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Migrant access to social security and healthcare in Italy: policies and practices

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This study on migrant access to social security, including healthcare was approved by the European Migration Network (EMN) Steering Board as part of the EMN Work Programme 2013. Social security systems, including access to healthcare, constitute one of the most powerful tools to reduce poverty and inequality and to promote social inclusion and dignity. By providing security for individuals against specific social risks, including unemployment, sickness and invalidity, social security systems aim to enhance productivity, increasing employability and supporting sustainable economic growth. While EU Member States share a common commitment to ensuring the well-being of their populations through effective social security systems, their rules on who is entitled to social security and healthcare, which benefits are granted and under what conditions vary significantly. In Italy, all people who work in the country are compulsorily insured with the social security system, which is financed by insurance contributions, as well as, state resources and national and local public funds. The overall objective of the study is to map the policies and administrative practices in place in Italy that shape access to social security, including healthcare, for third-country workers and their families. Therefore, the study will not take into account third-country nationals who are irregular immigrants, visitors or beneficiaries of international protection. In section 1, the specific objectives of the study are outlined, as well as, the methodology and definitions that will be used to carry out the analysis. Section 2 provides an initial overview of third-country nationals’ access to social security benefits in Italy. This section presents the main characteristics and functions of the National Social Security Institute (INPS), the Italian Workers Compensation Authority (INAL) and the National Health Service (SSN), which are the competent bodies who are responsible for dispensing the benefits which are the scope of this study. In sections 3 and 4, the study presents a more detailed analysis of the Italian eligibility rules and the administrative practices that affect access to social security by third-country nationals. These sections provide a special focus on benefits relative to the following specific areas of social security, which are considered particularly relevant to third-country nationals: healthcare, sickness cash benefits, maternity and paternity benefits, old-age pensions and benefits, family benefits, unemployment and guaranteed minimum resources. In particular, section 3 contains a focus exportability of social security benefits in case of return to the country of origin or transfer of residence to another Member State. Section 5 of the study focuses on the external dimension of the coordination of social security with third countries, which is administered by means of bilateral social security agreements. Italy has concluded a considerable number of such agreements, and table 5.1 presents a comprehensive overview of the 20 bilateral conventions initiated to date. Section 6 presents a set of three case studies whose purpose is to better understand and depict third-country nationals’ eligibility to and enjoyment of specific social security benefits in Italy. Specifically, cases regard immigrants who have been living in Italy for different periods of time and who are holders different types of permits (long-term and fixed-term residence permits). The cases focus specifically on access to the following social security benefits: family allowance, guaranteed minimum resources, invalidity and sickness benefits, unemployment and maternity benefits. Section 7 presents a statistical overview of existing data (from sources, such as Eurostat, INPS and Unicredit foundation) on social security payments to migrant workers (both autonomous workers and employees, with a focus on care sector workers) in Italy. Exact data on take-up by migrants of the various social security payments by nationality in not available, and, therefore, this study analyses available statistical data from a comprehensive viewpoint in order to comprehend the extent of immigrant take-up of social security. The final chapter of the study will serve to summarize the key findings encountered by the national report. A series of annexes will follow, presenting further sources in relation to migration and welfare, as well as, ulterior statistics and insights. In synthesis, this new EMN Italy report serves to complete existing documentation on immigrant access to social security by providing a picture of the Italian situation founded on data and written on the basis of a common European framework. In this way, the report helps make the Italian and EU contexts more easily comparable while pursuing the ongoing commitment of conveying information with scientific precision and a straightforward style.
Content may be subject to copyright.
Migrant access to social security and healthcare
in Italy: policies and practices
Edited by the Italian National Contact point for the EMN
IDOS Study and Research Centre
With the support of the Ministry of the Interior
Rome, February 2014
www.emnitaly.it
2
Migrant access to social security and healthcare in Italy: policies and practices
Edited by
Chiara Galli, Franco Pittau e Antonio Ricci (IDOS/EMN Italia)
With the collaboration of
Alberto Bordi and Chiara Impagliazzo (Ministry of the Interior),
Marta Giuliani, Paolo Iafrate (University of Rome Tor Vergata),
Zsuzsanna Pasztor (University of Rome Sapienza), Maria Marta Farfan (Inas-Cisl),
Raniero Cramerotti (University of Bergamo) and the IDOS/Dossier Statistico Immigrazione team
Cooperation with Social Security Institutes (INPS and INAIL)
and with the Ministry of Labour for content editing
Index
Executive summary
3
Introduction: objectives, methodology and definitions
5
Overview of the national social security system and how it applies to third-country
nationals
8
National rules on access to social security by third-country nationals
23
Administrative practices that affect third-country nationals‟ access to social security
29
External dimension of social security
31
Case studies
48
Statistics on social security payments related to migration
51
Key findings
61
Bibliography
62
Statistical Annex
68
3
Executive Summary
This study on migrant access to social security, including healthcare was approved by the European
Migration Network (EMN) Steering Board as part of the EMN Work Programme 2013. Social
security systems, including access to healthcare, constitute one of the most powerful tools to reduce
poverty and inequality and to promote social inclusion and dignity. By providing security for
individuals against specific social risks, including unemployment, sickness and invalidity, social
security systems aim to enhance productivity, increasing employability and supporting sustainable
economic growth. While EU Member States share a common commitment to ensuring the well-
being of their populations through effective social security systems, their rules on who is entitled to
social security and healthcare, which benefits are granted and under what conditions vary
significantly. In Italy, all people who work in the country are compulsorily insured with the social
security system, which is financed by insurance contributions, as well as, state resources and
national and local public funds.
The overall objective of the study is to map the policies and administrative practices in place in
Italy that shape access to social security, including healthcare, for third-country workers and their
families. Therefore, the study will not take into account third-country nationals who are irregular
immigrants, visitors or beneficiaries of international protection.
In section 1, the specific objectives of the study are outlined, as well as, the methodology and
definitions that will be used to carry out the analysis. Section 2 provides an initial overview of third-
country nationals access to social security benefits in Italy. This section presents the main
characteristics and functions of the National Social Security Institute (INPS), the Italian Workers
Compensation Authority (INAL) and the National Health Service (SSN), which are the competent
bodies who are responsible for dispensing the benefits which are the scope of this study.
In sections 3 and 4, the study presents a more detailed analysis of the Italian eligibility rules and the
administrative practices that affect access to social security by third-country nationals. These
sections provide a special focus on benefits relative to the following specific areas of social
security, which are considered particularly relevant to third-country nationals: healthcare, sickness
cash benefits, maternity and paternity benefits, old-age pensions and benefits, family benefits,
unemployment and guaranteed minimum resources. In particular, section 3 contains a focus
exportability of social security benefits in case of return to the country of origin or transfer of
residence to another Member State.
Section 5 of the study focuses on the external dimension of the coordination of social security with
third countries, which is administered by means of bilateral social security agreements. Italy has
concluded a considerable number of such agreements, and table 5.1 presents a comprehensive
overview of the 20 bilateral conventions initiated to date.
Section 6 presents a set of three case studies whose purpose is to better understand and depict third-
country nationals eligibility to and enjoyment of specific social security benefits in Italy.
Specifically, cases regard immigrants who have been living in Italy for different periods of time and
who are holders different types of permits (long-term and fixed-term residence permits). The cases
focus specifically on access to the following social security benefits: family allowance, guaranteed
minimum resources, invalidity and sickness benefits, unemployment and maternity benefits.
Section 7 presents a statistical overview of existing data (from sources, such as Eurostat, INPS and
Unicredit foundation) on social security payments to migrant workers (both autonomous workers
and employees, with a focus on care sector workers) in Italy. Exact data on take-up by migrants of
4
the various social security payments by nationality in not available, and, therefore, this study
analyses available statistical data from a comprehensive viewpoint in order to comprehend the
extent of immigrant take-up of social security.
The final chapter of the study will serve to summarize the key findings encountered by the national
report. A series of annexes will follow, presenting further sources in relation to migration and
welfare, as well as, ulterior statistics and insights.
In synthesis, this new EMN Italy report serves to complete existing documentation on immigrant
access to social security by providing a picture of the Italian situation founded on data and written
on the basis of a common European framework. In this way, the report helps make the Italian and
EU contexts more easily comparable while pursuing the ongoing commitment of conveying
information with scientific precision and a straightforward style.
5
1. Introduction: objectives, methodology and definitions
1.1 Objectives
The Italian Social Security System and access to healthcare are fundamental tools of inclusion, as
they provide effective protection against unemployment, accidents at work, sickness and invalidity.
Single Member States, on the basis of their own history and national peculiarities, have elaborated a
specific social security system. The objective of this study by EMN Italy is to assess migrants‟
placement within these measures. For these reasons, this Report although focused on the Italian
context is functional to the elaboration of a synthesis study by the European Commission, based
on a comparison between Member States.
In countries where immigration is a recent phenomenon, only few aspects of the relationship
between third-country nationals and social security are known, namely the fact that third-country
workers pay very high social security contributions every year, while having limited access to
retirement. We should not limit ourselves to consider only the most reassuring aspects of this
phenomenon, because in the future the number of third-country national retirees will increase.
Moreover, we should take into consideration the issue of new restrictive laws, from the point of
view of third-country nationals; for example, the increase in the years required to receive the old
age pension which, together with the decision to practically suspend any new bilateral agreement
with countries of origin, will have a strong negative impact on third-country national workers.
Concretely, this may result in the impossibility for many to obtain, by summing up insurance
accrued in Italy and the country of origin, the minimum contribution requirement necessary to be
able to enjoy receive pensions.
Since the number of third-country nationals who decide to settle permanently in Italy1 is constantly
increasing, addressing important aspects of social policies that effect them becomes essential.
The target audience of these insights is composed of::
politicians, who are the ones that decide on possible reforms of legislation and
policies for third-country nationals;
local administrators, who have the responsibility to welcome and integrate
immigrants into the Italian territory;
representatives of associations and the social world (also those run by immigrants),
who are key players in the provision of basic care services;
researchers in the field, due to the limited amount of research which has been
conducted so far not so much on the social security system, but rather on the role
of third-country nationals within such system.
Hopefully, the dissemination of this report will contribute to fill the gaps identified so far in Italy.
The specific objectives of this study are:
to outline the national legislation on access to social security;
to analyze the norms and practices governing third-country nationals' access to social
security benefits;
to examine the contents of the bilateral agreements on social security signed with
third countries;
1 ISTAT, La popolazione legale del 15° Censimento della popolazione. Cfr. http://www.istat.it/it/archivio/77877.
6
to elaborate available statistical data relating to welfare and immigration.
1.2 Definitions
In order to provide a comparative analysis of the various social security systems in the EU, we‟ve
made reference to the terminology used by the Mutual Information System on Social Protection
(MISSOC)2, edited by the European Commission. This information system offers detailed, reliable
and updated information on the social security systems of European countries, available in English,
French and German.
In particular, our report has adopted the list of the 11 main sectors of social security as outlined in
the MISSOC:
Health Care;
Cash sickness benefits;
Maternity and paternity benefits;
Disability benefits;
Old-age benefits and pensions;
Survivors‟ benefits;
Benefits for accidents at work and occupational diseases;
Family benefits;
Unemployment;
Minimum resources;
Long-term assistance.
Section 2 of this report provides a framework of each of these sectors of social security, while
Sections 3 and 4 focus only on those sectors considered of particular interest by the European
Commission for the purposes of this study.
The terminology of the social security sector, compared to the juridical one commonly used for
immigration and asylum issues, contains many specific terms which will be defined in order to
facilitate the reader‟s understanding. In general, for terms related to the scope of employment, we
have made extensive reference to Eurostat terminology, especially to comment on the statistical
reference data. The EMN Glossary on Asylum and Migration 3, promoted by the European
Commission and now in its second edition (January 2012) was particularly useful. This glossary, in
addition to containing definitions of various terms shared at the European level, also includes useful
entries with regard to employment. The Glossary of Statistical Terms4 edited by the Organization
for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was also relevant.
1.3 Methodology
The Ministry of Interior has entrusted IDOS-Study and Research Centre to compile this report.
IDOS has been able to build upon its experience in preparing and editing, in the recent past, four
Reports on Immigrant Workers in the Social Security Archives on behalf and with the collaboration
of the Italian Social Security Institute (INPS)5. The pre-existent, fruitful collaboration between
IDOS and the National Insurance Institute for Accidents at Work (INAIL) was also very valuable.
Content editing was provided by several external experts, also through the creation of a referee
committee. An employee of a patronage institute developed the case studies contained in Section 6
2 http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=858&langId=en
3 http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/home-affairs/what-we-do/networks/european_migration_network/glossary/index_a_en.htm
4 http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/about.asp
5 www.inps.it/portale/default.aspx?sID=0%3b&lastMenu=7090&iMenu=1.
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(patronage institutes, competent in the field of social security, are protection bodies that have no
equivalent in other Member States). Moreover, some institutions (like INPS and UNAR the
National Office against Racial Discrimination) have provided their advice on the elaboration of this
text.
In the context of the Second Annual Meeting of the national EMN network, held in Rome on the 9th
of December, a conference entitled “What does the future hold for immigrant access to social
security? The national framework and bilateral conventions” was organized6. In this occasion, the
initial findings of this report were presented. The conference concluded with a round table on the
prospective for immigrants‟ access to social security.
