Moving with the family

Moving with the family

If you are planning to move to Italy with your family, you need to know how family reunification and the education system work, as well as access to the labor market for the partner in Italy and in the metropolitan area of Bologna. 

Family reunification

Family reunification is an essential tool to allow life and family unity, a fundamental right recognized and protected by Italian law. The entry of family members of non-EU citizens legally staying in Italy takes place with the issue of a visa for family reunification. The visa must be requested by the citizen already legally residing in Italy by submitting the request for authorization for reunification at the Sportello Unico per l’immigrazione (SUI), using the online procedure available on the website of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. For the procedure, the SPID is required. To obtain reunification, the citizen must demonstrate the availability of adequate housing and a minimum annual income. 

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Types of Italian employment contracts

The way to access the job market depends on your country of origin:

  • EU citizens are free to circulate, visit or settle anywhere in Italy to work. To be hired they must have a valid ID and an Italian tax code, which they may personally request from the Italian Tax Office (Agenzia delle Entrate) in their jurisdiction.
  • Non-EU citizens must have a valid passport and, if required, an entry visa issued by the Italian Embassy or Consulate in their country of origin or where they have permanent residence status.


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Types of Italian work contracts

There are several different types of employment contracts in Italy based on their length (particularly permanent – tempo indeterminato, or temporary – tempo determinato) and whether or not a worker is an employee or a freelancer.


Employment contracts

An employment contract (lavoro subordinato) is stipulated between a company and the people who work there. An employee offers work services in exchange for economic remuneration, assurance of continuity and some social security benefits. Employment contracts can in turn be divided into the following categories:

  • Permanent contracts (tempo indeterminato: there is no set date for the end of the contract)
  • Temporary contracts (tempo determinato: maximum duration of 12 months, renewable for up to 24 months. Maximum renewals permitted: 4)
  • Agency contract (Contratto di somministrazione: involves the triangulation employment agency/worker/company. May last up to 12 months without cause for extension and up to 24 with duly motivated extension request. No more than 6 renewals may be granted)
  • Apprenticeships (available to young people between the ages of 15 and 29, this type of contract is a training-for-hiring program)
  • Part-time (company and employee stipulate a contract, whether permanent or temporary, which calls for a reduced work-hour schedule compared to full-time work)
  • Intermittent work contract  (this is a kind of employment contract for which the work is intermittent or discontinuous).


Freelance contract

This is stipulated between a company and an external worker, consultant or freelance worker who has a VAT identification number (partita IVA). With this kind of contract, the worker may freely organize the work, with the only stipulation being the obligation to respect the agreed-upon deadlines and objectives as established with the client.


Other types of contracts

In addition to these two major categories (employment contracts and freelance work) there are several others types of contract which are in a class by themselves:

  • project work contract  (parasubordinato), including  Coordinated and continuous collaboration (Collaborazioni coordinate e continuative  formerly called Contratto di lavoro a progetto)
  • enlistment contract
  • joint ventures
  • occasional service
  • on-the-job training and internships


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Entrepreneurship and start-ups

The metropolitan area of Bologna is among the most attractive places for EU and non-EU entrepreneurs. Almost 10% of enterprises here have been set up by EU non-Italian and non-EU citizens, particularly in the commerce and construction sectors. All non-EU citizens who intend to carry out independent work must have a resident's permit allowing such work, while for EU citizens no such permit is required. 

To encourage and assist new businesses, the metropolitan City of Bologna institution has developed a help desk, Progetti d’impresa, aimed at providing support to economically feasible business initiatives being set up in the Bologna area. The help desk provides free information, orientation and consultancy services regarding every aspect of starting a business (i.e. start-up business plan). In addition to the main service center in the city, located in via Benedetto XIV, 3 in Bologna city centre, there are eight territorial helpdesk in various locations throughout the territory, accessible through the Sportelli Unici Attività Produttive (SUAP – Business and Industry Help Desks) of the Municipalities or Unions of Municipalities.

The Metropolitan City of Bologna has also established a service in support of the self-employed, called Insieme per il Lavoro, providing the aspiring entrepreneur with one-on-one consultations as well as training programs.


