Imagine this: you just finished your fourth Zoom call of the day, with three more to go. Normally, your spirits would be down. But a glance out the window shows the sun shining on the terracotta roofs of the Italian village where you will be working for the next nine months. You decide to go out for a break, wandering the cobbled streets for a quick pick-me-up of an espresso. When you return to your laptop, your boss compliments you on the air of sprezzatura that shines through each of your pores. You are a digital nomad in Italy, but you are much more than that: you are joyful and alive.
Perhaps that’s a lot to pin on the news that Italy is considering rolling out visas available to remote workers outside the European Union. But the renewable one-year visas, promulgated under the new “decree sostegni terExecutive Order last week, is sure to spark many travel fantasies among working types from anywhere.
How does the Italian digital nomad visa work?
Details of the new visa program are still being worked out. But the bill says visas will be offered to people “who engage in highly skilled professional activities through the use of technological tools that allow them to work remotely, independently or for a company that does not reside on the territory of the Italian State”. according to The Local.
Applicants will need to demonstrate that they meet a minimum income threshold, which has not yet been set, and that they have health insurance. They will be able to bring their families, and freelancers and people who work for companies not based in Italy will be eligible, Luca Carabetta, an Italian MP who helped create the new law, told The Times. Carabetta said he hopes the program will begin this summer.
The other EU members, Germany and Portugal, also have long-stay visas available for remote workers, and countries like Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, Georgia and Malta have also introduced visas or similar permits. Opening borders to remote workers may be an attractive plan for countries looking to boost consumer spending and, more recently, offset lost tourism revenue during the pandemic.
In Italy’s case, the plan goes hand in hand with the government’s billion-euro effort to revitalize its rural villages and connect them to high-speed internet.
“We have a thousand wonderful hamlets and remote work can bring them back to life,” Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said last month, according to The Times. “Now that people can work without being physically present in the office, the isolation of these places is no longer a problem but is part of their beauty.”