Military spouses are a pretty portable group. They roll with the moves that go along with being a part of a military family. Along the way, many spouses have managed to build a portable career that follows them from duty station to duty station. Working from home is popular, because when we move, the job just goes with us.
OCONUS duty stations may not support this type of life style as easily. Each country has a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the United States government. In this agreement, it spells out exactly what families of military service members can and can not do in the country.
In Italy, it turns out that only the U.S. Government (i.e. on post) can employ spouses and family members. Oh, they are welcome to get a job on the Italian economy, but that means you have to get a different Visa and then give up your status as a person protected by the SOFA agreement. This means no PX or Commissary privileges and you get to pay Italian taxes. Doesn’t sound like a trade I’d like to make!
What this means is that spouses that sell Mary Kay, Tupperware, candles, jewelry or any of the other sell-from-home products – can’t. No exceptions, from what I understand.
Are there any loopholes to this regulation? I can’t answer this. I am assuming that many spouses choose to turn a blind eye to this regulation, because I have attended jewelry parties. I know I have met people who teach online courses and otherwise provide services via the internet to United States companies and citizens. No money is changing hands in Italy, thanks to the miracle of online banking. I don’t know if this is legal, but if you understand the regulation, please do leave a comment so I can share it with everyone.
SO…Where Can I work?
The competition is steep and sometimes it feels that there is no chance of ever getting a job. However, it is possible. There are a few places you can go to find a job while you are in Italy.
- USA Jobs – Just select Vicenza or all northern Italy as a location.
- Army Civilian Service – Usually just links you to USA Jobs postings
- Employment Readiness– at ACS
- Non-Appropriated Funds Employment – This is not the cushy GS jobs, these are usually jobs in MWR programs, such as the child care center or at the shopette.
- Home Based Child Care Provider (ONLY available if you live on Villagio)
There are hundreds of opportunities for volunteer positions. If you want to stay busy you will not have a problem finding a volunteer position. You can look for them online here.
Good luck in your job search!