The Italian State Council (III, order of January 19, 2018, no. 258) rejected the thesis of the Ministry of Health: Italy cannot refuse to recognize the Argentine title of odontologist, even if in Argentine the master's' degree program (five-year duration) requires less than 5,000 hours of teaching. These are the facts. A young odontologist, member of her professional order (the Argentine Colegio odontológico de la Provincia de Córdoba), asked the Italian Ministry of Health to recognize her own professional qualification, with the aim to practice her profession in Italy. The Italian authorities refused her request because she took the master's' degree based on 4,351 hours teaching, while in Italy the minimum duration is 5,000 hours. The plaintiff had successfully appealed that administrative decision, represented on first degree by the lawyers Giuseppe Lipari and Massimo Sidoti (on appeal by the lawyers Bisagna and Tallarida).
But, let's proceed with order.
The Italian Ministry of Health denied the recognition arguing that, according to article 41, paragraph 2, of the Legislative Decree no. 206/2007, the odontologist's training is based on a five years full-time course of theoretical and practical studies, with at least 5,000 hours of teaching. Conversely, the course attended by the plaintiff included “a didactic commitment of 4,351 hours, lower than expected in Italy to obtain the Master’s degree in Dentistry and Dental Prosthesis”.
At the beginning, the Administrative Court of Lazio (Rome, section III quater, order of November 7, 2017, no. 5761) agreed with Italian Ministry of Health rejecting the plaintiffs’ request for precautionary measures, and arguing that: “there are no ‘fumus boni iuris’ requirements, especially if we consider the combined reading of the articles 18, 22 and 42 of the Legislative Decree no. 206 of 2007”.
The odontologist, defended by Sidoti & Soci law firm, appealed to the State Council against the above mentioned administrative decision and explained that Italian law provides a "third way", such as a compromise between the recognition and the refusement: the recognition upon passing the supplementary examinations. So, its denial was absolutely unmotivated, especially towards an applicant with important post-graduate experiences.
As a matter of fact, the State Council agreed with the Argentine odontologist, arguing that: “the administrative procedure provided by the Legislative Decree of November 9, 2007, n. 206 […] is also valid for foreign applicants - including non-EU citizens – as required by the Decree of the President of the Republic no. 394 of 1999” and that “it provides for compensatory measures (in fact, according to the article 22 – of some interest - "1. The recognition referred to in this chapter may be subject to completion of an adaptation period of no more than three years or an aptitude test, as chosen by the applicant, [...] if the training received concerns subjects substantially different from those covered by the qualification required in Italy)”. So, according to the State Council, the administrative decision of denial was illegitimate because nothing said “about the inadequacy of the professional experience gained, nor about any compensatory measures regarding the difference (in terms of hours) between the program of the university course attended and the one recognized in Italy”.
In other words, the Ministry of Health could (and therefore should) indicate the compensatory measures for the qualification recognition. In fact, as evidenced by the documentation filed in court, the applicant-plaintiff had a five-year professional experience in Argentina, worked as a university assistant for over three years and also participated as a speaker in some national conferences of the Argentinean odontologists.
Soon, the case will be discussed by the Administrative Court of Lazio that will have to consider the clarifications received by the court of appeal. Anyhow the State Council pronunciation is certainly an important precedent, and it will make easier the recognition of foreign professional qualifications.
If you also want to see recognized in Italy your qualification of odontologist obtained in Argentina, South America or other non-European countries, you may contact the Sidoti & Soci law firm to receive assistance in English and Castilian Spanish.
For more information, please use the contact form or send an email to the following address: g.lipari(AT)icam.es.
- Order of the State Council, Rome, section III, January, 19, 2018, no. 254: