Italy & The European Union

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Italy was one of the six founder members of the European Union (EU) in 1957 along with Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, and the original Common Market agreement was signed in Italy and dubbed the 'Treaty of Rome'. Since then Austria, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom have increased the number of members to 15. The EU countries plus Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway also make up the European Economic Area (EEA). Nationals of EU (and EEA) countries have the right to work in Italy or any other member state without a work permit, provided they have a valid passport or national identity card and comply with the member state's laws and regulations on employment. EU nationals are entitled to the same treatment as Italian citizens in matters of pay, working conditions, access to housing, vocational training, social security and trade union rights, and their families and immediate dependants are entitled to join them and enjoy the same rights. The Single European Act, which came into effect on 1st January 1993, created a single market with a more favourable environment for stimulating enterprise, competition and trade, and made it easier for EU nationals to work in other EU countries.

There are still barriers to full freedom of movement and the right to work within the EU, for example some jobs in member states require applicants to have specific skills or vocational qualifications, and qualifications obtained in some member states aren't recognised in others. However, in most trades and professions, member states are required to recognise qualifications and experience obtained elsewhere in the EU (see Qualifications below). There are restrictions on employment in the civil service, when the right to work may be limited in individual cases on the grounds of public policy, security or public health.

This excerpt has been republished with permission from Survival Books. Some of the information may apply to EU citizens only. If you would like to get the inside track on moving to Italy, pick up your copy of this great book by clicking here.


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