1. Find A Job
Finding a job in Italy should be a simple process for English-speaking expats, particularly those from countries within the European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA). However, your success in securing long-term gainful employment may depend on your field of work and skill set. For some jobs, including those in the service industry, a working knowledge of Italian will also be required.
For EU citizens, there are few requirements necessary to obtain work in Italy. Unlike non-EU citizens, you will not need to wait for a visa (or any other permit) to be granted before you can start your job search. Typically, all you will need is your passport and a tax number, known locally as your codice fiscal. To acquire a tax number in Italy, you will need to submit a request to the Agenzia delle Entrate. You may also need to provide a criminal records certificate when applying for jobs.
Whilst as an EU citizen you will not need a visa to work in Italy, you will still need to register yourself as resident in the country. To do this, you need to report your presence at a police station and complete the necessary paperwork. If your intention is to eventually achieve permanent residency, it is important to register your arrival in Italy as soon as possible.
Once registered, you will have the same rights as Italian nationals when it comes to working conditions, pay and benefits. UK citizens have the further benefit of a double-taxation agreement, which ensures that workers do not need to pay tax on the same income in both the UK and Italy.
Tourism is one of the biggest providers of employment for expats in Italy, alongside teaching English as a foreign language. However, both opportunities are highly sought-after and therefore each vacancy can be heavily oversubscribed, meaning competition is fierce.
It is perhaps wiser to initially focus on the job vacancies that Italy regularly struggles to fill. Engineers are in short supply in several industries, including textiles, mechanics and food. Those with a background in computing may also find job-searching productive as there are usually plenty of vacancies for software and app developers, and computer equipment designers.
Once you have found a relevant job to apply for, you will need to update your CV to fit the Italian market. Keep your personal information at the top of the page, including your name, contact details and date of birth. In this section, you can also add details about your eligibility and availability.
Your professional experience should come next, starting with your most recent job history and ending with your qualifications. Your CV should be written in English or Italian, depending on the requirements of the job you are applying for. Include details of any language skills you have even if they do not include Italian – knowledge of other languages is generally seen as a positive skill.
You will need references, but these can be listed towards the end of your CV and should be limited to the name and contact details of one or two relevant individuals. Supplying a photograph is not necessary unless otherwise stated. Try not to follow the European CV template, as this model is increasingly unpopular with Italian employers.
Covering letters are not essential in Italy and depend on the job you are applying for, so check the advertisement carefully. However, even if the vacancy requirements do not include a covering letter, sending one along with your CV could make your application stand out.
Once you secure an interview for a job in Italy, you will need to prepare accordingly. Dress formally, greet your interviewer with a firm handshake and arrive punctually for your interview – aim for 10-15 minutes before your appointment to make a good impression.
Even when you have secured employment in Italy, networking is an important skill to learn. There are numerous ways to establish professional connections, including attending networking events, making yourself visible on LinkedIn, and joining an Italian business group. Some of the biggest groups in the country are:
• CNA (National Confederation of Artisans and SMEs)
• CONFAPI (Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises)
An average salary in Italy is around 1,800 EUR (£1,500) per month or 25,200 EUR (£21,000) annually. Naturally, this figure will vary depending on your qualifications, experience and where you are living and working in Italy. There is no minimum wage in Italy.
If you are interested in setting up a business instead of working for someone else, opportunities in Italy are readily available. Self-employment is especially popular with freelancers including teachers, engineers and web developers. For EU nationals, the process of registering as self-employed is straightforward and simply involves registering with the local authorities upon entering the country and making a declaration of self-employment. Freelance work remains the easiest means of self-employment rather than setting up a limited company, though both options require the individual to pay income tax.
2. Apply For A Visa/Permit
Italy is one of the most popular destinations in the world, for visitors and expats seeking residence and employment. An estimated 50 million people visit the country annually. Whether or not you need a visa will depend on your country of origin. Read on to learn more about your options.
You will not need a visa to enter Italy if you are from a European Union (EU) or European Economic Area (EEA) member state.
If you hold a British passport, you will not need a visa to enter Italy. If you’re planning a stay of longer than three months, you will need to register as an Italian resident.
If you are from the USA, you are allowed to travel to Italy, as well as any other country that is a member of the Schengen Area, for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. However, your US passport must be valid for at least three months beyond your departure date, and preferably for six months – it is worth checking the exact requirements before you make any travel arrangements. All non-residents are required to complete a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza).