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School system and international schools

The Italian school system is comprised of both public schools, funded by the government, and private schools financed through fees. The educational programs in either case must adhere to norms put forth by MIUR (Ministry of Education, University Studies and Research). The system is divided based on the age of the students:

  • Pre-School Scuola dell’Infanzia  (0-6 anni)
  • Primary or Elementary School Scuola primaria o elementare (6-10 anni)
  • Middle High School Scuola secondaria di primo grado o scuola media (10-13 anni)
  • Upper Secondary or High School Scuola secondaria di secondo grado o scuola superiore (13-18 anni)
  • University

School enrolment 

Registrations take place only online. For kindergartens within the Municipality of Bologna, and once the call for applications has been published, enrollments are made on the Municipality's Schools-Online website. Registration requires FedERa or SPID credentials. It is possible to select multiple schools within the application, there are in fact all the municipal schools and affiliated schools. The ISEE declaration is also required for enrolment in the nursery (0-3 years). The ranking will be available on the same site. In addition, for the nursery (0-3 years) and provided annually in the budget law of the Italian State, you can take advantage of a nursery bonus, an income support measure for the payment of fees relating to the attendance of public and private nursery. 

More information is available on the dedicated page

For primary, first and second grade secondary schools, registration is done online on the MIUR's "Online registration" site, and SPID is also required in this case. 

Once enrolled in the first year, enrolment is valid for all school years. 

The offices of the territorial educational and school services are available in the municipalities for more information. 

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Educational services in the area for children ages 0 to 6

Public and private entities can provide these services. The Municipality provides the public service.

Regarding Bologna's Municipality, the kindergartens (0-3) are educational services that welcome children from 3 months to 3 years old and are part of the Municipality's integrated education system.

Every year the Municipality of Bologna publishes a call for applications to public and authorized privately-run nurseries.  For children from 3 to 6 years, there are pre-schools, which may be directly or indirectly run by the City, State run, or private. State and Municipal pre-schools are distributed throughout the various municipal districts based on catchment areas.

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Educational services in the area for children ages 6-10 

Usually primary or elementary schools are divided into 5 grades - from 6 to 10 years old. Enrolment opens in January and schools may be organized according to full-time or modular models. The number of classroom hours may vary in modular primary schools up a maximum of 30 hours per week. The subjects studied are the same as for full-time students, as are generally the number of hours dedicated to each. The number of teachers may vary depending on the focus of the school. The schedule of full-time primary schools is based on a 40-hour week, Monday through Friday, of which 30 are dedicated to lessons, both morning and afternoon, and 10 to lunch and and after-lunch recess. Here, too the number of teachers may vary. 

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Educational services in the area for children ages 10-13 

Every lower secondary school – commonly called “middle schools,” “scuola media” –  publishes their educational policy plan at the beginning of every school year, listing extracurricular projects and activities they offer to their students. To find out more, go to your local school district office or contact the offices of the school you are interested in directly. These same offices can tell you if your child may be admitted even after the normal enrolment deadlines have passed. The classes may follow one of two types of schedules: the typical schedule calls for 30 classroom hours per week spread over 5 or 6 days or the extended schedule, which includes 6 additional hours per week. Students remain grouped together with their classmates for the three years of study while teachers may change from year to year. 

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Educational services in the area for children ages 13-18 

High Schools are divided into four categories: artistic (art and music academies); lyceum  (classical, scientific, linguistic and various sub-categories);  professional training schools and technical institutes. While lyceum students generally aim to continue their education at university, those from technical or professional training programs graduate with professional qualifications allowing them to immediately access the labor market.

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International schools

For those who want to give continuity to the international education of their children or to start them towards a training course in the language, there are some interesting options in the Bologna area, which cover all age groups.

For nursery, kindertagrtens, primary and secondary schools, it is possible to choose between the training offers of Calicanto (from 12 months to 6 years), the International School of Bologna (from 3 to 19 years) and EducationK (from 18 months to 18 years)).As for the high school (13-18 years), the Liceo Steam is active, promoted by Confindustria Emilia.

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