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New entry quotas for internships and training courses

The Italian government recently published the three-year quota program that will regulate the entry of foreigners who wish to participate in training courses and internships for the three-year period 2023-2025.

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The Italian government recently published the three-year quota program that will regulate the entry of foreigners who wish to participate in training courses and internships for the three-year period 2023-2025.

Rules of entry for study purposes

In Italy, the entry of non-EU citizens who intend to carry out periods of vocational training or internships are regulated by Legislative Decree No. 286 of July 25, 1998 (so-called “Consolidated Immigration Act”).

Firstly, article 27(1)(f) of the Consolidated Immigration Act regulates the entry of:

“persons who, authorizes to stay for training purposes, carry out temporary periods of training with Italian employers”.

In particular, article 39-bis (1)(b) of the Consolidated Immigration Act allows the entry and stay for study purposes of foreign citizens authorized to attend:

  1. vocational training courses and extracurricular internships within the three-year quota established by special decree of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policies, in consultation with the Ministers of Interior and Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation;
  2. curricula internships included within the framework of higher technical education and higher training courses, promoted by higher education insitutions, higher technical institutions, educational centers, vocational training centers; periods of professional practice as well as traineeships provided for access to ordinary professions; transnational traineeships carried out within the framework of EU programs for higher education and training. These curricular internships are not subject to the three-year quotas.

Entry quotas 2023-2025 for training courses and extracurricular internships

Every three years, therefore, the Italian government provides for the determination of entry quotas for participation in vocational training courses and extracurricular internships.

For the last three-year period 2020-2022, the government had authorized a total of 15,000 quotas. However, the number of entry visas for study, internship and training issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in these years was less than the quotas available. In fact, only 3,219 quotas were used compared to the total quota.

Despite this, the government has decided to keep the quota unchanged for the next three-year period 2023-2025, also in view of future collaborative agreements with third countries for the entry of nationals for the purpose of conducting internships.

In addition, the government considered it appropriate to take into account that this is a planning on a three-year basis and that the types of entry considered, at the end of the period of training or internship, are convertible into residence permits for work purposes, thus allowing the entry of skilled labor for possible future labor market needs in Italy.

Therefore, for the three-year period 2023-2025, the maximum entry limit is determined by Article 1, Paragraph 1 of the Decree of June 28, 2023 as follows:

  1. 7,500 units for attendance of vocational training courses aimed at the recognition of a qualification or certification of acquired skills of a duration not exceeding twenty-four months, organized by training institutions accredited according to regional standards in implementation of the agreement between the State and the regions of March 20, 2008;
  2. 7,500 units for the conduct of training and orientation internships aimed at the completion of a vocational training course begun in the country of origin and promoted by the promoting entities identified by regional disciplines, in implementation of the guidelines on internships approved at the Permanent Conference of State, Regions and Autonomous Provinces of Trento and Bolzano on August 5, 2014.

Extracurricular internships and curricular ones

In Italy, extra-curricular internships for non-EU citizens residing abroad are regulated at a regional level, based on special guidelines drawn up following an agreement between the state, the regions and the autonomous provinces.

These guidelines determine certain mandatory procedures, such as the involvement of a promoting entity, which is responsible for drawing up a training project to be submitted to the competent entity for approval.

You can find more information on our article on the correct procedure to be applied for the activation of an extra-curricular internship.

Curricular internships, on the other hand, are not regulated at the regional level. In fact, the regulations set out in the regulations of the universities or training institutions and colleges concerned apply to this type of internship. These regulations are adopted on the basis of the principles contained in state regulations (Ministerial Decree No. 142 of March 25, 1998).

The following procedures usually apply to curricular internships:

  • Regarding the sponsoring entities, the activation of curricular internships is reserved for the institutions with which the intern is registered, or entities related to it;
  • Curricular internships are not subject to mandatory communications (COB), unlike extracurricular internships;
  • The internship agreement is signed by the promoting entity and the host entity in the persons of the legal representatives, or their delegates, and must provide the rules for the internship, the rights and duties of each of the parties involved, measures for the protection of health and safety in the workplace, etc.

In the context of curricular traineeships aimed at foreigners residing in non-EU countries, entry and stay in Italy is subject to obtaining an entry visa for study or training purposes, issued by the diplomatic-consular representation in the country where the foreigner resides.

Study-work conversions

Regarding the possibility of conversion, it should be noted that according to recent regulatory changes, residence permits issued for study/training purposes can now, at the end of the training period, be converted into a work permit outside the quotas.

Indeed, Decree Law No. 23 of March 20 converted into Law No. 50 of May 5, 2023 has removed the previous provision whereby the conversion of such permits was subject to the availability of a quota provided for in the old annual flow decree. As a result, such permits, as long as they are valid, can now be converted at any time of the year and without numerical limits.

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Regulatory Framework

Decree of June 28, 2023

Reference (Italian only)

DM of March 25, 1998 n. 142

Reference (Italian only)

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