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Italy – New Statute Introduces COVID-19-Related Measures Affecting Immigration

Italy – New Statute Introduces COVID-19-Related Measure

With COVID-19 present in Italy, the Italian government issued a new Decree-Law on 2 March 2020 regulating various activities and daily life as it aims to prevent the virus from spreading and extending beyond the affected areas. Aspects of the Decree-Law concern prolonging deadlines and expiration dates and suspending or curtailing some services in the public sector, this includes the division of police in charge of immigration affairs. This means there could be delays and slower processing times for immigration matters.

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With COVID-19 present in Italy, the Italian government issued an urgent Decree-Law on 2 March 2020 regulating various activities and daily life as it aims to prevent the virus from spreading and extending beyond the affected areas.1

Aspects of the Decree-Law concern prolonging deadlines and expiration dates and suspending or curtailing some services in the public sector, this includes the division of police in charge of immigration affairs.  

WHY THIS MATTERS

The new measures introduced by the Decree-Law are expected to have the effect of slowing down processing times for immigration applications and related work and residence permit applications, as activities at the relevant public offices/agencies are curtailed and staff either reduced or re-assigned.  Foreign employees coming into or already working in Italy, their employers, and their global mobility program managers should consult with their immigration counsel as to the status of visa and work/residence permit processing and issuance.

Furthermore, they should keep abreast of developments in Italy, which are quickly unfolding, as the government takes the necessary steps to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Italy.  Quite likely they will have implications for employees moving into, out of, and around (internally) Italy.  

New Measures

Due to the presence of COVID-19 in some regions of Italy (Piedmont, Lombardy, Veneto, and The Marches primarily), the government issued a Decree-Law, which contains the below-noted points.

Starting from 2 March 2020, in order to be able to assign more police officers for matters related to COVID-19, the

following activities involving the administrative division of the police in charge of immigration affairs have been put on hold for 30 days (based on current information):

  • Internal processing activities for work permit requests already filed;
  • Issuance of approved work permits;
  • Internal processing activities for applications already filed;
  • Issuance of approved resident permits;
  • Applications for first-time resident permits;
  • Applications for renewal of residence permits.
  • In addition Health-care cards (granting access to the Italian public health-care system) normally have a six-year validity.  For cards that expire shortly, the expiry date is automatically extended until 30 June 2020. 

Prior Measures

The prior measures contained in the Decree-Laws that came into force on 25 February 2020 (reported in GMS Flash Alert 2020-038, 25 February 2020) and 1 March 2020, are still in force.  Once again, we highlight below the main points:

  • Access to the towns where COVID-19 has been initially detected is still not allowed;
  • Commercial activities (except for those of public interest, such as supermarkets, etc.) have been shut down or suspended;
  • Work activities in the area hit by COVID-19 have been stopped (except for essential activities);
  • Workers living in the affected areas are prevented from working both if they work in the same area where they live and if they work in another area (flexible working is allowed);
  • Schools and universities have been closed for the entire area until 8 March 2020. 

KPMG NOTE

Public Offices/Agencies and Expectations

Based on the new and the prior measures already in force, public offices/agencies, even when they are open, cannot guarantee that they will work at full capacity or efficiently nor that they can deliver their output (work permits, resident permits, etc.) in a timely manner.  Some offices continue to discourage appointments for non-urgent matters.

Summary of Relevant Matters

  • Immigration-related activities have been put on hold for 30 days starting from 2 March;
  • Processing time for files at public offices/agencies can be longer;
  • Police personnel in charge of immigration affairs have been moved to help manage the COVID-19 emergency, so there are fewer law-enforcement staff to handle immigration matters; 
  • Health-care cards expiring before 30 June 2020 have been extended until 30 June 2020.

FOOTNOTE

Decreto-Legge 2 marzo 2020, n. 9 Misure urgenti di sostegno per famiglie, lavoratori e imprese connesse all'emergenza epidemiologica da COVID-19. (20G00026).

RELATED RESORCE

New Thought Leadership from KPMG: “Coronavirus: Protect Your Staff and Your Business”

The KPMG People Services team in the People’s Republic of China has developed a booklet (“Coronavirus: Protect Your Staff and Your Business” (February 2020)) highlighting the key considerations for protecting globally-mobile staff and mitigating the impact on business operations from high level tax, legal, and immigration perspectives.

*  Please note that KPMG LLP (U.S.) does not offer immigration services or labour law services. However, KPMG Law LLP in Canada can assist clients with U.S. immigration matters.

 

The information contained in this newsletter was submitted by the KPMG International member firm in Italy.

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