The main data on third-country national workers has been taken from the archives of INPS
(regarding pension benefits, temporary cash benefits during employment and assistance benefits)
and INAIL (regarding cash benefits related to accidents at work and occupational diseases). In
particular, the methodology used for data and information gathering and elaboration was the
following:
1. We conducted a review of the existing literature on the subject, which was sparse and
mainly attributable to the journals of patronage and social assistance institutes (as previously
mentioned, patronage institutes are welfare bodies consisting of trade unions and/or worker‟s
associations financed by the government of which there is no equivalent in other Member States).
2. To find the difference in treatment between third-country nationals and Italian
citizens we referred to legal journals, the website of the Italian Association for Legal Studies on
Immigration (ASGI), a few monographs7 and the information provided by UNAR, the National
Office Against Racial Discrimination of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers8.
3. Very useful were also the summary reports created by the same social security
institutions (in particular INPS and INAIL) which have been published on their respective websites
(www.inps.it, www.inail.it) or in short information manuals suitable for wide dissemination.
4. Two pilot-researches by IDOS have also been used: one concerning accidents at
work 9 and the other concerning social security10.
5. The statistics concerning benefits for accidents at work provided by INAIL are
broken down by all the countries of origin, whereas benefits and pensions provided by INPS make a
distinction between EU citizens, on the one hand (Italians and citizens of other Member States,
considered altogether), and all third-country citizens on the other hand (not always broken down by
all the countries of origin). However, this distribution based on country of origin makes it difficult
to accurately compare EU immigrants, third-country immigrants and Italians, in order to find the
true differences in treatment. This limit also characterizes the book Immigrant workers in Italy
published by the Ministry of Labor (Rome, July 2013, now in its third edition) which is, however,
quite detailed.
Despite these limitations, and in view of the lack of attention devoted to social security issues so far
as compared to other subjects related to immigration, this report prepared by EMN Italy should be
able to provide a significant contribution to knowledge and exert a strong impulse to elicit specific
insights.
6 See www.emnitaly.it/index.php/en/events/46-2nd-annual-meeting-of-emn-italy-s-national-network.
7 See, for example, A. Guariso, Senza distinzioni. Quattro anni di contrasto alle discriminazioni istituzionali nel Nord
Italia, Associazione Avvocati per niente Onlus, Milan 2012. See.
www.asgi.it/public/parser_download/save/senza_distintizioni_cop_som.pdf.
8 UNAR - IDOS, 2013 Statistical Dossier on Immigration, IDOS Editions, Rome 2013.
9 Istituto Italiano di Medicina Sociale, edited by F. Pittau and A. Spagnolo, Immigrati a rischio infortunistico in Italia,
IIMS, Rome 2003
10 Il processo di pensionamento degli immigrati a Roma e in Italia, in Chamber of Commerce - Caritas Rome,
Osservatorio Romano sulle Migrazioni. Terzo Rapporto, IDOS Editions, Rome 2007, pp. 228-238
8
2. Overview of the national social security system and how it applies to third-
country nationals
Significant variations exist in the organisation and financing of social security systems in EU
Member States, which include different combinations of contributory and non-contributory social
security schemes. Contributory social security schemes are financed by national insurance
contributions paid by employers and employees, whereas non-contributory social security schemes
are financed from general tax revenue. While no common policy (nor common standards) in respect
of social security exist in the EU, the European Commission‟s Mutual Information System on
Social Security (MISSOC), provides a common way of categorising the variety of social security
benefits and programmes that exist at Member State level. This section provides an overview of the
Italian national social security system, the range of social security benefits (including the relative
eligibility rules) and their capacity to address the challenges presented by immigration.
2.1. Overview of social security benefits and programmes and their financing mechanisms
According to Italian law, all workers who perform a remunerated activity in the country are
compulsorily insured with the social security system, which is financed by insurance contributions
paid by employers and workers (both employed and self-employed), as well as by state resources
and for welfare benefits by national and local public funds.
The National Social Security Institute (INPS) is the most important Italian social security
institution, which ensures almost all of the employees of the private sector and recently also those
of the public sector, while other institutions are in charge of other workers (like journalists, doctors,
lawyers and other professional categories).
INPSs main activity consists in the dispensing and payment of various types of pensions and
benefits. The first ones (which can be either pensions or other kind of benefits) are contributory
social security arrangements, (i.e. based on the contributions paid by the workers), while the second
ones are non-contributory social arrangements, paid by the State or the local authorities.
INPS does not only provide for pensions, but also for the payment of all income support measures
(for instance, unemployment, disease, maternity, ordinary redundancy fund, severance pay) as well
as measures to support low-earning and/or large families (like family allowances, maternity and
family benefits granted by the municipalities).
INAIL (the National Insurance Institution for Accidents at Work) is the workers compensation
authority, funded solely by the contributions of employers, which provides protection to workers
from any kind of damage resulting from work related accidents, death and occupational diseases.
INAIL provides temporary benefits, permanent pensions (in case of permanent disability) and death
grants.
Social security institutions and the funds they manage are subject to the supervision of the
Government, which appoints the members of the board of directors.
The National Health System is also part of the social security system. It is funded through general
tax revenue (with some differences regarding third-country citizens who are not employed in an
activity subject to compulsory insurance), and managed at the regional level.
Here is an overview of the benefits provided by the Italian social security system, which will be
analyzed in more detail in the next chapters.
a) Pensions and other social security benefits paid by INPS
Pensions may be of various kinds:
- disability;
- ordinary invalidity;
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- old age;
- survivors;
- social allowance (called social pension until 1996).
Non-pension benefits provided by INPS are:
Non-agricultural unemployment benefits: granted to employees who have ceased employment in
sectors other than agriculture (with implementation of law no. 92/2012 this was renamed ASPI or
Social Insurance for Employment).
Agricultural unemployment benefit: granted to workers in agriculture who are registered in a special
list of agricultural workers.
Mobility allowance: granted to certain categories of laid-off workers, terminated by companies in
financial difficulty, in order to provide them with compensation in lieu of salary, while waiting for
their re-insertion in the labor market.
Ordinary redundancy fund (CIG): granted to workers in order to integrate or substitute their salary
in the event of serious labor surplus situations which could lead companies to mass layoffs.
Severance pay fund: managed by INPS in order to pay the workers‟ severance pay (TFR) and the
salary of the last three months in lieu of the employer, in the event of the latter‟s insolvency.
Family allowance: granted to all employees who are compulsory insured with the social security
system, whose total income is below a certain level annually established by law.
Family allowance (Municipalities): granted by municipalities, but paid by INPS, to support the
families income, in addition to any other family allowance.
Sickness benefits: granted to workers in case of a pathological event resulting in a temporary
inability to work.
Maternity and paternity benefits: paid to working mothers and, in special cases, to working fathers,
in the case of birth, adoption or entrustment of legal guardianship of a minor.
Parental and breastfeeding leave: paid permits granted to mothers and fathers to assist their
children, even if adopted or entrusted.
Assistance to the disabled: economic benefits granted to citizens (not necessarily employed)
suffering from a debilitating disease, and paid permits granted to severely handicapped workers and
their family members, in order to help the treatment and care of the handicapped.
Tuberculosis allowances: granted to patients with tuberculosis, even if not insured with INPS, and
to their family members (spouse, children, brothers, sisters, parents).
Thermal cures: treatment granted to prevent, delay or remove a state of disability.
Allowance for Marriage Leave: extraordinary paid leave of 8 days granted to both spouses on the
occasion of their marriage, to be used within 30 days after the date of the event.
Maternity allowances: a contributory social security benefit when granted by the State, and a non-
contributory one when granted by the Municipalities, even if paid by INPS.
Application for pension may only be submitted electronically either directly online, through the web
portal www.inps.it, by phone or through patronage institutions and intermediary Agencies of INPS
by using their online services. A medical certificate testifying disability or invalidity must
accompany the application.
b) Insurance against accidents at work and occupational diseases paid by INAIL
Articles 4, 32, 35 and 41 of the Italian Constitution guarantee all citizens the right to health in the
workplace. Health and safety at work are therefore a fundamental right, and in case of an accident at
work or an occupational disease, the Italian Constitution guarantees the right to adequate means to
meet the needs of the worker‟s life. From this constitutional principle arise the rules providing for
the compulsory insurance coverage for the injured or ill worker, which is managed by the Italian
Workers Compensation Authority (INAIL). The basic standards are laid down in the “Consolidated
text of provisions for compulsory insurance against accidents at work and occupational diseases”
(D.P.R. 1124 of 1965), the Legislative Decree no. 38/2000 and other special laws (for domestic
10
workers, radiologists, etc.). The latest regulatory changes that occurred during the „90s have
recognized that the worker not only has the right to compensation for the damage suffered, but also
to see his/her mental and physical integrity fully restored (including bodily injury). INAIL,
therefore, has been given the role to protect the health and safety of the worker.
All employees who carry out manual labour, involving in activities undertaken with the use of
machines or equipment are insured. The development of the market and of the jurisprudence (which
have been recognized and adopted by the Italian legislators) have required the extension of INAIL
compulsory insurance to cover almost all production and service activities, with very few
exceptions. Also worthy of notice is the fact that workers are protected by INAIL even if their
employer has not paid his contributory obligations. The possibility to request an allowance expires
after 3 years, although the period of limitation is interrupted during the payment of the allowance
itself.
An accident at the workplace is an event which affects a worker due to a violent cause during work
causing an injury, which leads to death, a permanent disability to work or a temporary total
disability requiring the worker to take sick leave for more than three days. The violent cause of an
accident is in most cases, of a traumatic nature, (i.e. it is rapid, takes place in short period of time
and is able to overcome the resistance of the human organism) but can also be caused by other
sources: thermal, electrical, psychical, microbial, viral or stress related. The term “during the course
of work” is to be understood as all conditions, including the environmental ones, in which the
productive activity is carried out, that could put at the risk of the worker‟s physical or mental
health.
During an employment relationship, the risk (both specific and generic) is always covered by the
social insurance, unless the injury is caused by willful misconduct of the worker. According to the
jurisprudence in force, an accident at work is not only the one caused by a specific risk (that is, a
risk to which is personally subjected the insured worker, due to the specificity of the activity carried
out), but also the accident caused both by an “environmental risk” (i.e., an inherent risk in the
workplace environment caused by the limited space, the activities carried out by all the other
workers, the presence of dangerous machinery and other causes) and the so called “generic
aggravated risk” that is a risk to which everyone is subjected, but that is aggravated by the work
activity.
INAIL coverage include accidents occurring on the way to or from the workplace, only if the
journey was occasioned by and closely connected with the person's work. Any accident occurred
during unnecessary changes to the journey (i.e. not connected with the person‟s work) will not be
reimbursed, with the exception of variations due to force majeure, essential and impelling needs or
for the fulfillment of an obligation subject to prosecution.
The insured employee is obliged to give immediate notice of any accident to his/her employer. Any
employee who fails to comply with this obligation forfeits the right to temporary economic
indemnity for the days prior to that in which the employer had been informed of the accident.
The employer is obliged to report to INAIL and to Police authorities all accidents occurring in the
workplace and/or because of the work done, regardless of any assessment on the applicability of the
law for compensation with the exception of accidents requiring 3 days for recovery. The accident
report must be submitted within two days from the date on which the employer became aware of the
accident, or within 24 hours from the accident itself, if it caused the death of the employee or if the
hospitalized employee is in danger of death.
c) Benefits provided for by the National Health Service
Benefits provided for by the National Health Service (SSN) include:
- services provided by a general practitioner outside a hospital (at the patient‟s home or at the
medical center);
11
- Specialized pediatric, obstetric and gynecological care;
- Any specialized care (including dental care) in public and private structures that have
contracts with the National Health Service;
- Hospitalization (including childbirth) in public hospitals, clinics, and private institutions
subsidized by the SSN;
- Medicine and pharmaceutical products prescribed by a general practitioner or a specialist
who is employed in or accredited by the SSN.
The National Health Service is administered on a regional basis (Regional Health Services) and is
funded by taxes paid by all residents. Third Country Nationals are obliged to pay a special
contribution in case there are not insured either as workers or persons present for humanitarian
causes. Self-employed, employed and seasonal workers, unemployed and dependents, as well as
refugees, asylum seekers and residents for humanitarian reasons or subsidiary protection are
required to register with the SSN. Other categories, like exchange students, may register with the
SSN on a voluntary basis, by paying a lump sum contribution. Irregular immigrants are eligible for
free inpatient and outpatient care services, essential and/or continuing care for illnesses and injuries
as well as the insertion in programs of preventive medicine through the STP card (Stranieri
Temporaneamente Presenti Temporarily Resident Foreigners).
Table 2.1. Overview of the national social security system presented in the MISSOC national guides as it applies to third-country nationals
(benefits and programmes available, financing mechanisms and accessibility).
‘Branch’ of social
security
Benefits and programmes included in each branch
(rows to be added if required)
Financing mechanisms
(contributory/ non-
contributory/ mixed)
Accessibility by third-country nationals
(please list the categories of third-country nationals
that are eligible, where possible making use of the
categories specified above)
I. Healthcare
Healthcare includes:
- services provided by a general practitioner outside a hospital
(at the patient‟s home or at the medical center);
- Specialized pediatric, obstetric and gynecological care;
- Any specialized care (including dental care) in public and
private structures that have contracts with the National
Health Service (SNN).
- Hospitalization (including childbirth) in public hospitals,
clinics, and private institutions subsidized by the SSN;
- medicine and pharmaceutical products prescribed by a
general practitioner or a specialist who is employed in or
accredited by the SSN.
The National Health
Service is administered
on a regional basis
(Regional Health
Services) and is funded
by taxes paid by all
residents.
Third Country Nationals
are obliged to pay a
special contribution in
case there are not
insured either as workers
or persons present for
humanitarian causes.
