ITALY – Integration Act in Practice – Diplomas Now Needed in Milan
In March 2012, the Italian government introduced a new “integration agreement” (accordo di integrazione), intended to facilitate the integration of foreign nationals into Italian society. This affects all non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals entering Italy for the first time. It is still unclear exactly how the terms of the agreement will be implemented in practice; so the information contained in this news alert is subject to change. In other news, the immigration authorities in Milan, as of 1 April 2012, require a legalized (or Apostilled) and translated copy of the applicant’s university degree in support of new work permit applications.
What Is the “Integration Agreement” About?
The integration agreement is part of a new points based system for residence permits, whereby foreign nationals are awarded credits for efforts made to integrate into Italian society. Credits are awarded for signing the agreement document, for participating in training sessions on Italian life and language, and so on. Applicants in the province of Bolzano will also receive credits for German language tests. Credits can also be removed for misdemeanours or failure to attend compulsory training sessions on Italian life. Foreign nationals must achieve at least 30 credits in order to be permitted to stay in Italy.
Signing the “Integration Agreement”
The integration agreement document itself is an undertaking, signed either at the Prefectural “one stop shop” (Sportello Unico) in the case of applicants entering Italy for work or family reunification related reasons, or at the police office (Questura) for other applications. The foreign national who signs it undertakes that they will:
- acquire an adequate knowledge of the Italian language;
- acquire basic knowledge of Italian culture and life
- guarantee that dependent children will be enrolled in compulsory education
16 credits are assigned to the foreign national signing the agreement.
Who Must Sign the “Integration Agreement?
The agreement must be signed by foreign nationals aged 16 or over (for minors aged between 16 and 18, the parents or guardians may sign) who are applying for a residence permit for at least one year for the first time, It does not need to be signed by minors under the age of 16.
Training on Italian Life
Within three months of signing the agreement, the foreign national will be invited to participate in a civic training session on life in Italy. Non-participation will lead to the loss of 15 credits. The Directive introducing the “Integration agreement” (accordo di integrazione), which will regulate the point-based Permit of Stay system, will enter into force on 10th March 2012.
Review of Integration Efforts
One month before the expiration of the signed agreement, the foreign national’s efforts to integrate into Italian society will be assessed by the Prefecture. The assessment will be made on the basis of documentary evidence, to be supplied by the applicant; if this is not available, the applicant may be asked to take a test to prove their knowledge of Italian life, culture and language. At this point, one of three things may happen:
- The agreement will be “settled” if the applicant has attained 30 credits
- If the applicant has between 1 and 29 credits, he or she will have the agreement extended for another year, and is expected to use that second year to obtain the necessary credits.
- If the applicant has zero credits, he or she will be expelled from Italy.
Milan – Degree Certificates Now Needed
In other news, Milan’s immigration authorities are now asking for a legalized (or Apostilled) and translated degree certificate to be submitted in support of work permit applications. It should be noted that the legalization process can take some weeks, depending on the country of issuance of the degree, so additional lead time should be factored in for all new work permit applications for Milan.
- Take note of the new Integration Agreement, although note that exact methods of obtaining or calculating “credits” are yet to be established
- Note that legalized and translated degree certificates are now required for work permit applications for Milan, and plan accordingly.