If you are from Australia, you will be allowed to remain in Italy for up to 90 days, but you will need a passport that is valid for six months beyond your departure date.
You will need to apply for a Schengen zone visa (a short term entry visa applicable to the countries in the Schengen zone) if you fall into one of the following categories:
• You are the national of a third-world country that has signed a visa liberalisation agreement with the Schengen states, but you were previously rejected from entering Italy or any other Schengen country
• You are a member of a state that has not reached a visa liberalisation agreement with the Schengen countries
In order to apply for a Schengen visa you will need:
• A completed application form
• Two passport-format photos
• Your passport and copies of any previous visas
• Travel insurance (including medical coverage) with confirmation of a minimum of €30,000 coverage within the entire Schengen area
• A cover letter stating the purpose of your visit and itinerary
• Proof of civil status (for example, your marriage certificate or the birth certificates of your children)
• Your flight itinerary
• The address of your accommodation, including hotels
• Proof that you are able to support yourself financially throughout your stay (for example, a recent statement from your bank for the last three months, which shows funds of at least €50 per day, or traveller’s cheques, or proof of sponsorship)
You may need further documentation depending on your status. If you are employed, you may need to supply:
• A contract of employment
• A letter of leave from your employer
• A bank statement for the last six months
• An income tax return
• Your business license (if you are self-employed)
If you are a student, you will need to include your certificate of enrolment at the relevant educational institution.
If you are retired, you will need a statement of your pension for the last six months.
The standard cost of a visa is €80, but you will be exempt if you are one of the following:
• A child younger than six years of age
• A family member of an EU/EEA national
Documents required for exemption are:
• Original marriage certificate or civil partnership certificate
• Original full birth certificate
• EU/EEA national’s passport
You will also be exempt if you are travelling for the purpose of study or educational training, for example, if you are a school pupil, an undergraduate student or a postgraduate student. You must be accompanied by your teachers/professors. In addition, invited researchers are exempt.
Documents required for exemption are:
• Invitation letter from your institution
• Letter from the university/organisation in the UK
There is a reduced fee of €35 for nationals of countries that have a visa facilitation agreement with the EU.
Fees are non-refundable and are not a guarantee that you will be issued with a visa. It is therefore essential to make sure that you supply all the required documentation when you apply for your visa, and that this documentation is in good order.
It can take up to two weeks for a short term visa for Italy to be processed. Make sure you leave plenty of time for your application to be processed.
The ease of obtaining a work visa depends on your country of origin. You will be eligible to work if you are from an EU/EEA member state. EU/EEA nationals can enter the country and start working without a work permit, although they must get a declaration of presence (dichiarazione di presenza) from a local police office or Questura. If you are an EU citizen and you intend to stay for longer than three months, you must apply for a residence permit
However, if you are not an EU or an EEA citizen, you will need to already have a job in Italy, and have fulfilled the relevant criteria, before you can apply for a work visa.
A work visa for Italy is a form of long-term stay visa, known as a national or D-visa. This is an entrance visa, which means that it grants you permission to enter Italy, but you still need to obtain a residence permit (permesso di soggiorno) within eight days of arriving there.
An Italian work visa is usually valid for the duration of the work contract, up to a maximum of two years. It can be renewed for up to five years.
Italy operates a work permit quota, so you will need to check that it is possible for you to work. There are windows for non-EU nationals to apply.
EU blue card
If you have been issued a residence permit for work that requires advanced skills by an EU member country, you will be eligible for an EU blue card. This is an approved EU-wide work permit allowing highly skilled non-EU citizens to work and live in any country within the European Union (excluding Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom).
3. Get Health Insurance
Many expats take out private medical insurance, even if this is not a requirement of residence, because healthcare is expensive in their destination country or because certain treatments and procedures are not available.
When taking out health insurance, be sure to check factors such as the annual and lifetime policy limits, whether there are any exclusions which are likely to affect you, whether you are limited to treatment from specific types of healthcare providers, and whether the policy covers emergency evacuation for medical treatment.
Too frequently, potential buyers of health insurance look only for the lowest cost of premiums before really considering the specific benefits and areas of cover they may actually need. Some plans are cheaper for a reason. Often they include large voluntary deductibles on any claim you might make in the future and may severely cap the benefits received under the plan. Clients should define their needs first, establish the particular area of cover they need, then determine their annual healthcare insurance budget. Only then should they look to premium comparisons, last of all.
