Greece wants to offer visas to “digital nomads”, ie professionals working remotely in another country and whose number is expected to skyrocket in the coming years.
Spurred on by research which shows the country is lagging behind in attracting digital nomads – Greece ranks 50th out of 85 countries included in a recent study – the government plans to introduce a visa program for these people in during the summer. This will be included in a bill tabled by the Ministry of Migration.
The number of digital nomads around the world is expected to reach 1 billion by 2035. Competition to attract them is fierce, but the pool is also huge.
Recent research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology estimated that if Greece could attract 100,000 digital nomads per year, and if they stayed in the country for six months on average, the annual net benefit to the economy would reach 1.3 billion euros, roughly the impact from a one-week stay of 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 the face of emergencies, its time zone which allows coordination and communication with important time zones in the east. and in the West, its Membership of the Union, the euro zone and the Schengen area and, most recently, its rapid pace of digital transformation.
The digital nomad visa will specifically target UK citizens, as Greek officials believe Brexit will help increase the number of professionals looking to work elsewhere. The initial visa period will be double for UK nationals than for others.
The aim is that these visas, granted strictly for working outside Greece, initially stimulate the catering, real estate and tourism sectors, while some nomads may also choose to shift their tax base to Greece.
Following the incentives of the Golden Visa program for investors, there will be a 50% tax deduction for the first seven years of tax residency.