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Social Security for Expats in Milan

Is working in Milan a good option for your career right now? Our guide can help you answer this question. We introduce the regional economy, local working conditions, and social security — a useful overview for expat employees interested in Italy’s business hotspot.

The Social Security System in Italy

Everyone working in Milan becomes part of Italy’s comprehensive social security system (INPS). Foreign workers and employees who are legally staying in Italy have the same rights and responsibilities as Italian nationals. The Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale covers old age pensions, disability benefits, unemployment benefits, and paid sick leave.

Social security expenses are financed partly by the Italian government, partly by contributions from employers, employees, and some groups of self-employed people. Most of the self-employed are obliged to register only with public health insurance. The rest of the mandatory state-sponsored coverage just applies to selected professions, e.g. self-employed farmers or artisans.

What this means for access to public healthcare services, we have already described at length in our article on living in Milan. Like all other social security contributions, those for medical insurance are deducted directly from your gross salary. On average, employees also contribute 9.19% of their gross income to the national pension scheme. It is the employer’s sole responsibility to cover the costs for occupational and accident insurance.

Which Social Security Fund Is Right for You?

Your new employer in Milan will  automatically register you with INAIL (the national insurance provider for workplace accidents and occupational diseases), as well as INPS, before you actually start working. If you are self-employed, please contact the INPS office in Milan to get advice on your specific situation. For instance, self-employed members of certain professions like doctors, lawyers, and accountants have their own social security fund (cassa), where they can sign up. Other freelancers may decide to make voluntary payments to the INPS.

The INPS also provides a hotline at +39 803 164 for general questions related to social security contributions and benefits. It is available in multiple languages and open 24/7.

The contact details for Milan are as follows:

INPS: Direzione Metropolitane, Via Pola, 9, 20124 Milano

+39 (0)2 67761

Can You Take Your Pension with You?

As far as pensions are concerned, you should make an appointment with the INPS and/or your social security office back home. They can help you find out how your time as an expat in Milan may affect your right to a national pension in your home country.

To prevent losses for expatriates, all EU and EFTA member states have entered into a special agreement based on the principle of totalization. Working in another EU state should not cause any future disadvantages with regard to old-age pensions, disability benefits, etc. for EU nationals. Therefore, all years of contributions paid into the pension schemes of qualifying countries will be considered in order to decide if you are due a pension and how much it will be.

Worldwide Social Security Agreements

Individual social security agreements between Italy and selected countries have a similar goal. As of 2017, there are such agreements with Argentina, Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Canada, the Cape Verde Islands, the Channel Islands, Croatia, Israel, Macedonia, Monaco, San Marino, South Korea, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkey, the US, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Nationals of these countries who wish to receive their old age benefits in Italy must usually fulfill the same conditions as Italian nationals in order to access their state pension. As of 2018, both women and men have a statutory retirement age of 66 years and seven months and must have paid social security contributions for at least 20 years (in either nation), or at least five years if aged 70 or older. The same applies to all other expats, however, any of their social security contributions paid in a country without a social security agreement with Italy will not be factored in.

Top Up Your Retirement Savings

Many Italian employees also pay into an additional pension scheme to top up their national pensions. There are so-called closed pension funds reserved for the employees of certain companies or the members of specific occupations, as well as open funds for collective membership for all kinds of employees. These two types of funds were introduced under a 1993 law.

Of course, there are plenty of private pension plans for individuals as well. You could look into those, or you might prefer an international policy or a private fund back in your home country. But no matter which option you prefer, it would be wise to prepare a little “nest egg” while you are working in Milan!


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Francois Carpentier

"With the help of InterNations, my wife and I met a lot of other French expats at the famous aperitivos here in Milan."

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