Do not buy a plan without studying the policy wording carefully. If in doubt, ask, and only when completely satisfied complete all application forms fully, to the best of your ability.
Important questions to ask the insurance provider:
1. Does the plan allow for cooling off periods, cancellation and then repayment of premium in full?
2. Does the plan offer “Moratorium” or is it “Full underwriting” and do you need to have a medical examination before joining?
3. Does the insurer offer a 24 hour help line, 7 days a week, available from anywhere in the world (freephone)? Most insurers now offer this facility.
4. Are pre-existing conditions excluded when joining and if so, for how long are such conditions excluded?
5. Are all and any nationalities accepted or are there restrictions which apply to local nationals? Some insurers will only take expatriates abroad and not local nationals into an overseas plan.
6. Does the plan allow you to continue cover unbroken through your lifetime? In most cases insurers will continue to offer existing clients cover year on year, irrespective of age or claims history, although premium rates charged can increase dramatically with age.
7. Does the insurer allow for any doctor or consultant or hospital within the plan? Are there any restrictions in this respect? Most international plans do not place restrictions on either hospitals or doctors, but almost all demand that their help lines are called first, prior to approval of any inpatient care.
8. Does the insurer provide for the direct settlement of bills presented by hospitals worldwide, regardless of location (or do you have to pay first)?
9. What are the insurers procedures for outpatient claims? Do these require any pre-authorization or if stated in the plan can you just pay and claim? How long before you get money back from the insurer? 14 days? 28 days?.
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4. Rent Or Buy Property
In general, rental prices in Italy are competitive. It can be expensive to stay in the centre of the main cities, such as Rome and Naples – Numbeo reports an average cost of €959 for a one-bedroom apartment in central Rome, and €1,028 in central Milan. However, with a countrywide average of €417 for a one-bedroom apartment outside the city centre, you should be able to find something to fit your budget.
Private rentals are most common in Italy, meaning that you are unlikely to find full apartment blocks managed by a company. It is much more likely you will be dealing with your landlord directly or through a letting / real estate agent. An agent comes with added costs, as commission will often equal one months’, or more likely two month’s, rent. However, if you deal directly with your landlord, you cannot guarantee that your contract will be drafted correctly.
The contract also has to be registered with the local police, as the landlord is required to pay a proportion of rent as tax, and therefore landlords may avoid registration to evade taxes. As the registration cost is shared between the tenant and the landlord, it will be clear if the landlord has skipped this step.
If you choose to register with an agent, they will be able to source appropriate properties for you to view, but if you want to deal directly with a landlord, you can begin your search online. Property listing sites include Affitto.it, Subito.it, Kijiji.it and Casa.it.
The initial cost outlay for renting can be prohibitive, as, even if you avoid agency fees, the security deposit is likely to be two, perhaps even three, months’ rent, and the first month’s rent is required upfront.
There are three types of rental contract in Italy:
1. Transitory – up to 18 months
2. 3+2 – a three-year contract with the option to extend by another two years
3. 4+4 – a four-year contract with the option to extend by another four years
If you are looking for a shorter stay in the country, you can get a short-term rental contract for six months to a year, and these properties will generally come furnished. You can expect rentals with leases of two years or longer to be unfurnished. In Italy, unfurnished means the property is likely to be completely bare. This extends to all appliances, so you may need to supply your own kitchen apparatus, white goods, air conditioning and perhaps even lighting fixtures.
The standard notice period to vacate property in Italy is six months, and when you give notice, it must be submitted in writing. Therefore, if you are looking to stay for less than a year, or you are unsure how long you will be living in the country, it may be wise to look into a short-term let at first, for which you will not be required to sign an official contract.
Over 70% of Italians are homeowners, largely due to family inheritance. House prices vary widely from region to region, but are generally low compared to those in similar European countries, which benefits expats and young, first-time buyers. Interest rates on mortgages are also very low, which makes it a good time to buy. If you find renting too expensive, then you may see more benefits in buying.
If you are an EU citizen, or are coming from the European Economic Area (EEA), there are no restrictions on you buying property in Italy. However, non-EU/EEA citizens are not allowed to purchase property, unless their country has reciprocity, i.e. if Italian citizens are in turn able to buy property there.
This exception will cover most expats, but if your home country does not have reciprocity, you will need to be an official resident before you can begin your purchase. Furthermore, if you are buying an old property for which you need to pay extra registration tax, the fee increases from 3% to 7% for non-residents, so it is recommended that you obtain residency 18 months before beginning the buying process.
Most buyers engage an estate agent to assist them with their property purchase. If you want to buy in Italy before relocating, you can look for a local estate agent who will work with an Italian estate agent on your behalf. Agents will charge 3% to 8% of the property price as commission. Whether or not you choose to use an agent, you can search on sites such as Lionard, Toscana Houses, Italian Houses For Sale, Romolini and Viviun.
While many Italian banks will turn away foreign buyers, there are a number that will grant expats a mortgage. The bank will want to see information and documents relating to your income and employment (or self-employment, if applicable), which should be translated into Italian and certified. The bank will also appoint a surveyor to carry out an inspection of the property, identify any key defects and decide on a valuation. If you have not already engaged a lawyer/notary at this point, you will need one now to send the lender a property title check report.
When you make an offer on your chosen property, you will need to pay a 1% deposit to confirm your interest. Unfortunately, this does not secure the property, as the seller can still accept other offers, so it is best to include a time limit in your offer.
Once your offer is accepted and you have final mortgage approval, a preliminary contract (a “compromesso” or “preliminare”) is drawn up by the seller (or their agent or lawyer). At this point, you will need to pay a 10% to 20% deposit, depending on what has been approved by your mortgage lender.
Italian law generally favours the buyer, so if you have paid your deposit and the seller pulls out, your deposit is returned and the seller is required to pay you a fee equal to the deposit amount. This means you will receive back double the amount you paid.
When you have final mortgage approval, the mortgage contract and final deed transfer are signed at the same meeting, organised by the bank and notarised by the buyer’s lawyer. This is usually one to three months after the signing of the preliminary contract.
Prices, ages and qualities of housing differ greatly across Italy. There can be a vast difference in cost and quality between a new flat in the centre of a city and a historic villa in the countryside, but wherever you decide to relocate to, you will be surrounded by culture, history and incredible cuisine.
5. Move Your Belongings
Consider if you want (or are able) to transport your belongings yourself or whether you will need the services of a removals company that deals with international moves. Unless you are travelling very light, or making a fairly short move by road, you will probably need professional help to ship your possessions. Ask for quotes from several companies first, ensuring that they visit your home to carry out a survey of your requirements. It may be worth paying extra for the removals firm to pack your possessions for you, particularly if they are going to be transported to a distant country and need special protection for the long journey. Make sure you bring to their attention anything fragile or precious that needs particularly careful wrapping and packing.
Before agreeing to a quotation, ensure that you are fully aware of exactly what is covered in the price, and that the service to be provided meets all of your requirements. For example, does the service include both packing and unpacking of your household effects? What about disassembling and reassembling of furniture? If you are planning to put anything into storage in your destination country while you find accommodation, does the price include final delivery and unpacking at your home, or will you need to arrange collection of the items? Obtain a firm estimate of the likely arrival date of your items and obtain contact details for any agents that will be dealing with the removal in your destination country. Ensure that the removals company is aware in advance of any practical considerations such as the lack of an elevator to your apartment, or likely parking problems.
If using a removals company, you may be required to take out their insurance cover for your possessions. Whether or not this is the case, ensure that you have adequate insurance for anything of actual or sentimental value that could get lost or damaged during the move. Take the time to accurately complete or check an inventory of your possessions to be moved, as this will form the basis for any insurance claim for losses or damages. Find out if insurance is included in the price quoted by the removals company, or whether you are required to pay extra for this.
The removals company should arrange any customs and importation documents on your behalf, but if you are arranging the move independently you will need to find out what documents are required and what import duties and taxes are payable (and whether you are eligible for exemption from these).
Make sure that you set aside the important documents you will need for the journey, such as passports and air tickets, and keep these easily accessible in your hand luggage.
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6. Register For Healthcare
QUICK LINK: Italy health insurance
If you are working for a company based in Italy, they should register you for state medical insurance.
If not, you can sign up yourself by going to your local Post Office and completing a form known as MODELLO F24. This is not free if you are a non-EU citizen: you will need to pay a sum of around €150 in order to register and this is renewable annually.
