated by a 3 years quota. For the current 3 years period (2020-2022), the maximum number of entries in Italy for foreign citizens who meet the requirements for the internship visa is 7.500 units.

Internships subjects

The correct procedure to start a curricular internship for non-EU citizens involves different entities. Among those are:

  • The competent administrations
  • The promoting entity
  • The hosting entity
  • The tutor
  • The intern

The competent administrations

There are different national entities responsible for non-EU citizens’ internships:

  • The Regions and Autonomous Provinces,
  • The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
  • The Ministry of the Interior,
  • The Ministry of Labour and Social Policies.

The promoting entity

A promoting entity is a public or private subject who falls into one of the categories that the current legislation recognizes; its purpose is to prepare the training project that will need to be approved by the competent national entity. Here are some examples of promoting entities:

  • Employment services and regional job agencies,
  • Universities,
  • Schools,
  • Therapeutic communities, institutional auxiliaries and social cooperatives,
  • Employment services for people with special needs, administered by public entities.

The hosting entity

A hosting entity is a public or private subject, a natural or juridical person, where the internship is carried (for example a company, business or university).

The tutor

The promoting and the hosting entities appoint an administration and education tutor, and a company tutor. The two will work together to write the Individual Training Project, to assist the intern in their new working environment, to define the educational and administrational conditions, to supervise the intern’s educational path, and to certificate their activities.

The intern

Any non-EU citizen who lives outside of the European Union, has begun their education in their own Country, and intends to complete it in Italy with a professional experience, can arrive in the Country with an internship or work visa granted by the locally relevant Italian embassy.

For further information, you can refer to our specific section on Visa for internship in Italy.

The intern, during their internship period, cannot:

  • Cover any role or position that belong to the hosting entity organization,
  • Replace any employee during particularly busy periods,
  • Replace any employee on sick or maternity leave, or on holiday.

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Regulatory Framework

Legislative decree 286/1998

Reference (Italian only)

Decree by the President of the Republic 394/1999 Agreements

Reference (Italian only)

Guidelines on internships for foreign people living abroad

Reference (Italian only)

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