Self-employed, employed and seasonal workers,
unemployed and dependents, as well as refugees,
asylum seekers and residents for humanitarian
reasons or subsidiary protection are required to
register with the SSN.
Other categories, like exchange students, may
register with the SSN on a voluntary basis, by paying
a lump sum contribution.
Irregular immigrants are eligible for free inpatient
and outpatient care services, essential and/or
continuing care for illnesses and injuries as well as
the insertion in programs of preventive medicine
through the STP card (Stranieri Temporaneamente
Presenti Temporarily Resident Foreigners).
II. Sickness cash
benefits
Sickness cash benefits
Compensation payment is paid to workers starting from the
fourth day of illness and for a maximum of 180 days per
calendar
year.
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
All foreign workers are insured as employee or self-
employed worker.
13
revenue.
III. Maternity and
paternity benefits
Maternity and paternity benefits
Employed women are entitled to a maternity benefit at 80% of
their average salary in the last 12 months before the leave
period. The benefit is paid for 2 months before the expected
date of birth and for three months after childbirth.
Both parents are entitled to a total period of up to 11 months
paid leave (even simultaneously, if they wish) until the child is
8 years old (even if the child is residing abroad). The benefits
are equal to 30% of the insured‟s earnings, for a maximum
period of 6 months before the child is age 3, and can be paid to
either parent. After 6 months, the benefit is paid only if the
applicant parent‟s income is not higher than 2.5 times the
minimum retirement pension.
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
revenue.
All foreign workers are insured as employee or self-
employed worker.
IV. Invalidity benefits
Invalidity benefits:
Invalidity allowance. This allowance can benefit all insured
workers who have accrued 5 years of contributions (3 of which
in the 5 years prior to the application date) whose working
capacity is permanently reduced by more than 2/3. The ordinary
invalidity allowance does not require the termination of employment.
This allowance is paid for a maximum of 3 years, but it may be
extended for other 3 year periods.
Incapacity pension. This pension given to any insured disabled
worker who has been assessed with a total and permanent
incapacity to carry out a work, due to infirmity or
physical/mental impairment. Entitlement is conditional upon a
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
revenue.
Third-country workers are eligible for the ordinary
invalidity allowance, with the exception of those
holding a residence permit for seasonal work.
Third-country workers are eligible for the ordinary
disability pension, with the exception of those
holding a residence permit for seasonal work.
14
minimum of 5 years of contributions (3 of which must have
been accrued in the last 5 years prior to the application date) as
well as on the absence of any other forms of income. In
addition, workers who are unable to move around or perform
the most basic activities of daily life without constant
assistance can apply for a constant attendance supplement.
However, this allowance:
is not due in case of admission to health-care or
assistance institutions funded by the public
administration:
cannot be drawn at the same time as the corresponding
allowance paid by INAIL to disabled workers in the
form of constant personal assistance;
is reduced for those workers who already receive the
same allowance paid by other mandatory insurances or
social assistance, in a sum corresponding to the amount
of the benefit itself
is not reversible to survivors.
V. Old-age pensions
and benefits
Old-age pensions and benefits
All employed, self-employed and professional workers are
covered against the loss of working capacity due to old age,
and are entitled either to the old-age or early pension on the
basis of certain qualifying age requirements (e.g.: 66 years of
age by 2018). The old age pension must amount to at least 1.5
times the current social security check; the early pension shall
be granted only if the worker has accrued 10 years of
contributions, alongside a minimum pension amount of at least
2.8 times the current social security check.
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
revenue.
All foreign workers are insured as employee or self-
employed worker.
Seasonal workers are entitled to transfer their
contributions to the social security institution of their
country of origin which has an agreement with Italy
as regards social security (without prejudice to the
possibility of reconstructing their tax status in the
case of a subsequent entry).
As far as repatriated workers are concerned, the
requisites to have access to old-age benefits are
15
Social allowance
Social allowance (called social pension until 1996) is provided
to citizens in financial need (age requirement: completion of 65
years and three months). Entitlement is based on the personal
income for unmarried citizens, and on the joint income for
married citizens. Welfare benefits are granted on a temporary
basis. The benefits do not carry over to surviving family
members and are not exportable outside of Italy. A stay abroad
of the recipient, for a period exceeding 30 days, will result in
the suspension of the check until his/her return to Italy.
Social allowance is a
social security payment
that is completely
independent from the
payment of
contributions, and is
funded through general
tax revenue.
distinct and they differ with respect to the
contributory and non contributory schemes:
In the first case, third-country nationals hired
after the 1st of January 1999, can receive the
old age pension (as calculated with the
contributory system) in case they repatriate
when they turn 66 years old if they have
accrued the necessary requirements
(therefore, also if they have less than 20
years of contributions).
In the second case, third-country nationals
hired before the 1st of January 1999, can
receive the old age pension (as calculated
with the non-contributory or mixed system)
in case they repatriate when they turn 66
years old only if they have accrued 20 years
of contributions.
Italian and EU-citizens, third-country nationals
holding the EC long-term residence permit and third-
country citizens granted “refugee” or “subsidiary
protection” status and their respective family
members who are reunited are entitled all to social
allowance when they meet the following
requirements:
The age requirement established by norms
currently in force (starting the first of January
2013, the age requirement of 65 years has
now become 65 years and three months).
To currently and effectively reside in Italy.
To lack income or possess an income inferior
16
to the limits established by the law.
Social allowance also covers family members.
VI. Survivors‟ benefits
Survivors‟ benefits
Direct Survivor‟s pension is paid to the family members of the
deceased contributor: the spouse; children who, at the time of
the death, are minors, students or disabled; parents who, at the
time
of death, are 66 years of age or older, have no pension and are
dependent on the deceased. If the spouse, children or parents of
the deceased are not eligible for the survivor‟s pension, it is
paid to unmarried brothers and sisters who, at the time of death,
are disabled, without direct or indirect pension and dependent
on the deceased. However if the deceased has no spouse,
children or parents, unmarried siblings are not eligible for the
survivor‟s pension. The quota of the direct survivors‟ pension
is equal to 60% for the surviving spouse, 20% for each child
and 15% for the other cases. The sum of all quotas cannot
exceed 100% of the direct pension of the deceased. The amount
of the survivor pension can be reduced from 25 to 50% if the
beneficiary‟s income is above a certain level.
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
revenue.
All entitled foreign workers insured as employees or
self-employed workers.
VII. Benefits in respect
of accidents at work
and occupational
diseases
Benefits with respect to accidents at work and occupational
diseases
INAIL is responsible for the following medical care, cash
benefits and supplementary benefits:
These benefits are
financed entirely
through the
contributions paid by
employers.
All foreign workers insured as employee or self-
employed worker are insured with INAIL against
physical and economic damage resulting from
accidents at work and occupational diseases. Since
2000, this insurance was extended to people
17
Health-Medical care:
- Prostheses and medical appliances;
- Spa treatments (hydrotherapy and mud baths) and health
stays;
- Medical examinations and certificates issued by medical
practitioners;
- Outpatient treatment jointly administered with the Regions.
Cash benefits include:
- Daily allowance for total temporary disability11;
- Permanent disability pension;
- Compensation for permanent physical and/or mental
impairment (the so-called “biological damage”)12;
- Direct annuity supplement, guaranteed during the
rehabilitation period;
- Transitional compensation for silicosis and asbestosis;
- Survivor‟s pension;
- Death grant;
- Monthly personal assistance allowance;
- Special survivor‟s allowance, granted to survivors of the
beneficiary of the permanent disability pension even if the
employed in the care industry (family helpers and
caregivers). Based on the principle of automatic
payment of benefits, insured workers are entitled to
benefits from INAIL even if the employer has not
properly insured them and/or has not paid insurance
premiums (the insurance company will pursue the
employer for the unpaid contributions and the cost of
the insurance paid).
11 A daily indemnity paid to the worker in cases of absolute disability resulting in an absence from work for more than three days, aimed to compensate the worker for the economic loss caused by
abstention from work. Calculation of the indemnity: 60% of the average daily remuneration - calculated on the basis of the total remuneration in the 15 days prior to the accident or the occupational
disease for the first 90 days, and 75% from the 91st day onwards (even in the case of non-continuous periods). The indemnity is paid from the 4th day subsequent to the date of the accident. Law no.
15/63 requires the employer to pay the worker the entire remuneration for the day on which the accident occurred, and 60% of the same remuneration for the subsequent 3 days.
12 In the case of a permanent disability, the compensation is paid as follows:
- compensation in capital, for workers with a degree of impairment between 6% and 15%, regardless of their income;
- compensation in income, for workers with a degree of impairment between 16% and 100%.
The compensation in income consists both in a lump-sum compensation for the biological damage, calculated according to specific tables (impairments and compensation tables), and another
compensation for the financial consequences due to the disability, calculated on the basis of the worker‟s remuneration and other specific tables (the so-called “Table of Coefficients”).
18
beneficiary‟s death did not occur at work.
Supplementary welfare-based benefits include:
- An unemployability pension, granted to disabled workers
who have lost all capacity for work due to a severe degree of
disability;
- An end of year bonus, granted to disabled with an assessed
degree of disability from 80% to 100%.
VIII. Family benefits
Family benefits
Employed persons, pensioners and those receiving social
security benefits deriving from paid employment, are entitled
to receive a check for the family unit.
The family unit is considered to include the applicant, a non
divorced or separated spouse, children under the age of 18 (or
without age limit if disabled), nieces and nephews under the
age of 18, if dependent on a direct ascendant. In order to
determine the means of the family unit, the total family taxable
income, including deductible expenses and tax deductions,
must be considered.
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
revenue.
Foreign workers whose family members are residing
in Italy. If the family members are residing abroad,
the benefits are paid only if the family members are
residing in those countries which have signed a
bilateral agreement on social security with Italy
which provides for family benefits (Cape Verde,
Croatia, the former Republic of Yugoslavia, Monaco,
San Marino, Switzerland and Tunisia). This also
applies to foreign citizens from other countries who
are regularly residing in Italy and have accrued social
security contributions in at least two contracting
States.
Family members of workers who have been
recognized refugee status and who are not residing in
Italy are eligible for family benefits.
For seasonal workers, instead of the contribution for
family benefits, the employer must pay an equal
amount based on specific terms and conditions to the
National Institute of Social Security (INPS).
Family benefits provided by municipalities are
granted to Italian and EU citizens who are residents
19
in Italy, to third country nationals who have EU
long-term residence and to beneficiaries of
international protection and their family members
who are not EU citizens and who possess the right to
stay or the permanent right to stay.
IX. Unemployment
benefits
Types of unemployment benefits:
- Non agricultural unemployment benefits (paid for a period
of 240 days to people under 50). This can be extended to a
maximum of 360 days for persons over the age of 50. The
amount of the benefit is equal to 40% of the person‟s pay in
the three months preceding the cessation of employment,
within the limits of a maximum gross monthly amount fixed
by law.This has been substituted by ASPI starting the 1st of
January 2013, a monthly benefit of a duration proportional to
age.
- Agricultural unemployment benefits are destined to
agricultural workers who are registered in the relevant lists,
have a total of two years experience and have worked at
least 102 days of work in the past 2 years.
- Mobility allowance. In certain conditions, a mobility
allowance may be paid to laid-off workers of businesses in
difficulty. It guarantees the worker a compensation which
substitutes salary and favours reinsertion in the labour
market.
- Ordinary redundancy pay. This is authorized by the local
provincial committees and paid by the Cassa Integrazione
Guadagni ordinaria. It allowance is intended for laborers,
employees and managers of industrial enterprises when they
are affected by a reduction or cessation of activity for
temporary market conditions or temporary difficulties for
which neither the management nor the workers are
responsible.
- Extraordinary redundancy pay. This allowance is authorized
by decree of the Ministry of Labour, is intended to preserve
the income of laborers and employees of industrial
enterprises which have ceased operations for restructuring,
The Italian social
security system is
funded through the
contributions paid by
employers, employees
and self employed
workers, as well as
through general tax
revenue.
Unemployment benefits are paid to all employees,
with the exception of seasonal workers. Foreign
workers, with the exception of seasonal workers, are
also eligible for mobility allowance and ordinary
redundancy pay, under the same conditions as
Italians employed in the same companies.
20
re-organization, conversion, or due to a business crisis,
bankruptcy, preventive composition or compulsory
liquidation. The amount of the ordinary and extraordinary
redundancy pay is 80% of the total salary the worker would
have been entitled to for the hours of work not worked.
X. Guaranteed
minimum resources
Guaranteed minimum resources13
These benefits are granted by local authorities, which help
individuals who are deemed to be in need of socio-economic
support, depending on the available budget.
Depending on the
available budgetary
resources of local
authorities
Residence (sometimes even for many years) in the
region or municipality that is granting the benefit is
required; the case law, however, has criticized this
policy
XI. Long-term care
benefits
Long-term care benefits
Long-term care benefits provided by the national social
security system are:
- redeployment allowance; disability, blind, deaf-dumb
pensions;
- constant attendance allowance, in addition to the
pension, if the beneficiary is in need of constant
attendance in order to perform his/her daily life
activities.
These benefits are granted on the basis of the economic and
health conditions of the assisted and are provided regardless of
the fact that he/she hay already have been granted an invalidity
allowance or a disability pension in order to perform their daily
life activities and functions.
There is also provision for benefits contributing to:
- the purchase of prostheses or other necessary
medical equipment;
- the purchase or adaptation of private means of
Welfare-based social
benefits financed
through general tax
revenue
By law, these benefits are granted to TCNs holders of
an EU long-term residence permit and, according to
jurisprudence, also to those with a yearly permit.
