Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 03/06/21


According to the Reception Decree, an asylum seeker can start to work after 60 days from the moment he or she lodged the asylum application.[1] Even if he or she starts working, the asylum seeker permit cannot be converted into a work or residence permit.[2]

Even though the law makes a generic reference to the right to access to employment without indicating any limitations, and albeit being entitled to register with Provincial Offices for Labour, in practice asylum seekers face difficulties in obtaining a residence permit which allows them to work. This is due to the delay in the Registration of their asylum applications, on the basis of which the permit of stay will be consequently issued, or to the delay in the renewal thereof.

Furthermore, employers are not confident to hire asylum seekers who are in possession of only the asylum request receipt or of the request for renewal of the six-month permit because the receipt, although bearing the photograph and legally equated to the residence permit, has no expiry date. They prefer to hire people with original permits.

Moreover, as reported to ASGI, many Provincial Offices for Labour do not allow asylum seekers under the Dublin procedure to enrol on the lists of unemployed persons and some Questure have expressed a negative opinion about the possibility for these people to be employed before it is confirmed that Italy is responsible for their asylum application. During 2018, some regions where this occurred such as Friuli-Venezia Giulia changed their position on this issue. However, in 2019, ASGI was told the problem was still occurring along the national territory. The CJEU decision of 14 January 2021, according to which Article 15 of the Directive 2013/33/EU must be interpreted as precluding national legislation which excludes an applicant for international protection from access to the labour market on the sole ground that a transfer decision has been taken in his or her regard under Dublin Regulation, should overcome the different orientations existing along the national territory.[3]

In addition, the objective factors affecting the possibility of asylum seekers to find a job are language barriers, the remote location of the accommodation and the lack of specific support founded on their needs.

Decree Law 113/2018, implemented by L 132/2018, has abolished the possibility for asylum seekers to be involved in activities of social utility in favour of local communities.[4] The (former) SPRAR system was the only integrated system that provided these kind of services to residents. Asylum seekers or beneficiaries of international protection accommodated in the SPRAR system were generally supported in their integration process, by means of individualised projects which include vocational training and internships.[5]

As asylum seekers now no longer have access to SIPROIMI centres, their integration pathways will not start in the reception centre except for those who manage to enter the SIPROIMI after having obtained international protection. As discussed in Forms and Levels of Material Reception Conditions, the calls for tenders for first reception centres and CAS, modelled on the tender specifications scheme (capitolato) published by the Ministry of Interior on 20 November 2018, no longer provide integration services such as professional orientation services. This resulted in a considerable difference of opportunities in accessing integration programmes as they will strictly depend on the services provided by the reception centres where asylum seekers are accommodated.

The 2018 reform has also abolished the provision allowing asylum applicants seekers in the (former) SPRAR centres to attend vocational training when envisaged in programmes eventually adopted by the public local entities.[6] Vocational training or other integration programmes can be provided also by the means of National public funds (8xmille) or AMIF. In this case, the Ministry of Interior can finance specific projects to NGOs at national level concerning integration and social inclusion. The projects financed under AMIF are, however, very limited in terms of period of activity and in number of beneficiaries.



[1] Article 22(1) Reception Decree.

[2] Article 22(2) Reception Decree.

[3]  CJEU decision, joined cases C322/19 and C385/19, 14 January 2021.

[4] Article 22-bis(3) Reception Decree, as amended by Article 12 Decree Law 113/2018 and L 132/2018 now only refers to beneficiaries of international protection, no longer to asylum seekers.

[5] SPRAR, Manuale per operatori, April 2015, available in Italian at:, 34-37.

[6]  Article 22(3) Reception Decree has been repealed by Article 12 Decree Law 113/2018.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation