Greece wants to offer visas to so-called “digital nomads,” that is professionals working in another country remotely and whose numbers are expected to skyrocket over the next few years.
Spurred by research that shows the country lagging in attracting digital nomads – Greece ranked 50th among 85 countries included in a recent study – the government plans to introduce a visa scheme targeted to these people during the summer. This will be included in a bill tabled by the Migration Ministry.
The number of digital nomads across the globe is expected to reach 1 billion by 2035. Competition to attract them is fierce, but the pool is also huge.
Recent research by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated that, if Greece could attract 100,000 digital nomads annually, and if they stayed in the country for an average of six months, the annual net benefit for the economy would reach 1.3 billion euros, roughly the impact from a week’s stay from 2.5 million tourists.
Greece will highlight its relative advantages – such as natural beauty, a pleasant climate, a high standard of living, the country’s credibility in dealing with emergencies, its time zone that allows coordination and communication with important time zones to its east and west, its European Union, eurozone and Schengen Area membership and, lately, its rapid pace in digital transformation.
The digital nomad visa will specifically target UK citizens, since Greek officials consider that Brexit will help boost the number of professionals seeking to work elsewhere. The initial visa period will be double for UK nationals than the rest.
The aim is that these visas, accorded strictly for work outside Greece, will initially boost the catering, real estate and tourism sectors, while some of the nomads may also choose to move their tax base to Greece.
Following the Golden Visa program’s incentives for investors, there will be a 50% tax write-off for the first seven years of tax residence.