Also eligible for these benefits are TCNs holders of a
residence permit for asylum or subsidiary protection.
13 The Social Card financed by INPS could also fall into this category. This is a purchasing card for families in economic difficulties, which law no. 147/2003 has extended to third-
country nationals with a long term residence permit.
21
transport;
- the purchase of tools which make it possible to
carry out a self-employed activity.
The Social Security systems of INPS and INAIL also provide
analogous benefits (covering the risks tied to long-term
personal assistance and care) that cannot be accumulated with
other assistance benefits.
Source: EMN Italy Migrant Access to Social Security and Healthcare in Italy: Policies and Practice, IDOS Rome 2014.
2.2 Link between policies in relation to social security and to immigration
The first organic law on immigration approved in Italy (law no. 40/1998) established a complete
equivalence between Italians and immigrants, both in the field of social security and social
assistance. Due to the alternation in the government of more restrictive political parties, however,
over the years this law was changed several times, until its equivalence was reduced only to third-
country nationals holding an EC long-term residence permit, a position which was later deemed
unconstitutional. These differences show that not all policymakers share the principle that migration
policies and social welfare should evolve together.
Another sign of the insufficient consideration with regard to the welfare requirements of third-
country nationals is the fact that the contribution requirement for the attainment of the retirement
pension has been recently raised to 20 years for all workers although many countries of origin of
immigrants are not tied to Italy though bilateral agreements which allow for the totalization of
contributions.
Formally, this 20 year contribution requirement is not necessarily discriminatory against
immigrants, but in fact is unduly burdensome for foreign workers, who usually have quite a
fragmented career and are often forced to return home prematurely, due to loss of their jobs or the
non-renewal of their residence permit. If we add to this the fact that Italy is no longer signing new
bilateral agreements for social inclusion (with the exception of the agreement signed with Israel in
2014) it is clear that Italy‟s policies on immigration are still insufficient as regards the protection of
the social security rights of immigrants. This situation will be even worse if the immigrants, who
returned to their country of origin, will not be able to obtain a part of their pension once they turn
66 anymore, on the basis of the few contributions paid while in Italy, which - although insufficient
to build up an autonomous pension by themselves - would at least entitle the retiree to receive
pension commensurate with the amount of contributions paid.
2.3. Recent changes
The most recent changes in social security policies concern the reform of the pension system, which
affects all workers, including immigrants. Since January 1st 2012, any contribution paid by a worker
after December 31st, 2011 is calculated with a contribution-based system (that is, on the basis of
contributions paid throughout their time of working, and no longer on the average pay received in
the last few years of employment. The retirement age is fixed at 66 years for all male employees
and self-employed and for women who work in the public sector. In 2018, this requirement (66
years) will also apply to women who work in the private sector (starting January 1st 2012, the
retirement age became 62 for employees and 63 and six months for self-employed women). As
mentioned previously, both men and women will need to have at least 20 years of contributions.
Furthermore, since January 1st 2012, the reform has introduced the early retirement pension,
according to which a worker may retire early in when he/she has 41 years and one month of
contributions (for women) and 42 years and one month (for men). Age requirements, in addition to
being linked to life expectancy (3 months during 2013), will be increased by 1 month both for 2013
and 2014.
Old-age and early retirement pensions are paid from the first day of the month once the vesting
requirements are met, but the worker must cease any employment activity (income from self-
employment is still allowed).
The pension will be reduced for those workers who choose early retirement before the age of 62,
unless the years of contributions derive exclusively from actual work, including periods of
maternity leave, military service, accident, sickness or ordinary redundancy fund.
23
Retirement will be flexible between the age of 62 and 70, with the application of new actuarial
coefficients of the accrued contributions.
During 2012 and 2013, the inflation adjustment will be suspended for those pensions which
exceeded 1.402 euro in 2011. This suspension has been confirmed also for 2014, but only for those
pensions exceeding 3,000 euro.
24
3. National rules on access to social security by third-country nationals
Any third-country citizen working in Italy is subject to the Italian legislation on social security, on
the basis of the territoriality principle for the compulsory insurance.
Immigrant workers residing in Italy, employed with either open-ended or temporary contracts, are
subject to the same legislation on social security and compulsory insurance as Italian workers, and
are treated equally.
In order to qualify for social security benefits like contributory pensions (old-age, disability,
invalidity and survivors), unemployment (unemployment benefit, mobility allowance and ordinary
redundancy fund), family support (family allowance, maternity leave, parental leave, sick child
leave) and health (health-care, sickness cash benefits), foreign citizens also must be insured (it is the
employer‟s obligation to pay contributions).
Seasonal workers benefit instead of only a few forms of insurance (pensions, accidents at work,
sickness and maternity). In their case, the payments made by their employers for family allowances
and unemployment do not provide any personal benefit to the worker, but are directly paid to the
National Fund for Migration Policies, where they contribute to finance social and welfare measures
in favor of all immigrants (with the Italian Finance Act of 2003, that Fund has been incorporated
into the National Fund for Social policies).
The self-employed pay their contributions directly to the INPS, at their own expense, based on their
income reported for tax purposes. On the other hand, a significant part of the contributions due by
an employee is paid by the employer.
This chapter presents an in-depth analysis of the conditions that apply in the case of third-country
nationals in order to qualify for the benefits that fall under the following specific MISSOC
„branches‟ of social security: I. Healthcare; II. Sickness cash benefits; III. Maternity and paternity
benefits; V. Old-age pensions and benefits; VIII. Family benefits; IX. Unemployment; X.
Guaranteed minimum resources.
Health-care for third-country nationals (MISSOC I)
Registration in the National Health Service may occur:
- Compulsorily. For self-employed, employed and seasonal workers, for the unemployed and for
their dependent family members, with equal rights and obligations between Italian citizens and
third-country nationals; the same applies for asylum seekers and those temporarily residing for
adoption or fostering. The registration is valid for the entire duration of the residence permit. Upon
expiration of the permit, either the new application must be documented, or the renewed permit
must be shown.
- Voluntarily. Any third-country national holding a residence permit valid for more than 3
months, who does not fall into the above categories, can register on a voluntary basis by paying a
voluntary lump-sum contribution, which extends health-care coverage to dependent family
members (alternatively, one can take out a private insurance policy). In case of students and au
pairs, dependents family members are not covered, but the lump-sum contribution is reduced.
- As irregular immigrants. In general, any third-country national who is not enrolled in the
National Health Service and receives health care must pay the tariffs set by the regions and
autonomous provinces (since the health service was requested on a voluntary basis), except as
provided for by international agreements signed by Italy in the field of health-care. However,
25
undocumented third-country nationals irregularly residing in Italy without economic means have
access to urgent medical care. They are granted urgent inpatient and outpatient care as well as the
necessary assistance in case of illness and injury, including placement in preventive medicine
programs to safeguard individual and collective health. Medical prescriptions and the registration of
any medical assistance provided to irregular third-country nationals are issued by using the specific
Regional “STP” code (“Straniero temporaneamente presente” or “Temporarily present foreign
citizen”). Access to public health facilities by the undocumented third-country national without a
residence permit, however, «will not be reported to the authorities, except in cases where a medical
report is mandatory, on equal terms with the Italian citizen»14. The medical report is mandatory, for
example, if the health service is required in relation to a criminal offense (i.e., injuries caused by a
weapon). Foreign women who are irregularly residing in Italy are guaranteed social protection for
pregnancy and maternity, on equal terms with Italian women. During pregnancy and for sixth
months after the childbirth, expulsion cannot be carried out against the mother and her cohabiting
husband (Constitutional Court decision no. 376/2000): in these cases, a special residence permit for
medical treatment is issued. Foreign minors who are irregularly residing in Italy have access to
healthcare, international disease prevention and treatment of infectious diseases.
- As temporarily present due to medical treatment. Entering Italy for medical treatment requires a
declaration by the Italian health care facility which agrees to perform the treatment itself. In
addition, the foreign patient must prove to be able to provide full payment for his/her treatment. The
entry is valid also for a companion and expires at the end of the treatment (the permit may be
renewed for the entire duration of therapy). These conditions are not required in the context of
humanitarian programs.
Social Security Coverage for Immigrant workers (MISSOC II, III, V, VIII, IX)
For the principle of equal treatment for Italian and foreign workers, which was transposed into
Italian Law with the ratification of the ILO Convention no. 175 of 1973 (art. 2, par. 2 of the
Legislative Decree no. 286 of July 25th, 1998), immigrant workers are treated with the same
provisions as Italian workers as regards their conditions of employment (pay, dismissal), those
benefits which are not directly related to the employment itself (housing, family allowances, etc.),
trade union rights and at the time of their retirement pension benefits.
The Italian law, in addition to the retribution, provides for several benefits to support the family,
including family allowance checks (art. 6, law no. 153/1988) which are paid also to third-country
workers for their family members residing in Italy and - if a bilateral agreement on social security
that foresees the reciprocal treatment on the matter is in force between Italy and the worker‟s
country of origin - even to those family members who are still living in their home country.
Social Assistance (MISSOC V, X, XI)
Access to non-contributory social assistance benefits by third-country nationals has been
established by art. 41 of the Legislative Decree no. 286/1998 (T.U.I. or “Consolidated Text on
Immigration”). When it came into force, this law stipulated that any third-country national holding
a residence card or a residence permit valid for at least one year (including their dependent minors
in Italy) had to be treated the same way as Italian citizens with regards to access to contributory and
non-contributory social security benefits. Law no. 338 of 2000, however, limited that provision
only to foreign citizens holding a residence card and their dependent minors. This restriction was
deemed unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, so that now, to obtain this or other welfare
benefits, it is sufficient to have a residence permit, valid for at least 1 year.
14 Art. 35, par. 5. Leg. Decree no. 286 of July 25 1998.
26
3.1. The minimum residence period and social security benefits
In general, the necessary requirement to receive social security benefits is the enrollment of the
worker to the mandatory social security insurance, which may have immediate effect in terms of
benefits paid (like health coverage, for example) or it may require a certain amount of contributions
paid in the past in order to obtain welfare benefits of other kind (like maternity, unemployment,
etc.) The conditions laid down by the Italian legislation apply both to third-country and Italian
citizens.
3.2. Exportable benefits upon return to the country of origin.
In general, for both third-country and Italian citizens, pensions (with the exception of welfare
benefits) and accident insurance benefits are exportable abroad and benefits related to illness,
maternity, unemployment and ordinary redundancy are not.
More specifically, while social security provisions for third-country workers living in Italy, as we
have seen, are the same ones that apply to the generality of workers, in the case of repatriation, this
happens only when the worker already accrued the right to receive a pension or if that right was
obtained by aggregating the contribution periods in the two countries, based on an international
agreement. Otherwise, certain restrictions apply. Previously, according to a norm which has now
been abolished, the foreign worker who returned to a country that did not sign a bilateral agreement
on Social security with Italy, had the right to receive a settlement of his pension contributions,
increased by 5% per year, provided that he/she was not already entitled to receive an Italian
pension. However, the worker who returns to a country of origin which is not covered by a bilateral
agreement is entitled to receive a quota of his/her pension even in case he/she has not matured the
necessary requirements upon turning 66 years old in certain cases.
Currently, to obtain the right to an aggregation of social security contributions, bilateral agreements
between Italy and the countries of origin of foreign workers must be in force. These agreements, in
fact, are intended to ensure that workers receive the same treatment that each contracting state
accords to its citizens; in particular, as regards pension, the agreements allow the aggregation of
insurance periods paid in the contracting states in order for a worker to be entitled to receive a
pension, in case that right was not accrued autonomously.
In case of intra-EU mobility, the first important changes regarding social security were enforced on
June 1st 2003, when the European Union (as well as Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and
Switzerland), adopted the Council Regulation (EC) no. 859/2003 extended the provisions of
Regulations no. 1408/71 and no. 574/72 on social security to nationals of third countries who reside
legally in the territory of each Member State, as well as to their family members and survivors. As it
is know, these Regulations aim to facilitate the freedom of movement for workers guaranteed by
article 48 of the Treaty of Rome (now article 39), avoiding the loss of pension rights or the
impossibility to acquire them.
Regulation no. 1408/1971 was later abrogated and substituted by Regulation no. 883/2004 of the
29th of April 2004 (implemented in all Member States through entry into force of Regulation CE no.
987/2009 on the 1st of March 2010) which takes further steps towards a better coordination and
simplification of community legislation on social security. With respect to the previous one, the
main novelty of the new Regulation is that it applies not only to EU workers but to all EU citizens
who reside or have resided in one or more EU member states without taking into account the reason
for their stay abroad (be it for work, study, etc.). Moreover, Regulation no. 883/2004, which
initially applied only to EU citizens, refugees and stateless persons resident in the EU, was extended
to third-country nationals legally resident in the EU through Regulation no. 1231/2010. According
to article 1 of Regulation no. 1231/2010, Regulation no. 883/2004 applies to nationals of third
countries who are not already covered by those provisions solely on the ground of their nationality
(as well as, to members of their families and to their survivors) provided that: 1. they are legally
resident in the territory of a Member State and 2. that they are in a situation which is not confined in
all respects within a single Member State. The second condition stresses the fact that provisions are
27
not applicable in the situation of a third country national who has links only with a third country and
a single Member State. Moreover, Regulation no. 883/2004 was later broadened by the provisions
of Regulation no. 465/2012 which, to cite some examples, introduces new aspects regarding cross-
border autonomous and posted workers.
