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Finally the Government has decided to open Italy’s borders once again to non-EU foreign workers by publishing the Quota Agreement (Decreto flussi). This is a document the Government publishes establishing the number of foreign workers who can be allowed to come to work in Italy.

There are two types of Quota Agreements; one for seasonal and the other for non-seasonal workers.

The latest which was published on 31st December 2010 was for non-seasonal workers.

This means that workers who will be cleared to come to Italy under this measure will be able to live in Italy as long as they want, on condition that they have a job.

It is different from the one for seasonal workers which only allows foreigners to come to Italy for a specific period then return home.

The applications for authorization to work (nulla osta) under the newly published Quota Agreement will be submitted from 31st January to 3rd February 2011.

In the meantime the Ministry of Home Affairs has activated the system for registration of employers who would like to submit their applications. Those who would like to apply must register by logging on to

They can then download the software called “Sportello Unico” which enables them to generate the forms to be used in preparing the applications.

While it is now possible to register and begin preparing the applications, it will not be possible to submit the applications before 31st January 2011.

A mistake one should not make is to think that registering, preparing and saving the application on the ministry’s website is the same as submitting it. You can prepare the application and even save it there but if you don’t submit it on the right day, then it will never be examined.

The application must be submitted by the employer, not the employee. This is because a subordinate foreign worker can only be cleared to come to Italy if he/she has an employer based in the country.

Theoretically, the Quota Agreement is meant for foreign workers who are still living abroad. This is absurd because no one in Italy can ever apply for a worker living abroad, a person he/she has never seen, to come and work in their home, taking care of their child, elderly parents, etc.

So as usual, most employers who will apply for authorisation to work under this Quota Agreement will be applying for foreigners already in Italy who are working illegally.

Workers in Italy illegally who will be lucky to be issued the authorisation to work will have to travel to their home countries to apply for work visa before returning to Italy to apply for the work permit.

If you happen to be in Italy illegally or legally but without a permit entitling you to work, then this is your chance to try your luck to get a work permit.

If you have an employer, please convince him/her to apply for you.

If your employer doesn’t have enough income, he/she can combine the income to those of other close family members.

You should also note that if you are working as a caregiver (badante) for a person who is not self-sufficient, such a person doesn’t have to prove that he/she has any source of income. The employer must simply prove that he/she is not self-sufficient by presenting a medical certificate.

But if your employer isn’t interested in applying for you, please look for another employer. This is an important opportunity for you to legalise your status in the country.

Remember that both Italians and foreigners living legally in Italy can submit applications for foreign workers. One can also apply to employ a family member. For instance, your fiancé, spouse, brother, sister, parent, cousin, son, daughter, etc can apply as your employer.

Usually when a Quota Agreement is published, many unscrupulous people use it to exploit irregular workers.
Many foreigners have been conned by these unscrupulous people, promising to apply for them, and in most cases not applying at all, or submitting applications in a way that makes it easier for the authorities to reject the applications. You should therefore be careful with people you seek their help.

It is equally important to note that this is not an amnesty programme for irregular immigrants (sanatoria). Don’t believe anyone who tells you that this is an amnesty programme and asks for money in order to apply for your regularization. Quota Agreement is a measure to allow Italy based employers to bring into the country foreign workers.

It’s about time to begin submitting applications. If you or your employer has already registered on the website of Ministry of Home Affairs ( and prepared the application, please go through it again to make sure you’ve provided all the required information.

Do not wait to begin preparing the application on the day you are supposed to submit it. Have it ready in advance, and on the day of submission, access it at least an hour before the set time. And just sit waiting for the time and exactly 8:00, click to submit it. Don’t waste any seconds.

Be reminded that the authorizations will be issued on the first come first served basis, if the required conditions are met. In most cases all the available quotas will be exhausted within minutes on the so-called click day (the official day of beginning to submit online applications). Also, make sure you use a fast computer with a fast Internet connection.

Our legal experts have answered most questions about how to prepare and submit applications. You can see all of them on the section: Legal Questions and Answers Italy.

Best of luck!

By Stephen Ogongo Ongong’a