Bologna has a thriving economy, and is ranked first in Italy and 47th in Europe in terms of its economic growth rate. Bologna's local economy is heavily reliant on heavy industry and manufacturing — the main industries are car and machinery manufacturing, chemical engineering, textile production, fashion, and ceramics. Food processing is also one of the largest industries in the city.
There is also a strong financial center in Bologna, and it is home to many Italian insurance companies. Bologna's thriving industrial economy has also caused many large firms to move into the city, including Ducati, Lamborghini, Maserati, Bonfiglioli, and the Hera Group.
The services sector is also growing off the back of industry, and Bologna is home to one of the largest exhibition centers in Europe, the Fiera District, which hosts conferences related to machinery, cars, and design. Foreigners and expatriates working in Bologna tend to do so in senior or technical positions in industry or manufacturing, and there is an increasing call for English teachers.
Whether or not you will need a permit to legally work in Bologna depends on your nationality. As Italy is a member of the European Union, citizens of EU/EEA countries and Switzerland will not need a permit to work in Bologna. However, should they wish to work in Bologna for more than 90 days, they will need to register for an Italian residence card, but this is merely a formality. Non-EU/EEA citizens will need a permit to work in Bologna, and, as they will need help with their application from their prospective employer, they will need to have already secured work in the city before applying. First, their prospective employer will need to apply for clearance with the immigration authorities in Bologna, after which the work permit can be applied for. In Italy, work permits are packaged along with residence permits, so only one application is necessary in order to obtain both. Italian work permits are usually issued for less than one year and can renewed; however, if you receive a work permit that is valid for more than one year, you must register with the Ministry of Interior (Ministero Dell’Interno), where you will be required to attend integration classes during your stay.
Expatriates living in Bologna will be required to pay income tax on their earnings. If you live in Bologna for less than 183 days in a year, you will pay income tax at Italian rates on your Italian income only; whereas if you live and work in Bologna for more than 183 days in a year, you will be required to pay income tax at Italian rates on your worldwide income. Income tax is paid at both a federal and regional level. The income tax rates for expatriates working in Bologna for 2014 were as follows:
Foreigners living in Bologna will also be required to pay social contributions on top of any income tax, which will be held at source along with their income tax by their employer.