• Relaxed Application Processes, But Stricter Penalties for Employers of Seasonal Workers
  • January 30, 2017
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • New provisions regarding foreign seasonal workers - called the EU Seasonal Workers Directive - relax certain applications procedures but impose more severe penalties for noncompliant employers. The Directive aims at reducing the number of unauthorized foreign seasonal workers and facilitating reentry procedures.

    The most important new features of the new provisions include the following:
    • Seasonal work sectors have been limited to agriculture and tourism only;
    • A foreign seasonal worker must demonstrate that he/she was employed in seasonal work in Italy at least once in the previous five years (instead of the previous two years, as was previously required);
    • The multi-year residence permit for seasonal work has a maximum three-year duration, and for each year, the allowable stay is up to nine months in 12-month period;
    • The employer can apply for a multi-year work permit that will entitle the worker to subsequent reentry visas;
    • Each work permit is valid for the time indicated in the job contract (and no longer on the basis of previous work permits);
    • Work authorization applications can be filed by a different employer than the one that originally applied on behalf of the foreign worker;
    • The labor market test requirement has been eliminated;
    • There are stricter requirements for adequate accommodation as is to be provided by the employer;
    • The seasonal worker can accept another job offer in the seasonal sector if his/her contract has expired for the year but if he/she has not used up the allotted nine months in 12-month period (without applying for a new visa); and
    • If the worker is offered a non-seasonal job and has already worked in Italy for at least three months, he/she may convert the current status into a standard residence permit for work (within the quota limits).
    If a permit is revoked because of the employer's noncompliance with labor and migration rules, the worker will receive his/her compensation based on the salary set in the collective bargaining agreement.

    What This Means for Employers and Foreign Nationals

    Seasonal workers should benefit from certain aspects of the new provisions such as more flexibility for reentry and the ability to transfer employers. Employers should contact their immigration professional to discuss the revised application process and how to comply with the regulation.