What does seasonal work mean?
Seasonal work means temporary work in specific periods during the year and in specific sectors, such as agricultural and touristic sectors.
How can one come to Italy for seasonal work?
At the beginning of the year the Government approves the "decreto-flussi". This law establishes the maximum of non EU seasonal workers who can enter the country, spread throughout the territory. Employers, who apply for permission to hire a seasonal worker, can be Italian or foreign with a resident visa and they must work in the agricultural and touristic sectors. The application form is sent electronically first and only after the employer goes to Sportello Unico to hand in the papers. Associations involved with the agricultural and touristic sectors (e.g. Coldiretti) can also apply for the permission to hire a seasonal worker. More than one employer can also apply for permission to hire the same worker for short periods and a maximum of nine months in total. The applications are processed as they are handed in until there are not more positions available.
How long does seasonal work last?
The permission issued at Sportello Unico is valid from twenty days to nine months, depending on the duration of the seasonal work. Once workers have the permission, they must apply for an entry visa. As soon as workers arrive in Italy, with their employer and within 8 days, they must go to Sportello Unico to sign the contract and collect the kit to apply for the visa. The visa is issued for a maximum of nine months and only for seasonal work, as stated in the contract. Permissions to hire seasonal workers or temporary visas can be extended to a maximum of nine months if same employer or a new one arrange for the worker to be hired again.
Is it possible to enter Italy for seasonal work for more than a year consecutively?
Yes, it is. Seasonal workers who have come to Italy and then returned to their own countries when their visa expired, can come back as seasonal workers with priority on their fellow countrymen, who have never entered Italy.
When a foreign seasonal worker who had already been authorized to work the previous year for the same employer applies for work again, the permission is considered valid, if after 20 days from applying, Sportello Unico does not reject the application and it communicates it to the employer (silent means consent).
Employers have permission to hire seasonal workers up to three years if the workers can demonstrate that they have come to Italy for seasonal work for two years consecutively. For this purpose, foreign citizens are given a long term visa (up to three years). At the end of the working period, workers must return to their own country and the visa for the following year will be issued if it can be demonstrated that the workers possess a three year working permission and a draft of the contract.
The application for the years following the first one can be made by a different employer than the one who obtained the three year permission for seasonal work.
Can a visa for seasonal work be turned into a visa for permanent work?
Yes, it can. Seasonal workers can turn the visa for seasonal work into a visa for permanent work, if the first employer has really hired them and if they fall within the quotas considered for conversion of the decreto-flussi.