Emigrating to Sicily

Emigrating to Sicily

Sicily is not only a tourist destination, but is increasingly popular as a site for emigration. Beautiful landscapes, joie de vivre, a mild climate, and fantastic beaches are some of the unmistakable trademarks of the region. Life in Sicily seems calmer and stress-free compared to many other countries. However, one must not forget that lower incomes are the norm in Sicily - if one finds a job at all. It is the same problem across the south: unemployment and cronyism.  If you are looking for work as well as residency, you should note that if you wish to stay in Italy for more than three months – even as an EU citizen - you must register with the immigration office (ufficio stranieri) no later than eight days after your arrive. To apply for a residence permit (carta di soggiorno) you must also visit the police station (questura).

To work in Italy, first secure the residence permit, which for EU citizens is simply a form, but it will require a lot of patience. The official processing time is 4 to 8 weeks. During this period (contrary to EU directive) you are not able to work since no firm can hire you without the carta di soggiorno.

The next step is getting an individual tax identification number (codice fiscale), which you need for anything official. The codice fiscale can generally be obtained fairly quickly from the tax office (agenzia delle entrate).

With a codice fiscale and a carta di soggiorno you can go to the local employment office (ufficio di collocamento) and apply for a "dichiarazione C1". With this declaration, you certify that you are unemployed and currently without work in Italy. This certificate is needed by your employer because you do not yet have a work book (libretto di lavoro) to determine your work status and work history. You will get the libretto di lavoro at the demographics office (anagrafe) where you officially registered to be a resident. With the libretto di lavoro in your possession, you can finally agree to an employment contract with your employer.

The employment office considers EU foreigners the same as Italians, i.e. you will have access to the same information and have the same rights. To register with the employment office, you will need the libretto di lavoro, a birth certificate, and translated copies of your documents. In addition to the employment office, job advertisements can be found in the major daily newspapers (e.g. "Lea Stampa“, "Il Sole – 24 Ore“, "Il Messaggero“, "Il Corriere della Sera“). In my opinion, going to the employment office is completely useless as no work will be offered to you.

To be self-employed and successful here, you should have all four of these things in addition to being very familiar with Sicily and your locality:

  1. Enough savings - perhaps one year's worth  
  2. Good ability with the Italian language
  3. Good contacts and networking
  4. An excellent business idea


Solemar Sicilia italienisch Sprachkurse in Sizilien
learn italian in sicily for 30 years