The status of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection among non-European Union (non-EU) immigrants in North-East Italy was evaluated. Among the 1683 individuals tested the prevalence of HBsAg was 8·9% (150 subjects) and of HBV antibodies (anti-HBc with/without anti-HBs) was 38·9% (654 subjects). The distribution of HBV serological markers showed significant differences according to region of origin; the highest prevalence of infection (76·9%) and carriage (16·1%) was found in immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. Among the 933 individuals screened for HCV infection, prevalence of antibody was much lower (0·9%) than that observed in the Italian general population (3·2–12·6%). The large number of HBV carriers among immigrants could increase the number of new adult infections due to life-style habits or professional risks in the host population. In contrast, the risk of HCV spread from non-EU immigrants is very low.