You will then need to take the following documents to the nearest ASL in order to be enrolled in the system:
• your ID
• a copy of your work contract (contratto di lavoro)
• a copy of your most recent payslip (busta di paga)
• a family status notice if you want to claim for any dependents (certificato di stato di famiglia)
• your fiscal code (codice fiscale)
• a registration card (attestato di iscrizione) from the Unemployment Office if you are not working
The self-enrolment fee only applies to non-EU nationals in particular fields, such as au pairs, students and religious personnel. You can find a list of these these areas on the government website (PDF).
The ASL will issue your Italian health insurance card (tessera sanitaria) and a green card with information about your doctor (documento personale di iscrizione al servizio sanitario nazionale) and will sign you up with a doctor: you can choose which practice you are enrolled with.
You will not be treated under the public system unless you take your health insurance card with you, and you will need to renew your health insurance card every year.
This is not a reimbursement system. It is free at the point of delivery and medical personnel in public institutions are not allowed to take money directly, with the exception of specialist care: here, you will need to make a co-payment, though the ‘ticket’ (the rest of the fee) is covered by the SSN.
Your care will be completely covered by national insurance. Do make sure that if you are admitted to a hospital – for instance, during an emergency – it is a public rather than a private one, as this can cause complications.
If you are an EU citizen and have an EHIC card, you can use this in an emergency but the card should not be used as a substitute for other cover.
Your health insurance card will expire when your residency does.
7. Open A Bank Account
When it comes to opening a bank account in Italy, expats ordinarily have four choices. They can choose to:
• Keep their existing account in their home country, which is particularly useful for anyone planning to move back at some point in the future
• Open a local account, which is usually necessary for individuals working in their destination country
• Open an international account with their existing bank, if such branches exist in their destination country
• Open an offshore account
Italy has a range of banks available for expats to use, including co-operative banks and commercial banks. As an expat, you can choose to open either an Italian account or a non-resident account. Non-resident accounts tend to be more popular with foreigners, due to their lower interest rates.
Anyone over the age of 18 can open a bank account in Italy, regardless of their citizenship status.
The biggest banks in the country are Banca Intesa and Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena. However, the most popular among expats are Unicredit, Banco di Napoli and Banca Nazionale del Lavoro. Larger banks tend to operate primarily in the cities, though most have a few branches throughout the rest of the country. One major incentive for choosing a big name is the superior services on offer, including internet and telephone banking.
Banks in Italy are generally open Monday to Friday between 8am and 1:30pm, and most reopen between 2pm and 4:30pm, too. Some branches also open on Saturday mornings. Times may vary from branch to branch, however, so it is a good idea to check specific opening times before you make a visit or call. Many banks close for the afternoon on the day before a bank holiday, as well as shutting for the bank holiday itself.
In order to open a bank account in Italy, you should visit the branch in person. You will need to take the following documents with you:
• Proof of address
• Tax code (codice fiscal)
• Proof of employment
You will be required to complete an application form. Usually, you will be issued with your new banking details on the same day. Then, within a few days, the associated cards and cheque books should arrive by post.
Obtaining a tax code is a simple process, though one that entails visiting a tax office (Agenzia delle Entrate). There are many throughout the country. You will need to supply your passport in order to apply for a tax code. If you need to open an Italian bank account before your arrival in the country, you can get your tax code from your nearest Italian embassy and apply remotely.
Expats with a work contract or residence permit may prefer to open a resident’s bank account. In order to do this, you will need your tax code and the same identification documents as listed above.
One of the biggest problems facing expats who wish to open a bank account in Italy is the language barrier. Most information leaflets and application forms will be in Italian, and few branches have English-speaking staff. In saying this, some larger banks may have someone who can help, if you ask in advance. Taking along someone who is fluent in both languages can be useful, or you could arrange to have the relevant information translated (though this may be costly).
Before opening an Italian bank account, you should do your research and shop around. If you know where you are moving to, or have already made the move, contact your local bank before making an appointment to open an account. This will give you the opportunity to check whether they have experience in dealing with expats and in opening non-resident accounts. Some smaller branches, particularly in more rural areas, may struggle to provide the services you require.
Italy has no shortage of ATM, or bancomat, machines, and most are expat-friendly, with an option to switch to your preferred language prior to making any transactions. There is often a 300 Euro daily limit on withdrawals from ATMs.
Visa, MasterCard, and CartaSi (the local option) are all frequently used in Italy. However, expats should be aware that credit card withdrawals from ATMs may incur hefty transaction fees.
The most popular type of account used in Italy is the standard current account, also known as a chequing account. Some banks may stipulate that customers maintain a minimum balance in order to keep the account active, while others charge account management fees.
Most Italian banks offer expats a comprehensive range of services, akin to those native citizens can access, including internet and mobile banking, cheque books, savings accounts, Visa cards, and credit cards.
Expats using cheques in Italy must be aware that they should be written out in Italian in black or blue ink. Furthermore, American expats need to remember that Italian banks will read the date in the European format of dd-mm-yy and should fill out their cheques accordingly.
8. Transfer Money
There are many ways of sending money from one country to another. As always, expats can save themselves a lot of trouble and expense if they do a little research and shop around for the best deal.
International Bank Transfers
For most expats, currency transfer involves transferring small to medium sized amounts regularly from an existing bank account back home into a new overseas bank account in the local currency. These may be pension payments, benefits, or any other form of income.
Your home bank will usually be glad to oblige. You can set up facilities with them “on demand” whereby you fax or call them on the phone, provide a secret code or two, tell them the amount in question, and they will transfer it to your new bank, automatically converting it into the relevant local currency. Some banks also allow you to make international payments online. Whatever method you choose, transfers normally take between 3-7 days although 1-2 day transfers are often available but be prepared to pay more for these.
You can also set up regular transactions that are processed automatically on a fixed day of each month. Many state pensions and benefits can be paid directly into your new bank abroad without going through your home bank at all. Some private pension organisations may also offer the same facility.
When you first set up a transfer of funds abroad, the sending bank or institution will ask you for various codes that identify the destination bank. Often they will ask for IBAN (International Bank Account Number), BIC (Bank Identifier Code) or SWIFT codes but don?t panic – your new bank will give these to you and they may even already be listed in your new chequebook or bank statements.
As far as charges are concerned, you will probably be required to pay a flat fee per transaction. Additionally a percentage fee is often charged for the currency conversion itself. You may also find that your receiving bank charges you for receiving the transfer. Charges vary by bank but can quickly add up – ask your bank(s) for an indication of the fees involved.
As a general rule, transferring larger sums less frequently usually works out cheaper than transferring smaller amounts more often. However, if you need to transfer regular amounts of at least a few hundred pounds/dollars or need to make a larger one-off payment (e.g. for a house purchase) you should consider the services of a currency broker.
Cash Machine/ATM Withdrawals
Thanks to modern technology, most people abroad can go to a cash machine/ATM and withdraw local currency funds directly from their home bank account. This is a useful option to have for expats but exercise caution – many banks make hefty charges for using this type of facility. You may also find that withdrawal limits are in place (as a security measure) even if you significant funds in your account back home.
You can also use VISA or Mastercard credit cards to obtain cash in this fashion and if you pay the amount off quickly and avoid interest charges then fine – but once again credit card charges for cash withdrawals can be high. Check the rates carefully.
Currency brokers (also called foreign exchange brokers) offer significant advantages over traditional banks. Firstly, brokers will often be able to offer you a better rate than your bank. Secondly, the entire process is more transparent – many banks require you to accept the exchange rate available on the day they process your transaction, whatever and whenever that may be, but a specialist broker will offer greater flexibility, even allowing you to specify the rate you want in advance.
Currency brokers are smaller companies than major banks so always check their background carefully. Ask existing expats for their own experiences and recommendations before choosing a firm to handle your own foreign exchange requirements.
A good broker will discuss all the options with you and enable you to make the best decision for your circumstances. Using a broker will typically off the following advantages:
1) Currency brokers generally provide superior exchange rates to the high street banks. The currency brokers have access to the interbank rate and do not have the high costs that the banks have. This means that they can usually offer better exchange rates.
2) Use of a free Market Watch/Order Service: This allows you to tell your currency broker your target or budget exchange rate and they will ring you if that exchange rate level is reached. As the rate moves every few seconds, currency brokers can act as your eyes and ears on the market.
3) Ability to fix the exchange rate in advance using a Forward Contract. If you know you need to convert/move funds in the future but don?t yet have the money you can reserve a rate in advance using a Forward Contract. During this period, you are exposed to exchange rate movements and therefore, a forward contract is ideal if, for example, you have agreed to buy a house and want to fix the rate now but will not be making payment for a couple of months.
Savings from currency brokers can vary from between 1 and 4 per cent on the exchange rate alone, and specialists do not typically charge any fees for transmitting the funds abroad, unlike banks which often levy expensive fees or charges. If you are emigrating and transferring a large sum of money – such as the proceeds of a property – a foreign exchange company could potentially save you thousands.
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9. Learn The Language
If you are going out to beautiful Italy in order to live and work, you may be asking how easily you will be able to communicate in English, or whether you will need to be fluent in Italian. We will answer some of these questions below.
The official language of Italy is Italian. This is a descendent of a language called Tuscan (a dialect of the Italo-Dalmatian subgroup), but many Italians speak regional variations derived from the ancient language of Latin: the tongue spoken by the Romans and for centuries a lingua franca across Europe. Many European languages, such as French and Spanish, also have their roots in this old tongue, and if you studied Latin at school you will find that you have a head start in learning Italian, too.
The native languages of Italy are categorised as separate languages, not as dialects. There are approximately thirty-four native living spoken languages and associated dialects in Italy, most of which are independent Romance languages.
Italy has 12 languages that are officially recognised as minority languages:
Of these, official bilingualism (bilinguismo perfetto) is legally granted to German, Slovene and French. However, there are many other languages; some, like Vastese, are very rare.
An estimated 29% of the Italian population speaks English to some degree of fluency, particularly in the cities and in tourist areas. Some expats have reported problems practising their Italian, as the locals speak fluent English and reply in that language when addressed in Italian.
However, the English Proficiency Index (EPI) undertaken by global language training company Education First (EF) ranked Italians as the worst in the EU when it came to English speaking, with marked differences in proficiency between northern Italy and the south: English was much more widely spoken in the north of the country. You may wish to bear this in mind depending on where you are going to be working.
English is regarded as the language of commerce and is commonly used in the workplace, particularly in international companies who tend to hire in local people whose English is already of a high standard. However, since only around a third of Italians overall speak English, it is advisable that you learn some basic phrases in Italian, particularly if you are intending to travel beyond the cities.
If you are planning to learn Italian during your stay in Italy, you will find plenty of provision, whether you are a beginner or an advanced speaker. Italy has a plethora of language schools across the country, offering a range of courses from summer schools up to full immersion programs with homestays. You may even be able to combine your English classes with other courses, such as programs about wine and cooking, and you will have a wide range of locations. There are also a large number of courses and resources online, if you want to start learning or brush up your Italian before you land.
In general, because of the influence of the Latin language upon modern English, native English speakers usually do not find it too difficult a language to learn. English and Italian vocabulary sometimes share the same Latin roots.
Italy is a popular destination amongst English language teachers and you may be travelling out to the country with the intention of finding work. The demand for English is growing in the country, a result of increased levels of internationalism, and you will have a range of options from one-to-one private tuition to working in a language school. It is always easier to get work in international education if you have at least a certificate in either TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) or TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages).
It is also preferable if you have experience in teaching schemes such as the Cambridge English exams or IELTS (International English Language Testing System): the English test for study, migration or work. Some teaching experience in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) will also be helpful. This assesses analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal, and reading skills in written English for use in admission to graduate management programs, such as the MBA. You may also find work more easily if you are experienced in teaching English for particular sectors, such as tourism and hospitality, or in summer schools.
It will also be helpful to have at least a Bachelor’s degree as most language schools require this: basically, the rule of thumb is that the more qualifications you have, both in TEFL and in academic subjects, the easier you will find it to get work.
You can register with one of the online TEFL job agencies in order to find work: there are a number of these online as Italy is such a popular choice. Your salary will depend on your experience and qualifications in addition to your employer: typically you can expect to earn €1K – 1500 per month, but considerably more in universities, the corporate sector, and some international schools. You can also expect to earn more in the north of the country than in some of the southern cities. You can also teach privately as a tutor. In all cases you will require a work permit and this will be easier to obtain if you are an EU national.
You may also be moving to Italy with a view to taking up work in translation or interpretation: in this case, your chances of finding work will depend on having a high standard of Italian and the relevant professional qualifications.
