The rise of “Digital Nomads” in Greece
In a constantly evolving technological environment, Greece has made significant steps, becoming one of the first countries to transform into a digital innovation destination, introducing a new law attracting “digital nomads”.
Law 4825/2021, which has introduced the concept of the Digital Nomad in Greek Immigration Law with article 11, allows 3rd-country workers to work remotely from Greece. Τhe law outlines the process and criteria for the Digital Nomad Visa, giving a significant motive for economic development for communities of all sizes and offering better quality of life to remote workers.
Big technological investments, such as the Space X and Tesla satellite network expansion for the entire country, CISCO’s Digital Transformation Centre and Pfizer’s Research Centre in Thessaloniki, as well as TeamViewer’s Research & Development Hub in Ioannina, have put Greece on the map of radical digital developments.
The provision of article 11 was introduced when the technological ecosystem in Greece was mature enough to welcome new digitally friendly policies. A regulatory framework for licensing digital wallet companies and crypto-assets exchange had already been introduced, highlighting Greece’s endorsement of cryptocurrencies and digital technologies.
The new reality, introduced by the consecutive lockdowns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in combination with the robust networking infrastructure, through the completion of the licensing process of 5G networks, as well as the wider technological ecosystem in Greece has paved the way for exponential growth of the digital nomad population. According to an extensive digital nomad study performed in 2020 by Emergent Research and MBO Partners, the number of US digital nomads grew from 7.3M to 10.9M, depicting 49% increase. Even though this study is based on US data, it certainly reflects a new global trend for the professional world.
In general, the new digital nomads regime in Greece has low administrative costs amounting approximately at 1,000€ and a fast track (approximately 10 days) process before the competent Greek consular authority that individuals need to apply to for the visa. The documentation required, which is explicitly provided by law, could be sent in advance for the filing of the relevant request, while a local bank account could be opened following TIN registration of the individual.
The Digital Nomad Visa holders are granted the right of legal residence within the Greek Territory, with no access right, however, to Greek dependent employment or business activity in Greece for 12 months. This doesn’t apply to short-term rents which are now very common in Greece. Digital nomads could also bring their families too, who, upon expiration of the residency permit, are all eligible to a two-year residence permit extension, dependent on the relevant request filed before the expiration of the visa.
It’s worth noting that in anticipation of the issuance of detailed guidelines by the Independent Authority of Public Revenue with respect to the tax residency of the digital nomads, any related issues raised are regulated by general tax residence rules and OECD guidelines on a case-by-case basis.
It Is common knowledge that Greece is an attractive place to visit, live and work, primarily because of its climate, culture, and natural beauties. The newly introduced digital nomads regime in combination with the Golden Visa regime and the sizeable investments in digital innovation create a unique opportunity for multinational companies to invest in Greece and hire top international talent eliminating the cost of permanent residence, while providing flexibility and better quality of life.