It is important to consider that Regulation no. 883/2004 contains specific provisions for each branch
of social security: sickness and maternity benefits; invalidity benefits; old-age benefits; survivor
benefits; benefits in respect of accidents at work and occupational diseases; death grants;
unemployment benefits; family benefits. The Regulation recognizes the principle of totalization of
contributions according to which the worker is entitled to the sum of the total amount of benefits
accrued in the different member States in which he/she resided and/or worked as employee or self-
employed worker. According to this principle, pension benefits are accrued by aggregating all the
periods of work performed by the worker in the member states (based on the national legislation of
each member state) and determining the amount in proportion to the contributions paid in each
country.
This legislation includes the entire field of employees (including public employees, who are
enrolled in a special social security scheme) and self-employed (including the social security
schemes for freelancers).
From a geographic point of view, the Regulation applies to all Member States of the European
Union, as well as in third countries with which specific agreements have been signed
(such as Norway, Liechtenstein, Iceland and Switzerland). The only exceptions are Demark and the
UK, who only apply Regulation no. 883/2004 to citizens of the EU (plus Norway, Liechtenstein,
Iceland and Switzerland), while the UK applies old regulation no. 1408/1971 to third country
nationals.
The basic principles of the above mentioned Regulation no. 883/2004 are similar to those that
regulate bilateral agreements on social security, they are following:
Equality of Treatment. Article 12 of the Regulation prevents all prejudice, direct or
indirect, based on nationality in application of national laws relative to social security.
Equality of treatment specifically regarding benefits income and events. According to
article 5 of the Regulation, the principle of equal treatment is reinforced because every
benefit accrued or event occurred in one Member State must be considered by another
Member state as if it occurred in its own territory.
Uniqueness of the Legislation Applicable: The worker is subject to the legislation of a
single Member State at a time. This avoids any jurisdictional dispute in the case of
workers who move to other Member States, and avoided dual compulsory insurance. The
Regulation establishes that, generally, the worker is subject to the legislation of the state
in which he/she works.
Totalization. All periods of insurance, autonomous or dependent labour accrued in one
member state must be considered when calculating the benefits to which the worker is
entitled.
Exportability. Benefits are exportable, regardless of whether or not the beneficiary resides
in the State where the debtor institute is located. However, there are some exceptions
regarding special non-contributory benefits (such as, social allowance)
The rule against overlapping benefits. According to article 10 of the Regulation, it is not
possible to accrue multiple benefits of the same type (from different member states)
during the same mandatory insurance period.
The application of Regulation no. 883/2004 to third-country nationals, does not entitle them to
enter, stay or reside in a Member State, or to have access to its labour market, with the exception of
28
moving to another state for work purposes, which is permitted to third-country nationals holding an
EC long-term residence permit (as stated in Point number 10 of the “whereas” section of Regulation
no. 1231/2010). However, Directive no. 109/2003 of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of
third-country nationals who are long-term residents (implemented in Italy with the Legislative
Decree no. 3/2007) grants the right to stay in a Member State other than that which conferred the
status of long-term resident, for periods longer than three months, and in particular for employment
or self-employed activities, for study and training as well as for other purposes.
3.3. Minimum employment period requested
Both for Italian and third-country nationals, the minimum contribution periods attached to different
benefits are the following:
old-age pension: 20 years;
mobility and invalidity pension: 5 years (of which 3 years worked during the last 5 years);
unemployment: contribution requirements vary according to the various sectors.
3.4. Migration-specific conditions
In order to be covered under the Italian social security system, a residence permit for work reasons
valid for 1 or 2 years (or less, in the case of seasonal workers) is required. The work permit is
implicit for the spouse who obtains a residence permit for family reunification or an EC long-term
residence. The actual enrolment to the Italian social security system occurs with the payment of the
first contribution. When the social security contribution, although due, is not paid by the employer,
the benefits are not affected if requested by the worker within the period of limitation (3 years).
3.5. Other conditions
A certain period of residence is required for benefits provided by the municipalities, but this
requirement was deemed to be discriminatory against immigrants. In any case, the jurisprudence
succeeded in overcoming these limits.
Regarding contribution-based benefits, the national social security system affects all Italian and
third-country workers. Having access to certain benefits does not depend on the nationality of the
applicant, but rather on his/her sector of employment or necessary requirements established by
legislation on social security. As we have already noted, certain benefits are exportable abroad,
while others require residence in Italy.
Guaranteeing equivalency between Italian and third-country nationals regarding access to social
assistance benefits (such as disability and social allowances, exemptions, etc.) is fundamental for its
crucial impact on the future of foreign workers. As we have seen, the relevant legislation is
contained in article 41 of the Legislative Decree no. 286/98 (Consolidated Text on Immigration),
which was based on the principle of equality concerning access to benefits between Italian citizens
and third-country nationals holding a valid residence permit, and Law no. 388/2000, limited that
equivalence only to holders of a residence card (“Carta di soggiorno”). Nevertheless, the
jurisprudence is becoming increasingly inclined to extend the category of beneficiaries of social
assistance benefits to include third-country nationals in possession of a residence permit valid only
for 1 or 2 years.
For an overview of the requirements for healthcare, sickness cash benefits, maternity and paternity
benefits, old-age pensions and benefits, family benefits, unemployment and guaranteed minimum
resources, please see the following table.
ITALY. Synoptic table of the requirements for the access of third-country nationals to the main social security benefits
Requirements
Residence
Exportability
Employment period
Migration conditions
Yes
Under certain conditions and
times
No
Third-country nationals can
be insured as workers or as
foreigners legally residing
in Italy, on the basis of
bilateral conventions
Yes
No
Yes
Self employed, employees
or seasonal workers
Yes
No
Yes
Self employed and non-
seasonal employees
No
Yes
Yes
Self employed, employees
or seasonal employees
Yes
No. Family members living
abroad are considered only in
case of bilateral agreements
Yes
Full equality, if the family
resides in Italy, otherwise in
case of bilateral agreements,
legal residence in Italy
while subject to the
legislation of at least two
member states and in the
case of refugees.
Yes
No15
Yes
Non-seasonal employees
Yes
No
No
Long-term residents and
according to jurisprudence
also those holding a
residence permit valid for 1
or 2 years
SOURCE: EMN Italy, Migrant Access to Social Security and Healthcare in Italy: Policies and Practice, IDOS, Rome, 2014
15 In the case of short stays abroad and under certain conditions, it is possible to maintain the right to unemployment.
30
4. Administrative practices that affect third-country nationals’ access to social
security
4.1. Discretional cases
In the different Member States discretionary conditions may be applied to the administrative
procedures that determine the eligibility and access of third-country nationals to social security
benefits. In Italy, social security rights are determined by law; for this reason, the administration has
no discretionary powers on the matter. In order to avoid abuses, both Italian and third-country
citizens may be required to provide additional supporting documentation (such as the certificate of
existence, the certificate of residence and the income certificate to obtain certain benefits).
4.2. Factors that are taken into account
As mentioned before, the administration has no discretionary powers and must decide on the basis
of objective conditions relating to the applicant. Decisions are always adopted on the basis of
official documents (registry office or tax administration). The doubtful cases, such as those relating
to temporary movements abroad, have been clarified by several explanatory circulars by INPS, as
well as by the jurisprudence. In extraordinary cases, the competent judge is called to deliberate.
4.3. Circulars or guidelines relative to discretionary cases
Sometimes, dispositions contained in certain circulars are emitted as a result of judgments about
specific aspects related to social security and welfare laws, such as the recent case of an issue
addressed by the Court of Bologna concerning the entitlement to the INPS social security allowance
for third-country national long term residents with a large family (with at least three minor children)
relating to the period before the entry into force of Law no. 97/2013.
In this case, the judgment of the Labour Court of Bologna no. 1093/2013 of the 20th of December
2013 recognized a Moroccan citizen who was a long-term resident the right to receive the INPS
family allowance for large families (with at least three minor children) starting from 2011. This
request was originally rejected by the municipality of residence because the claimant was not a
citizen of Italy or another EU Member State, pursuant to art. 65 of Law no. 448/1998.
In particular, the court found that the changes introduced by Law no. 97/2013 have expressly
extended the benefit to third-country nationals who are long-term residents, as well as to family
members of EU citizens holders of a temporary or permanent residence permit. All the more so,
because the third-country national who is long-term resident is entitled to this benefit as a result of
the direct application of the provisions of the European Directive no. 109/2003 and thanks to the
guarantees established in the field of social welfare and equality of treatment.
INPS has issued two important circulars on the matter16, thanks to this and other previous rulings
(the judgment of the Labour Court of Varese of September 11th, 2013; the judgment of the Labour
Court of Cuneo of September 23rd, 2013; the judgments no. 404-405-506 of the Labour Court of
Verona of October 10th, 2013; the judgment of the Court of Rome of October 21st, 2013; the
judgment of the Labour court of Turin of October 23rd, 201317; the judgment of the Labour Court of
Monza of October 23rd, 2013).
16 http://www.inps.it/bussola/VisualizzaDoc.aspx?sVirtualURL=/Circolari/Circolare%20numero%204%20del%2015-
01-2014.htm&iIDDalPortale=&iIDLink=-1 (INPS Circular no.4/2014);
http://www.inps.it/bussola/VisualizzaDoc.aspx?sVirtualURL=/Circolari/Circolare%20numero%205%20del%2015-01-
2014.htm&iIDDalPortale=&iIDLink=-1 (INPS Circular no. 5/2014).
17 For further information on the subject, see: www.asgi.it/home_asgi.php?n=2934&l=it;
www.asgi.it/home_asgi.php?n=3045&l=it.
31
INPS Circular no. 4/2014 of the 15th of January 2014 extends the right of entitlement to family
allowances for large families (with at least three minor children) to third-country nationals who are
long-term residents. In addition, INPS Circular no. 5/2014 of the 15th of January 2014 identifies the
family members of Italian and EU citizens, as well as of third-country nationals who are long-term
residents, who have the right of entitlement to family allowances for large families (with at least
three minor children) paid by the municipality (art. 65 of Law no. 448/98).
This circular reiterates that family members of Italian and EU citizens, as well as of third-country
nationals holders of a temporary or permanent residence permit, can apply for welfare benefits, if
they meet the additional requirements of the law.
Essentially, according to recent jurisprudence and in the light of European legislation on the matter
and the changes introduced by Law no. 97/2013, INPS has therefore issued circulars addressed to
local branches, notifying them that access to specific welfare benefits has been extended also to
third-country nationals.
4.4. Link between access to social security and other administrative procedures.
In 2013, the period of stay granted to a worker who has lost his/her job in order to find a new job,
was extended to 12 months. This period is further renewed if the worker is entitled to benefits that
support income of longer duration (such as the mobility allowance, for example), or to a pension or
an allowance that exceeds a minimum income foreseen by current legislation.
4.5. Means of support
Italian social security institutions have taken steps to translate the main points of the Regulations
governing the entitlement to social assistance benefits. In addition, the same institutions make use
of linguistic and cultural mediators to facilitate access to their offices and are constantly funding
projects to support social organizations that carry out awareness-raising initiatives on this matter.
However, the main difference between Italy and the other countries is the creation, in the postwar
period, of patronage and social assistance institutes. These institutes, which are funded with a share
of social security contributions paid by the workers, provide free assistance to workers and their
family members for the management of the administrative paperwork necessary to obtain social
security benefits during both the administrative and the judicial phase. They consist of a network of
thousands of operators and hundreds of offices, managed by trade unions and other workers‟
associations, which has helped to spread the knowledge of social security rights and facilitated the
attainment of benefits.
32
5. External dimension of social security
Social security coordination with third countries is dealt with by means of bilateral social security
agreements made between Member States and third countries. While each Member State is free to
conclude their own bilateral agreements, the Commission has recently issued a Communication on
"The External Dimension of EU Social Security Coordination" (COM(2012)153 of 30.3.2012),
encouraging greater cooperation between Member States in the field of social security coordination
with third countries. There is also an EU approach to social security coordination contained in
provisions of agreements made between the EU, its Member States and certain third countries. In
this section, information on the external dimension of Italian social security policy will be
presented.
5.1. Bilateral agreements on social security
In order to protect the circulation of its workers abroad, Italy which, until the „70s was a country
of emigration has signed several bilateral agreements on social security, under which the party
States commit themselves to implement, within their respective territories, a social security system
that protects all migrant citizens from the other contracting country on a non discriminatory basis.
In order to be effectively implemented, these agreements must be ratified by a law of the Italian
Parliament, unlike what happens in the case of EU Regulations on social security which once
approved are directly applicable by the Member States, due to the primacy of Community Law.
Bilateral agreements, therefore, aim to ensure equal treatment of workers and retirees who move
from one country to another, as well as to coordinate the laws of the contracting States and to
equate the national territories so that migration in itself will not lead to the loss of pension rights, or
prevent their accrual.
The main principles of the bilateral conventions are as follows:
- Equality of treatment of citizens of the contracting countries;
- Compulsory insurance based on the territory (application of the law of the State in which the
work is carried out);
- Aggregation of insurance periods (i.e., the accumulation of contributions paid in the two
countries), avoiding the overlapping of two contributory insurances for the same period.
- a minimum contribution/contributory is required in order to be eligible for the Agreements;
- exportability of benefits accrued in the State of residence;
- possibility of being permitted to contribute voluntarily, even after previous aggregation of
the insurance periods accrued in the two countries.
