In recent years as globalization has taken hold, people from the United States, South Africa and the Middle East have started to join the loyal groups of Northern Europeans, especially British, who are looking to move to Spain.
Traditionally these people would come to enjoy their holidays, or longer periods, or purchase second homes with the intention of retiring here in the future.
At the most recent count, residential tourism represented 17% of GDP in Spain. More than 12% of the population residing in Spain is of foreign origin, which is the equivalent of almost six million people.
However, now, in no small part as a result of the pandemic, a different demographic of people is showing an increasing interest in coming to Spain: those who wish to work remotely, either temporarily or permanently.
With remote working a relatively new phenomenon, remote workers from outside the European Union cannot legally move to Spain due to a lack of the visas which cover their situation.
Luckily, for this group, things are about to improve, with the Law of Digital Startups and Teleworkers set to be approved.
While citizens from the European Union or European Economic Area have the right to enter, move freely and reside in any of the countries that form part of the union, the picture is more complicated for those coming from the rest of the world.
Depending on where they come from, some require a visa for short stays (less than 90 days). However, everyone is subject to the so-called Ley de Extranjería, as well as a law in support of entrepreneurs and their internationalization, for stays longer than 90 days.
Through these two laws, residence permits of various kinds are granted such as non-lucrative visas, visas for students, those for highly-qualified personnel or for a fixed duration, residence for investors and entrepreneurs or the visa for family reunification, among others.
The aforementioned law will cover the existing gap and allow those who can work remotely to change their residence regularly, allowing you to enter and reside in Spain for a maximum of one year, extendable for another two.
Those wishing to apply for this new visa will have to:
- Provide proof that the work can be carried out remotely.
- Be a highly-qualified professional (university graduate or postgraduate, with professional training and/or certificates from a business school).
- Have a minimum professional experience of 3 years.
- Have been employed continually by one or more foreign companies for at least 1 year.
Once this visa has been obtained, said document will be sufficient to guarantee residence and remote work permit from Spain.
Foreigners with a teleworking visa will be considered non-residents for the purposes of income tax, but many details of the tax regime must still be determined before the law receives final approval.
The creation of this law represents a significant development in the regulation of so-called ‘digital nomadism’ which has experienced an enormous surge during the pandemic. The urgent approval of this new law could bring a lot of employment and wealth to Spain.