InvestInBari is the platform for investors, companies and talented people interested in setting up a base in Bari, Italy.
Its OneStopShop desk provides information, streamlines processes and facilitates operations with local institutions and agencies.

SEZ-Special Economy Zone

Special Economic Zone (SEZs) have been set up to encourage the growth of Southern Italy, through the development and expansion of companies already operating within them and the establishment of new companies.

The objective of the SEZs is to encourage and simplify entrepreneurial activity through concessions, simplifications and various types of incentives. The SEZs are made up of ports, dry ports, logistic platforms and freight ports, last at least seven years, can be regional or inter-regional and also include areas that while not adjacent are connected on an economic and infrastructural level.

The beneficiaries are companies operating in the territory of a Special Economic Zone, who can benefit from a package of tax concessions, in the form of tax credits, economic incentives and simplification of administration tasks. It is a set of opportunities in favour of small, medium and large enterprises that decide to invest in the less industrialised Italian regions of our country and create favourable conditions for the development of Southern Italy.

Bari is part of the ‘Interregional Adriatic’ Special Economic Zone which grants considerable benefits in terms of tax advantages and administrative simplification for the benefit of attracting new investments. (

The total extent of the Adriatic SEZ is 3405 hectares of which 2899 are in Puglia.

It is divided into 5 Hubs that includes the “Hub” of Bari that includes the Ports of Bari, Monopoli and Molfetta, the Airport of Bari, the Interporto Regionale di Puglia, the Area ASI of Bari – Modugno, the harbour area of Molfetta, the zone MAAB, the industrial zone of Bitonto, the industrial zone of Monopoli, the industrial zone of Altamura and the industrial zone of Gravina.

Processes and speed

The process to take advantage of the incentives is simple, thanks to the use of guided IT platforms, flexible, as they are subject to negotiation procedures for adjusting the programs according to the specific needs of the market and companies, and benefit from the success factor of PROXIMITY, as the managing body (Puglia Sviluppo spa) ensures availability for meetings, briefing and guidance and accompaniment processes.

The Project Invest In Bari-One Stop Shop, through a check of investment needs, accompanies all interested investors in identifying the most appropriate incentives for them. Once the incentives have been identified, the company will be guided through all the bureaucracy from the presentation of the investment project until the grant is obtained.

On average a “contratto di programma” may take between 3 to 6 months to be set up.

Immediately after the submission of the project, usually within a couple of months, the submission is evaluated and if the investment initiative accepted, the corresponding budget is allocated.

The investor then has to submit an executive project, including work packages, milestones and deliverables. Payments by Puglia Sviluppo are made after reaching corresponding milestones.

All expenses after the acceptance of the initial proposal are eligible. The duration of the project is usually 36 months.

All eligible expenses have to be accounted in accordance with EU norms and regulations.

Work legislation

The legislation on private work in Italy is regulated by the national collective labor agreements. Contracts are defined by sector of activity (mechanics, trade, agriculture, etc.). The contracts are defined by the trade unions and by the representative associations of the companies and they regulate: salary levels, hours, illnesses, accidents, holidays, welfare tools, etc. The private company is free to choose the collective agreement of work among those recognised.

Italy provides various incentives for new hires as we have described in the incentives paragraph of this document (see below).

SmartWorking. With Covid 19, the use of smartworking has accelerated quickly for both public and private companies. In this first post-Covid period for the public sector, national regulations have been issued that allow smartworking to be maintained for a period of 20% to 40% of the time.

Private companies, on the other hand, have direct agreements between the employer and the employee to regulate the methods of carrying out the activity.

In the IT sector, most companies have chosen smartworking as a standard form of work also in the post-Covid19 emergency period. In the last two years, this has lead to many staff preferring to establish their residence in smaller cities. Apulia and Bari is a destination that has already chosen by many workers who have moved here knowing they are able to work in smartworking.

We are now talking about the phenomenon of digital nomads. Digital nomads have massively chosen Apulia as a favourite destination.

Italy facilitates transfers and digital nomadism and has created specific regulations that facilitate the transfer with a specific one-year visa, without reservation, for highly qualified workers from non-EU countries who work remotely. These workers are allowed to enter Italy outside of the quotas provided for each year by the “Flussi” decree: no work permit will be required and a one-year residence permit will be issued on condition that the holder has the availability of an health insurance (to cover all risks in the national territory) and that the fiscal and contributory provisions in force of the national law are respected.

International Hiring

The entry into Italy of non-EU foreigners is governed by the Consolidated Law on immigration (Legislative Decree no. 286 of 25 July 1998).

Article 7 paragraph 1 states that: “Outside the entry for work […], authorised under the […] quotas, the implementing Regulation lays down detailed rules and deadlines for the issue of work permits, entry visas and residence permits for employed persons, for […] managers or highly specialised staff of companies or subsidiaries in Italy or of representative offices of foreign companies having their principal place of business in the territory of a Member State of the World Trade Organisation, or managers of head offices in Italy of Italian companies or companies from other Member States of the European Union”.

The procedure for the recruitment of workers from non-EU countries is initiated through the sending, by the employer, of a request for electronic clearance for the employee, to the Ministry of the Interior, through the “Sportello Unico Immigrazione”(SUI) competent for the territory (in this case, Bari).

  • The telematic application must indicate:
  • The details of the employer, the owner or legal representative of the business, the company name, the registered office and the place of work;
  • The personal details of the foreign worker you intend to hire including residence abroad;
  • The specifications of the contract, in compliance with the applicable laws and national collective employment agreements, which will also be reported on the proposed residence contract;
  • A commitment to pay no less than that provided for in the collective agreements applied;
  • The commitment to guarantee suitable accommodation and the commitment to pay travel expenses for the return of the worker to the country of origin, in case of expulsion;
  • A commitment to communicate any changes in the employment relationship.
  • The ‘Sportello Unico dell’Immigrazione’ (One stop shop for immigration) receives the decision of the Questura and the Provincial Directorate of Territorial Labour, and communicates the release of the Nulla Osta.

The foreign citizen must go to the Italian Diplomatic or Consular Representation within 180 days to apply for the entry visa.

Having obtained the visa and entered Italy, the worker, within 8 days, must go, accompanied by the employer, to the Sportello Unico dell’Immigrazione to sign the residence contract and apply for a residence permit for work.


Last update

16 January 2023, 16:13