10. Choose A School
If you are intending to move to Italy, and you have school age children, you may have questions about the educational system here. How easy will it be to find a school for your child? What sort of school should you choose – one in the public, or in the private sector? How do educational standards vary between the two, and what sort of provision is there at international schools? We will answer some of your questions below.
Education in Italy is free from primary level onwards (you will need to pay for nursery care or kindergarten), and this will apply to your family as expats in the country as well. Schooling is mandatory from 6 to 16 years of age. It consists of five stages:
• kindergarten: ages 3-6 (scuola materna/ scuola dell’infanzia)
• primary school: ages 6-11 (scuola primaria / scuola elementare)
• lower secondary school: ages 11-14 (scuola secondaria di primo grado / scuola media inferiore)
• upper secondary school: ages 14-19 (scuola secondaria di secondo grado / scuola media superiore)
• university (università)
Some comprehensive schools (istituto comprensivo) may teach all levels.
Secondary schools in the public sector are divided into three main types, which will largely share a curriculum for the first three years (including, for example, Italian, maths and history):
• Liceo (lyceum): specialization in a particular field of studies such as science, humanities, languages, or art
• Istituto tecnico (technical institute): this includes theoretical education but also a specialization in a specific field of studies (such as administration, law, or technology). This may include an internship.
• Istituto professionale (professional institute): practical subjects such as engineering, agriculture, teaching or the culinary arts
For the later years, students will need to begin to specialise, depending on what they intend to study at university. Students will then take a final exam (esame di maturità or esame di stato), leading to university at the age of 19.
School hours usually run from from 8:00 am – 3:00 pm., Monday – Saturday in primary and lower secondary schools, although some run Monday – Friday and end later in the day. Your child will be in the same class for a five-year period although they will have different teachers.
Italy has a high standard of education: the OECD ranks it as being the 21st globally, above the USA. It is generally considered that northern Italian schools tend to be of a higher standard than southern ones, and students tend to do better in the state sector than in the private sector. Infrastructure in the state sector is, however, often of a low standard and buildings and equipment may not be of a high quality.
You may want to enrol your child in a private school (scuole paritarie) or an international school (for example, if you want your child to study an international curriculum or if you want your child to be educated in English – in public schools, the curriculum will be taught in Italian). Most private schools are Catholic and most parents enrol their children here for religious reasons: however, unlike other countries, the educational standard in these schools is often lower than in schools in the state sector. Some state schools offer aspects of the British curriculum for an additional fee, such as GCSE subjects: this may be helpful if you are in the country for a relatively short period and are intending to return home while your child is still in school.
International schools will vary – most are English-speaking but there is one Japanese school in Italy and also French and German schools in Trieste and Milan. International schools are mainly in the big northern cities.
You will probably need an interview with the school. Enrolment varies but your child may have to sit a test, for example in language proficiency.
For example, the International School of Milan offers a Baccalaureate curriculum plus PYP, MYP and IB Diploma programmes. St George’s British International School and New School in Rome both offer the British national curriculum: New School offers A Levels, for example. The American Overseas School of Rome offers the US curriculum and the IB as well as the American Diploma. St. Stephen’s School, also in Rome, is closer to an American prep school and also offers the IB.
Fees will vary between schools but are generally in the region of €10 – 25K per annum. As an example:
• kindergarten – age 5: €2,100 per year
• age 6- 9: €3,100 per year
• age 10 – 13: €3,600 per year
• pre-kindergarten full day: €10,560
• grades 1-5: €1,750
• grades 6-9: €18,230
• grades 10-11: €20,590
• grades 12-13: €22,250
You may need to pay a registration fee as well. You will also pay more if your child is enrolled at a boarding school.
Facilities at international schools are usually of a high standard and teachers may be more highly qualified than in the state sector (this does not mean that they are necessarily better teachers, however!)
Most international schools will culminate with the International Baccalaureate. You can check with the school to get an idea of average exam results, and you may also like to check whether your selected school is registered with an international accreditation body such as the Council of British International Schools (COBIS).
You may also like to consider a bilingual school if cost is crucial: these cost less than the international schools and offer some classes in English. For instance, Istituto Marymount offers up to 16 hours a week of English language tuition. Provision varies widely between these schools: some have more English tuition than others and quality varies as well, so do check exam results and assess the quality of the school that you have in mind. Consult fellow expat parents, too, as word of mouth is a valuable asset when it comes to your child’s education.