This article discusses the limits of Italian immigration policies and their effects on the Italian market of highly skilled individuals. Italian statutory provisions aimed at regulating immigration focus on limiting immigration without a reasoned distinction being made between skilled and unskilled immigrants. The first part of the article argues that a combination of historical and sociological factors makes Italy uncompetitive in the global market of highly skilled individuals. The second part suggests two pilot schemes for policies that might help in addressing the issue. First, the introduction of a medium-/long-term visa for highly skilled individuals, and second, the establishment of private multinational universities modelled on the European Institute (EI) in Florence. These new institutions would open up the academic job market to overseas researchers and, at the same time, would provide a more solid base for the retrieval of Italian academics working abroad.