In the past, the main objective of Bilateral Agreements signed by Italy was to protect Italian
emigrants in those countries where Italian presence was particularly strong (in Europe, America and
Australia). The first bilateral Agreement was in fact the one signed between Italy and France on
April 15th 1904, which introduced the equality of treatment for accidents at work, inspired by the
numerous trade agreements already signed by Italy. The agreement between Italy and Germany of
July 31st 1912, in addition to dealing with issues related to protection against work accidents, also
provided for the preservation of pension rights and the possibility, in case of repatriation, of a
partial reimbursement of the contributions. The evolution of the national legislation on social
insurance and the efforts of the International Labour Organization (ILO) ensured a better social
security coverage. In fact, the agreements signed by Italy with the Serbian-Croatian-Slovenian
Kingdom (July 20th 1925) and France (August 13th 1932) had positive effects. After World War II,
when the migratory phenomenon resumed, Italy signed new agreements which contained more
provisions, especially regarding eligibility and exportability of social security benefits. Finally,
33
pursuant to art. 51 of the Treaty of Rome of 1957 establishing the European Economic Community,
on January 1st 1959 the Regulations on social security arrangements applicable to migrant workers
from member States of the Community entered into force. Over the course of the years these
Regulations were partially emended, and in 2003 they included third-country workers in their
provisions. During the 80‟s, when Italy changed from a country of emigration into a country of
immigration, new agreements were signed with the main countries of origin of the migration flows
(like Cape Verde and Tunisia), while with other countries negotiations remained at the level of
preliminary agreements, or at the most were signed but never ratified (like in the case of Morocco).
The economic burden of these agreements, in fact, dissuaded Italy to sign other agreements and not
to ratify some already signed.
Italian lawmakers have adopted different strategies regarding the guarantee of the rights to social
security benefits for third-country national workers. Initially, the immigrant had the opportunity to
transfer the contributions to his country in case of return, even if he/she didn‟t obtain pension rights
yet (Law no. 335/1995 and the Legislative Decree on Immigration no. 286/1998). In total, 6,734
applications have been accepted, 1,490 have been refused and 340 have not been determined18.
Subsequently, in the case of return to the country of origin without having obtained pension rights,
Law no. 189/2002 removed the possibility to transfer contributions, while it allowed both men and
women to obtain a pension at 65 years of age, even on the basis of a career which did not provide
for the minimum contribution necessary to accrue the right to a pension (obviously, with a benefit
commensurate to the amount of contributions paid).
With the entry into force of the so called “Fornero reform” (Law no. 213 of December 22nd 2011),
the retirement age was raised to 66 years with a minimum of 20 years of contribution. However, as
previously mentioned, third-country workers insured after 1996 who returned to their country of
origin before having accrued the new minimum [mandatory] contribution now have the possibility
of obtaining a pro-rata calculated benefit at the age of 66 (however, no benefit would be granted to
survivors in case of death of the insured worker before the age of 66)19.
Therefore, those immigrant workers who wish to return to their country of origin before having
accrued pension rights according to Italian law will be able to obtain the aggregation of social
security contributions paid in Italy with those paid in their country only if an existing agreement
allows it. If no such agreement is in force, any worker who decides to return to his/her country of
origin will maintain those social security rights already accrued, but will only be able to enjoy them
after reaching the retirement age and having satisfied the minimum years of contribution according
to the current Italian law. If all these requisites are not satisfied, foreign citizens aged 66 or over
regardless of their gender may apply for the quota of the pension (pro-rata) which corresponds to
their reduced contributions. After the entry into force of Law no. 189/2002, foreign workers who
return to their countries of origin and therefore cease their employment in Italy, are not longer able
to obtain the reimbursement of their contributions paid in Italy.
It so happens that, currently, a certain number of people might be forced to return to their countries
of origin without being able to receive (for themselves or their dependents) a benefit for the
contributions paid over the years. Not everyone is aware of the possibility of applying for a pro-rata
when they turn 66 while living abroad, and, even those who do know about this possibility, may not
know how to apply for it.
So far, Italy has signed and ratified bilateral agreements on social security with the following States:
- Argentina (since January 1st, 1984)
- Australia (since October 1st, 2000)
- Brazil (since August 5th, 1977)
18 M. Signorini, P. Bonifazi, “Liquidazione dei contributi INPS ai cittadini extracomunitari rimpatriati”, in INPS-IDOS,
Regolarità, normalità, tutela. II Rapporto su immigrati e previdenza negli archivi Inps, Rome, 2010, pp. 183-190.
19 G. Aronica, F. Candida, A. Fucilitti, “I diritti previdenziali dei lavoratori non comunitari in caso di rimpatrio”,
Caritas-Migrantes, Dossier Statistico Immigrazione 2012, Edizioni IDOS, Rome, 2012, pp. 288-289.
34
- Canada (since January 1st, 1979)
- Cape Verde (since November 1st, 1983)
- Israel (since February 6th , 2014)
- Jersey (since May 1st, 1958)
- Principality of Monaco (since October 1st, 1985)
- Republics of the former Yugoslavia: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia-FYROM, Serbia,
Montenegro, Kosovo (since January 1st, 1961)
- Republic of San Marino (since January 1st, 1961)
- United States (since January 1st, 1961; additional agreement of January 1st, 1986)
- Tunisia (since June 1st, 1987)
- Uruguay (since June 1st, 1985)
- Vatican Holy See (since January 1st, 2004)
- Venezuela (since November 1st, 1991).
These bilateral agreements usually protect only citizens of the Contracting States. However, in the
case of Argentina, Canada, San Marino, United States, Uruguay and Venezuela, the agreements
stipulate that one does not need to be a citizen of one of the Contracting States, but it is sufficient to
have been subject to the social security administrations in both countries.
With the exception of the agreement signed between Italy and Argentina, public workers insured
with specific social security bodies are not included in bilateral agreements (EC Regulations, on the
contrary, also include these employees).
These agreements also protect retirees, family members and survivors of workers (and retirees),
irrespective of nationality, but only as regards their rights coming from the insured worker or
pensioner, as for example in the case of survivors‟ pensions.
Benefits paid on the basis of the bilateral agreements are explicitly mentioned in each agreement,
and are related to the following areas of insurance:
- Old-age, survivors, invalidity;
- Accidents at work and occupational diseases;
- Family allowances;
- Sickness and maternity;
- Unemployment.
The aggregation of insurance periods (especially for pensions but also for other benefits) allows to
add various periods of contribution paid in the contracting States to reach the minimum
requirements established by national laws. It is actually a fictitious amount because it does not
imply any mutual relationship between the insurance of one State and that of the other. The amount
of the pension is determined by each country according to its own system of calculation and in
proportion to the insurance periods completed under the national legislation (the pro-rata system).
For the aggregation, all kinds of contributions are valid: mandatory (employment or self-
employment), imputed (military service, sickness, maternity, ordinary redundancy fund,
unemployment, tuberculosis, mobility), voluntary, and others (redemption of the period of
university education, omitted contributions and contributions for an activity carried out in foreign
countries with no agreement in force).
Some bilateral agreements allow the aggregation of contributions with third countries provided that
they are bound, in turn, to social security agreements both with Italy and the other contracting State.
This is the case of the so called multiple aggregation, which is provided for in the agreements
signed with Argentina, Cape Verde, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Uruguay and
Tunisia. Only the agreement with Argentina allows the aggregation of contributions with any other
State, as long as it has an agreement with one of the interested parties (either Argentina or Italy) and
as long as the applicant is an Italian or an Argentinean citizen.
35
The following institutions have the responsibility to implement the measures provided for by the
bilateral agreements:
- INPS (Italian Social Security Institute) for pensions, family allowances, sickness and
maternity of employed or self-employed workers, as well as workers insured with special
funds managed by INPS for the pensions of company executives;
- Ministry of Health and Regions, for sickness and maternity assistance;
- INAIL (National Insurance Institute for Accidents at Work) for insurances against accidents
at work and occupational diseases;
- other insurance institutions for certain professional categories (for example, journalists,
lawyers and other freelance professionals).
5.2 Characteristics of the agreements:
i) Options allowing workers from third-countries to work in Italy while remaining subject to
the social security legislation of the sending state. On the basis of the territoriality principle for
the compulsory insurance, the workers are subject to the social security legislation of the State
where they are working, even if their residence is in another State. This avoids the duplication of
insurance periods.
There are exceptions for certain categories of workers: traveling personnel, frontier workers and
posted workers (i.e. workers employed in one State but sent by their employers, on a temporary
basis, to carry out their work in another State with which an agreement is in place). Specific
measures are provided for the following categories:
- seafarers: seafarers working abroad on board of a vessel flying the flag of a contracting State
are insured in that state, even if they live in another state;
- international transport workers: employees of companies that carry out international
transport services by road, rail, air or inland waterway are insured in the contracting State
where the company is registered (with the exception of employees of branches or agencies
of companies located in the other contracting States, or those who work primarily in their
country of residence);
- public employees: public employees are insured in the country of the administration where
they had been hired.
- people who are serving in the armed forces (or the alternative civil service): subject to the
legislation of the country where the armed forces are located.
- staff of Diplomatic missions or Consular offices: usually insured in the country where they
had been hired (i.e., the country in charge of the diplomatic mission itself); if they are
nationals of the contracting State, either of destination or origin, they may opt for the
insurance coverage offered by that state.
ii) Guarantee of equal treatment in the system of the host state in respect of particular
benefits. The bilateral agreements ensure equality of treatment but only for the insurance sectors
that fall under their provisions. There restrictions regard non-contributory social assistance benefits
(which are recognized to foreign citizens under certain conditions and only during their stay in
Italy), health-care benefits (recognized in Italy but not exportable, unless specifically provided for
by the bilateral agreements) and the recognition of children living abroad for the evaluation of
family payments.
iii) Exportability of social security benefits. Third-country workers (either employed or self-
employed) are entitled to the same pension benefits as Italian employees and, once their pension
right is acquired, they may demand payment upon return to their country of origin or any other
State. Non-contributory benefits, however, are not exportable. As regards pensions paid abroad, in
36
order to avoid double taxation, several agreements provide for the imposition of the tax only in the
country of residence.
iv) Further provisions for a better coordination of social security systems. To facilitate the
management of pensions for residents abroad, pursuant to EC Regulations and bilateral agreements,
INPS has selected a number of branch offices considered particularly suited for a direct connection
with the institutions of the contracting states. Therefore, since October 1st, 2003, foreign institutions
need to submit the applications for invalidity, old-age and survivors‟ pensions to the competent
branch offices (see table 5.1) .
5.3. Extent of usage of social security agreements
There is no specific archive that gathers the applications for social security benefits related to
bilateral agreements signed by Italy and third-countries. Data on third-country nationals who have
obtained a pension is available, but there is no distinction between pensions obtained by
aggregating pension contributions in both the contracting countries, or only by means of
contributions paid in Italy.
5.4. Payment of social security benefits to Italian citizens living in States with which not
bilateral agreement has been reached.
We must make a distinction between pensions (which are about 400,000, including those paid in
both countries with and without an agreement with Italy on social security) and other social security
benefits.
The payment abroad of contributory pensions is allowed20
Contributory pensions (i.e., based on contributions paid by the worker) are paid even in countries
that have not signed with Italy a bilateral agreement on social security. At the time of moving to a
foreign country, applicants who want to receive their pension directly in that foreign country (since
the pension could also be paid in Italy), must submit their application online.
The retiree can choose to have his pension paid by means of a transfer directly to his/her bank
account (either in euro or local currency), or to collect it in cash at a local bank which receives the
transfer on behalf of the retiree. If local conditions do not permit any of the above mentioned
payment methods, INPS may authorize the bank to prepare and send a non-negotiable cashier‟s
check or other guaranteed payment methods. The pension can also be collected by a person
delegated by the retiree. Starting from February 1st 2012, the payment of INPS pensions abroad is
carried out by Citibank, to which the retiree must periodically send a life certificate.
Payment is normally in Euro, unless there are different provisions in the foreign country concerned.
The frequency of payment is the same that applies to pensions paid in Italy: monthly, if the amount
is more than 60 euro; biannual, if the amount is higher than 5 and less than 60 euro; yearly, if less
than 5 euro.
The tax treatment of pensions is regulated by several agreements signed by Italy in order to avoid
double taxation: the person concerned must apply for an exemption from Italian taxation, so that
his/her pension will be taxed in the foreign country (to a much lesser extent).
Italy‟s 2007 Budget Law extended to retirees residing abroad the right to obtain family tax
deductions (if their income does not exceed a certain level and if they are not benefiting from the
same kind of deductions abroad), by submitting original documentation produced by the Italian
consulate, with apostille.
20 S. Ponticelli, “Il pagamento delle prestazioni ai residenti all‟estero”, in Fondazione Migrantes, Rapporto Italiani nel
Mondo 2012, Edizioni IDOS, Roma, 2012, pp. 267-275
37
The payment abroad of non-contributory pensions is not allowed
The social allowance (which replaced what was once called social pension and is based on age
and income rather than contributions paid the worker) and other welfare benefits (such as, for
example, allowances and pensions in favor of the blind, deaf and disabled people) cannot be
exported, and whoever leaves Italy (except for brief periods that do not interrupt the residence)
loses the right to receive them.
Temporary social security benefits
Being temporary benefits based on circumstances which took place in Italy and subject to certain
controls, these benefits cannot be exported. However, there are differences depending whether or
not the country to which the worker moves has signed an agreement on social security with Italy
which provides for the same treatment in the different territories (for sickness and unemployment
benefits).
38
Table 5.1 ITALY. Summary Table: bilateral agreements concerning social security (2013)
Country
Entitled
beneficiaries
Old-age pension
requisites
Benefits provided
Italian pension
Multiple
Totalization
Competent
INPS
office
Argentina
(January 1st 1984)
All workers who,
regardless of
their nationality,
are or have been
subject to the
legislation of one
or both
contracting
States, including
their family
members and
survivors.
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions.
In Argentina: 65
years for men and
60 years for
women with 30
years of
contributions
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Family allowances
Special insurance schemes
(National institute for the
social security of
professional sports players
and entertainment workers
(Enpals), ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Argentina:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Health-care and assistance
(social services)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Family allowances
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weekly
contributions.
However, the
contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioners
(integrazione al
trattamento
minimo) varies
depending on the
residence: if
residing in Italy,
to receive an
Italian pension; if
residing in
Argentina, 10
years of
contributions paid
in Italy.
Aggregation of
contributions is
provided for those
Countries that
have a social
security agreement
with Italy, Chile
and Peru.
The Italo-
Argentinian
convention
provides for the
aggregation
contributions also
to be extended to
third Countries
that have signed
social security
agreements with
only Italy or only
with Argentina.
Venice
Australia
(October 1st 2000)
All workers who,
regardless of
their nationality,
can prove to have
been residence in
Australia during
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions.
In Italy:
for invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
for unemployment
for family members of the
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weekly
contributions.
For the old-age
No
Ancona
39
certain time
periods between
ages 16 and 65 as
well as periods of
contributions
paid in Italy, and
also their family
members and
survivors.
In Australia: 65
years of age (for
women, there is a
gradual increase of
the retirement age,
from 60 to 65
years, starting
from July 1995)
and 10 years of
residence after the
16th year of age (of
which at least 5
should be
consecutive).
pensioner
for pecial insurance
schemes (Enpals, ex Inpdai
and Inpgi)
In Australia:
Old-age and invalidity
Orphans of both parents
Additional and
supplementary benefits for
dependent minors
Personal assistance to the
incapacitated spouse
Death
Increase for dependent
children
pension a
minimum of 780
contributions are
required in Italy.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in
Australia, 10
years of
contributions paid
in Italy.
Brazil
(August 5th 1977)
All Italian and
Brazilian workers
and their family
members and
survivors
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Brazil: 65 years
for men and 60
years for
women with 60
months of
contributions
(without
interruptions,
which resulted in
the loss of
insurance status)
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Brazil:
Old-age, invalidity and
death
Medical care and for
temporary or permanent
incapacity to work
Accidents at work and
The minimum
insurance period
required is 1
week.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in Brazil,
10 years of
contributions paid
in Italy.
No
Forlì
40
occupational diseases
Canada
(January 1st 1979)
All workers who,
regardless of
their nationality,
are or have been
subject to the
legislation of one
or both
contracting
States, and their
family members
and survivors.
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Canada: 65
years for men and
women.
For residents in
Canada, both the
Canadian
citizenship and a
residency of at
least 10 years in
the Country, after
turning 18, are
mandatory; for
non Canadian
Residents, both the
Canadian
citizenship and a
residency of at
least 20 years in
the Country, after
turning 18, are
mandatory.
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Tuberculosis
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Canada:
Benefits of the Quebec
pension system
Benefits of the Old-Age
Security Act
In Quebec:
Benefits of the Quebec
pension system
The minimum
insurance period
required is 53
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, 10 years of
contributions paid
in Italy (subject to
the application of
the more
favorable law in
the case of
receiving an
Italian pension);
if residing in
Canada: 10 years
of contributions
paid in Italy.
No
L‟Aquila
(for Canada)
Campobasso
(for Quebec)
Cape Verde
(November 1st
1983)
All citizens of the
one of the two
contracting
States, who are or
have been subject
to the legislation
of one or both
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Cape Verde: 65
In Italy:
Invalidity, old-age,
survivors (for employees
and self-employed
workers)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
Yes, with France,
Luxembourg, The
Netherlands,
Portugal and
Sweden
Perugia
41
States, and their
family members
and survivors
years for men and
60 years for
women with 3
years of
contributions
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Family allowances
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Cape Verde:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness
Family allowances
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in Cape
Verde, 10 years
of contributions
paid in Italy
Croatia
(November 1st
2003) ***
Croatia became part
of the EU on the 1st
of July 2013:
therefore
regulations (EC) no.
883/2004 and no.
987/2009 have now
substituted this
bilateral agreement
All citizens of the
two contracting
States who are or
have been subject
to the legislation
of one or both
States, and their
family members
and survivors
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Croatia: 65
years for men, and
60 years for
women, with 15
years of
contributions
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness, maternity and
tuberculosis
Non-voluntary
unemployment
Family allowances
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Croatia:
Invalidity, old-age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Health insurance and
medical care
Family allowances
Unemployment
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in
Croatia, the
Italian income
support is not
exportable.
Yes, with Austria,
Belgium, Bosnia-
Herzegovina,
Canada and
Quebec, Denmark,
France, Germany,
Luxembourg,
Macedonia,
Norway, The
Netherlands,
United Kingdom
and North Ireland,
Sweden, Slovenia,
Switzerland,
Federal Republic
of Yugoslavia
Trieste
Israel
All Italian and
In Italy: 66 years
In Italy:
No
42
(February 6th 2014)
Israeli citizens,
refugees and
stateless persons
insured in both
states (for Italy,
also other EU
citizens).
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
Invalidity pension
Old age and survivors
pension
In Israel:
Invalidity pension
Old age and survivors
pension
Jersey
(May 1st 1958)
All citizens
insured in both
States.
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Jersey: 65 years
for men and 60
years for women
with contributions
equal to a
predetermined
amount.
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Special insurance schemes
for specific categories of
workers (public service
staff in the following
sectors: transportation,
communications and tax
service companies,
seafarers).
In Jersey:
Unemployment
sickness
for widows and orphans
old-age, death and
childbirth
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
The minimum
insurance period
required for the
aggregation of
contributions is 1
week. The
contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, 10 years of
contributions paid
in Italy; if
residing in Jersey,
10 years of
contributions paid
in Italy.
No
Perugia
Principality of
Monaco
(October 1st 1985)
All Italian and
Monacan citizens
subject to the
legislation of the
two contracting
States and their
family members
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In the Principality
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
The minimum
insurance period
required is 53
weeks of
contributions.
The contribution
required for the
No
Imperia
43
and survivors.
Stateless persons
and refugees.
of Monaco: 65
years for men and
women with 10
years of
contributions (of
which at least 60
months of
continuous work)
Family allowances
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In the Principality of Monaco:
Special insurance schemes
of social services
Old-age (employees) not
including the “uniform age
pension”
per maternità, malattia,
invalidità e morte
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Family allowances
Unemployment
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in the
Principality of
Monaco, 10 years
of contributions
paid in Italy
Former Yugoslav
Republics: Bosnia-
Herzegovina,
Macedonia,
Serbia,
Montenegro and
Kosovo
(January 1st 1961)
All citizens
insured in the
contracting States
and their family
members and
survivors
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In the former
Yugoslav
Republics: 60
years for men and
55 years for
women with 20
years of
contributions
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Family allowances
Unemployment
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In the former Yugoslav Republics:
Social insurances
Family allowances
Temporary Unemployment
(laborers and employees)
The minimum
insurance period
required is 1
week.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in the
former Yugoslav
Republics, 10
years of
contributions paid
in Italy
No
Trieste
Republic of San
All citizens
In Italy: 66 years
In Italy:
The minimum
Yes
Rimini
44
Marino
(January 1st 1961)
insured in the two
contracting States
and their family
members and
survivors
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In the Republic of
San Marino: 60
years for men and
women with 15
years of
contributions
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Unemployment
Family allowances
Death allowance
In the Republic of San Marino:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Unemployment
Family allowances
Death allowance
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in the
Republic of San
Marino, 10 years
of contributions
paid in Italy)
United States
(January 1st 1961;
additional
agreement of
January 1st 1986)
All workers who
have been
insured in one or
both the
contracting States
and their family
members and
survivors
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In the United
States: 65 years for
men and women
with 1 trimester of
contributions for
every year from 21
to 62 years of age
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In the United States:
Old-age, invalidity and
survivors
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in the
United States, 10
years of
contributions paid
in Italy
No
Palermo
45
Tunisia
(June 1st, 1987)
All citizens of the
two contracting
States, who are or
have been subject
to the legislation
of one or both
States, and their
family members
and survivors
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contribution
In Tunisia: 60
years for men and
women with 10
years of
contributions after
the 1st of April
1961
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Family allowances
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Tunisia:
Old-age, invalidity and
survivors (non-farm
workers)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Family allowances
For farm-workers and
fishermen
Self-employed
professionals
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
pension; if
residing in
Tunisia, 10 years
of contributions
paid in Italy
Yes, with Austria,
Belgium, France,
Germany,
Luxembourg,Spain
and The
Netherlands
Palermo
Uruguay
(June 1st, 1985)
All workers
subject to the
legislation of one
or both the two
contracting States
and their family
members and
survivors
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Uruguay: 60
years for men and
women with 35
years of
contributions (15
years of
contributions with
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity
Tuberculosis
Non-voluntary
Unemployment
Family allowances
In Uruguay:
Old-age, invalidity and
The minimum
insurance period
required is 1
week.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, to receive
an Italian
Yes, with
Argentina, Brazil
and Spain
Potenza
46
70 years of age)
death
Sickness, maternity and
common accidents
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Unemployment
Family allowances
pension; if
residing in
Uruguay, 10 years
of contributions
paid in Italy.
Vatican City
(January 1st, 2004)
All citizens of the
two contracting
States who,
regardless of
their nationality,
are or have been
subject to the
legislation of one
or both States,
and their family
members and
survivors.
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Vatican City: 60
years for men and
women with 20
years of
contributions
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors (employees and
self-employed)
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Family allowances
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
In Vatican:
Old age, invalidity and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Family allowances
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
Italy, 10 years of
contributions paid
in Italy; if
residing in the
Vatican City, 10
years of
contributions paid
in Italy
Yes, only with EU
Member States
Rome
Flaminio
Venezuela
(November 1st,
1991)
All citizens of the
two contracting
States who,
regardless of
their nationality,
are or have been
subject to the
legislation of one
or both States,
and their family
members and
In Italy: 66 years
for men and
basically 65 years
for women, with
20 years of
contributions
In Venezuela: 60
years for men and
55 years for
women with 750
weeks of
In Italy:
Invalidity, old age and
survivors
Accidents at work and
occupational diseases
Sickness and maternity,
limited to economic
performance
Special insurance schemes
(Enpals, ex Inpdai and
Inpgi)
The minimum
insurance period
required is 52
weeks.
The contribution
required for the
income support
for pensioner
varies depending
on the residence:
if residing in
No
Bari
47
survivors.
contributions
In Venezuela:
Temporary invalidity
partial or total invalidity
old-age and survivors
Death allowance
Italy, 10 years of
contributions paid
in Italy; if
residing in
Venezuela, 10
years of
contributions paid
in Italy
NB: Based on the new Law no. 214/2011, repatriated foreign workers who fall within the contributory system (first employment in Italy after January 1st, 1996)
are entitled to a retirement pension at the age of 66, modified for life expectancy trends. The exception to the minimum contribution requirement does not apply
to foreign workers who are entitled to the old age pension with the retributive or mixed system (i.e.: if their first work in Italy started before January 1st 1996): the
pension shall be granted only in case of at least 20 years of contribution and an age of 66, both for men and women (www.inps.it).
SOURCE: Martinelli B., Geromin L. (edited by), Le convenzioni internazionali di sicurezza sociale, Inas-Cisl, Rome, 2012 and later updates.
48
ITALY. Map of bilateral social security agreements (2014)
Source: EMN Italy, Migrant Access to Social Security and Healthcare in Italy: Policies and Practice
49
6. Case-studies21
In order to better understand the entitlements and access to social security by third-country nationals
arriving for the first time, the decision making procedure was described for each of the case-studies
below, concentrating on whether the social security claims made by the third-country nationals
concerned in Italy would ultimately be successful.
Case-study 1: Tho and Lien, a married couple holding Vietnamese citizenship, aged 28 and 30,
moved to Italy 10 years ago. They hold long-term residence permits. Tho has worked in a car
manufacturing company for the last 8 years, paying obligatory insurance contributions throughout
this time. Lien has worked as a chef in the restaurant of a large hotel, also paying obligatory
insurance contributions, for the last 2 years. Tho and Lien are expecting the birth of their first child
in 6 weeks‟ time. Last week, the car manufacturing company where Tho works announced that they
were making him redundant. Faced with the loss of Tho‟s income at a time when Lien would need
to take time off work, following the birth of their child, Tho decided to apply for unemployment
benefits while Lien applied for maternity benefits.
Tho and Lien are both entitled to the requested benefits
*Tho: The right to unemployment benefits (ASPI) is granted after two years go by from the first
contribution payment to unemployment insurance (the reference period is calculated backwards,
starting from the first day on which the worker becomes unemployed). At least one year of
contribution payment to unemployment insurance is needed, in the two years preceding the
beginning of the period of unemployment. The application must be submitted within the period of
two months starting from the date of the compensation period (which is generally on the eighth day
following the end date of last employment).
*Lien: Maternity leave is a period of compulsory leave from work granted to the worker during the
period of pregnancy and childbirth. During the mandatory absence period from work, the employee
receives an economic compensation in lieu of salary. The leave is granted to female employees
insured with INPS (National Institute of Social Security) who have an ongoing employment
relationship at the starting date of such leave. It involves a period of compulsory maternity leave,
which includes:
- before giving birth:
• 2 months prior to the expected date of delivery (with a certain degree of flexibility) and the day of
birth.
• periods of early mandatory maternity leave ordered by the local health authority (for high-risk
pregnancies) or the Territorial Directorate of Labour (for work duties or activities which cannot be
performed due to pregnancy)
- after childbirth:
• 3 months after childbirth (with a certain degree of flexibility) plus, if the birth occurred after the
due date, the days between the due date and the actual date. In the case of delivery before the due
date (early or premature birth), 3 months after giving birth plus the days between the actual date and
the due date.
• extended periods of mandatory maternity leave ordered by the Territorial Directorate of Labour
(For activities/duties physically impossible or irreconcilable with the postnatal period)
21 This chapter was entrusted to Maria Marta Farfan and Luca Geromin (INAS-CISL).
50
As a rule, the compensation is paid in advance by the employer in the regular paycheck and then the
employer is reimbursed by INPS. The request for maternity leave must be submitted electronically
either through the INPS website, the Integrated Contact Center or the Trade Unions. The
application must be submitted electronically before the beginning of the maternity leave, and in any
case no later than one year from the end of the compensation period, in order to enjoy the right to
benefits guaranteed by law.
The workers are required to provide the date of birth of the child as well as their own personal
information within 30 days of birth, via one of the modes listed above.
Case study 2: Jasmine is a single parent, aged 29, holding Filipino citizenship, who moved to Italy 2
and a half years ago. She has a 2-year old child (also holding Filipino citizenship) that lives with her
and another child aged five that lives in the Philippines with Jasmine‟s mother. She holds a
temporary/salaried worker residence permit that has been renewed once. Jasmine has worked as a
nurse in a residential day-care unit in Italy for 2 and a half years. She sends a small amount of
money every month to the Philippines to help support her daughter. Last month, Jasmine‟s
employer announced significant cuts in staff salaries in response to budget reductions. Faced with a
significantly reduced income, Jasmine has moved into a hostel as she can no longer afford to rent
private accommodation. She has also been forced to halve the amount of money she sends to her
family in the Philippines ever month. She has decided to apply for family benefits and guaranteed
minimum resources.
Jasmine is only entitled to the family benefits and only for one child.
Jasmine: is entitled to the family benefits, concretely the check for the family unit, - under certain
conditions - only for the child who lives with her in Italy, while she cannot receive the check for the
child living abroad, as there is no bilateral agreement on social security between Italy and the
Philippines. The purpose of the family check is to offer support to the families of salaried
employees (and other employees who have the mandatory Italian general insurance) with a total
income below the annual income limits set by law. The right to receive the check shall begin on the
first day of the pay period or on the day of payment of social security benefits
(this must naturally be the payment for which a complementary provision of the family check is
foreseen) if the necessary conditions of entitlement exist (e.g.: marriage, birth of children). The
check ceases to be paid on the date on which those conditions no longer exist (e.g.: the child reaches
legal adulthood). The allowance is paid by the employer on behalf of INPS, to the employees, at the
time of payment of wages.
In Italy existing legislation does not prove for guaranteed minimum income. At the regional or
municipal levels, there are cases in which rent aid can be requested.
Case study 3: Senghor is a high-skilled worker from Senegal. He arrived in Italy six years ago with
a temporary residence permit arranged through the IT company that employed him. Senghor is
single and does not have children, but has recently succeeded in bringing his elderly mother to the
country on the basis of family reunification. Aged 80, his mother is entirely dependent on Senghor‟s
income. Last week, Senghor suffered an accident at work that left him incapable of carrying out the
work for which he was employed for a period of 3 years. He decided to apply for invalidity benefits,
sickness benefits and family benefits.
51
Senghor is entitled to various social security benefits, as opposed to his mother.
Senghor: if he meets the requirements for the recognition of the accident at work (violent cause,
during work, suddenness, etc.), Senghor is entitled to a total temporary indemnity for the entire
period he is unable to work until his recovery. The benefits are anticipated by the employer or
directly compensated by Inail, depending on the type of work. The period of absence - in general -
is not counted toward the "grace period” (the period after which the employer no longer guarantees
the post). If permanent disability is caused by the accident at work, this could be compensated by
Inail depending to its seriousness. If the permanent disability is ascertained to be less than 6%, the
workers are not entitled to any benefits; from 6% to 16% the workers are entitled to “lump-sum”
compensation, based on their sex, qualification and age of at the time of the accident. If the
permanent disability is over 16%, the workers are entitled to a direct annuity consisting of two parts
(one regarding the biological damage and the other one for the economic consequences of the
impairment). This annuity may be revised, over the course of time, in case of aggravation or
improvement of the worker‟s conditions. This revision is either ordered by Inail (“active revision”)
or requested by the worker (“passive revision”) within certain deadlines. After the accident, the
insured worker is also entitled to health and rehabilitation benefits.
On the contrary, Senghor‟s mother does not qualify for family benefits or the social pension. With
regard to access to health care, she must voluntarily enroll in the National Health Service (SSN) by
paying the fee, otherwise she will have to take out private insurance.
52
7. Statistics on social security payments related to migration
7.1 Statistics on third-country nationals employed, unemployed and inactive by national
group
a) Labour Force Survey data: employment, unemployment and inactivity
Social security benefits largely depend on the contributions paid during the employee‟s working
life; for this reason, it is appropriate to analyze the relevant data on the inclusion of immigrants in
the labor market in 2012, as recorded by the Labour Force Survey.
Due to the economic crisis, the employment rate of third-country workers has decreased to 58.5% -
a higher rate compared to Italian workers (56.4%) but lower than EU workers (65.3%) who usually
enjoy greater protection in times of crisis. In 2008, the employment rate was 2 points higher for
Italian and third-country workers and 4 points higher for EU workers.
In contrast, the unemployment rate has increased (10% for Italians, 12.6% for EU workers and
21.3% for third-country workers, a rate that is more than twice that of Italian workers).
The inactivity rate affects four out of ten Italian people of working age (43%), and more than three
out of ten for EU workers (31.0%) and of third-country workers (36.0%). In all three cases, the
highest unemployment rates are found among women.
Immigrants under the age of 14 are 826,579 and account for 10.1% of all residents of this age group
(8,513,222) of whom 7,650,643 are Italians. Third-country nationals immigrants alone account for
7.9%.
In contrast, immigrants over the age of 65 are only 106,850 (of whom 75,379 are third-country
nationals) and account for 0.9% of all residents of this age group (12,300,934) of whom 12,194,084
are Italians.
Employment rate
EU. Employment rate (2008-2012)
2012
2008
Nationals
64.5 %
(69.8% M 52.2% F)
65.9%
EU citizens
67.7 %
(74.5% M 61.3% F)
69.7%
Third-country nationals
53.7 %
(63.0% M 41.7% F)
59.2%
SOURCE: EMN Italy. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Employment rate (2008-2012)
2012
2008
Nationals
56.4%
(66.0% M 46.7% F)
58.1%
EU citizens
65.3%
(73.8% M 59.4% F)
69.5%
Third-country nationals
58.5%
(70.7% M 46.4% F)
66.2%
SOURCE: EMN Italy. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Difference in employment rates in percentage points (2012)
Nationals vs. EU citizens
- 8,9 %
Nationals vs. third country nationals
- 2,1%
EU citizens vs. third country nationals
+ 6,8%
SOURCE: EMN Italy. Elaborations on Eurostat data
53
Unemployment rate
EU Unemployment rate (2008-2012)
2012
2008
Nationals
10.0%
(10.0% M 10.0% F)
6.7%
EU citizens
12.6%
(12.0% M 13.3% F)
8.5%
Third-country nationals
21.3%
(21.1% M 21.6% F)
15.3%
SOURCE: EMN Italy. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Unemployment rate (2008-2012)
2012
2008
Nationals
10.5%
(9.7% M 11.5% F)
6.7%
EU citizens
13.3%
(12.3% M 14.2% F)
7.6%
Third-country nationals
14.5%
(12.9% M 16.8% F)
8.8%
SOURCE: EMN Italy. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Differences in unemployment rates in percentage points (2012)
Nationals vs. EU citizens
- 2.8%
Nationals vs. third country nationals
- 4.0%
EU citizens vs. third country nationals
- 1.2%
Inactivity rate
EU Inactivity rate 15-64 years (2008-2012)
2012
2008
Nationals
43%
(36% M 50% F)
43%
EU citizens
31%
(25% M 36% F)
39%
Third-country nationals
36%
(25% M 47% F)
46%
SOURCE: EMN ITALY. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Inactivity rate 15-64 years (2008-2012)
2012
2008
Nationals
31.7%
(26.9% M 47.3% F)
37.7%
EU citizens
24.6%
(15.8% M 30.8% F)
24.8%
Third-country nationals
31.6%
(18.8% M 44.3% F)
27.4%
SOURCE: EMN ITALY. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Differences in inactivity rates 15-64 years in percentage points (2012)
Nationals vs. EU citizens
+ 7.1%
Nationals vs. third country nationals
+ 0.1%
EU citizens vs. third country nationals
- 7.0%
SOURCE: EMN ITALY. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Age class between 0-14. Percentage of total population (2012)
Total
Percentage of total pop.
Nationals
7,650,643
13.0%
EU citizens
185,862
0.31%
Third-country nationals
676, 717
1.12%
Total 0-14 years
8,513,222
100.0%
SOURCE: EMN ITALY. Elaborations on Eurostat data
ITALY. Age class over 65 years. Percentage of total population (2012)
Total
Percentage of total pop.
Nationals
12,194,084
20.0%
EU citizens
31,474
0.05%
Third-country nationals
75,379
0.12%
Total over 65 years
12,300,937
100.0%
SOURCE: EMN ITALY. Elaborations on Eurostat data
54
b) Overall vision of third-country workers employed in Italy through the INPS database
Number of insured workers and their genre. In 2012 (provisional data, subject to change), third-
country employees registered with INPS (who paid at least one contribution as employees during
the year, with the exception of contributions paid by agricultural and domestic workers) were
1,168,928, of which 68.8% were male, equal to 7.9% of the total workforce (14,786,670) registered
with INPS during that year (with the exception of agricultural and domestic workers). Women are
less in all regions, although they are more numerous among the residents, both at the national and
regional level.
Disaggregation by territory. The regions with the highest number of third-country workers are
Lombardy, (345,132), Emilia Romagna (160,044), Veneto (153,514), Tuscany (103,193) and Lazio
(83,485); Molise is the last, with 1,228 third-country workers. Taking into account the total number
of workers (both EU and third-country nationals), this ranking changes: Lazio, for instance, where
EU workers are very numerous, goes up in the ranking. In 2010, third-country national workers
were 1,084,360 (69.4% male), so the ratio between the genders has remained virtually unchanged,
while the employment rate increased by 18.9%.
Age groups. In 2012, among the 14,785,670 workers insured with INPS, the youngest (up to 19
years of age) were 1.5% of the total; workers aged between 20 and 39 were 48.6%; those aged
between 40 and 59 were 47.1%, whereas workers aged over 60 were 3.1%. Among the third-
country national workers, the percentage changes as follows: up to 19 years of age 1.6%; 20-39
years 67.1%; 49-59 years 36.3%; over 60 1.1%. There are many differences: workers with less than
40 years are less than half of the total; however, among third-country workers this figure increases
to more than two-thirds. Workers at retirement age (which is currently 66 years for men and,
starting in 2018, for women too) are potentially more than 200,000 among all workers (1.4% of all
workers employed), but among third-country workers they are less than 7,000 (0.5% of the total
workers employed).
Among third-country workers with an open-ended contract, those aged between 20 and 39 years
are 58.3%, those aged between 40-59 are 38.3% (whereas, this percentage for all workers employed
is respectively 45.6% and 50.6%). Third-country workers are usually committed to find an open-
ended employment contract as soon as possible in order to obtain an EC long-term residence permit,
which allows them not to lose the right to stay in case of prolonged unemployment (initially for 6
months, and since 2013 for more than 1 year). The percentage of employees with an open ended
contract is 75.9% among third-country workers and 79.3% among the total workforce.
The disaggregation by age groups has not undergone significant changes in the last years, so we
will not comment on this.
Main countries of origin. The top 10 countries of origin of third-country workers are the following
(in parentheses the percentage of women): Albania 173,735 (31.8%), Morocco 147,034 (21.7%),
China 125,190 (46.8%), Ukraine 48,990 (62.7%), Moldova 46,897 (50.3%), India 42,692 (11.4%),
Bangladesh 42,416 (3.9%), Egypt 40,044 (2.9%), Peru 37,675 (46.1%) and the Philippines 37,093
(32.5%). The next most numerous countries of origin are: Senegal (36,664), Tunisia (33,397),
Ecuador (30,765), Pakistan (30,001), Serbia (29,171), Sri Lanka (27,729), Macedonia (24,602),
Ghana (21,665), Nigeria (18,858), Brazil (12,559). In none of these countries the percentage of
women employed although fairly large, in some cases - exceeds that of men, with the exception of
Brazil, a community in which the percentage of women employed is equal to 69.2% of the total
workforce.
The percentage of workers with an open ended employment contract out of the total workforce
varies depending on the communities, as shown by the percentages of the first 10 communities:
Albania 75.1%, China 93.6%, Ukraine 69.0%, Moldova 67.6%, India 75.5%, Bangladesh 70.6%,
Egypt 76,2%, Peru 74,7% and the Philippines 79.8%.
Territorial comparison: consistency and duration of the employment. The territorial distribution of
employed workers shows that northern and central Italy