Spanish legislators have introduced a draft bill that would create a special visa for international digital nomads.
The “Startups Law,” which was published by the Spanish government on July 6, would also offer personal income tax reductions for non-resident remote workers and tax incentives for startup companies and investors.
Supporters of the legislation hope it will encourage more foreign digital nomads and entrepreneurs to establish business operations in Spain.
Under the proposed law, foreign remote workers could obtain a special visa that allows them to live and work in Spain for up to 12 months. Workers who wish to stay longer can extend their visa for an additional 24 months.
The legislation also offers remote workers access to a reduced income tax rate.
Under current law, individuals who live in Spain for less than 183 days per year must pay a Non-Residents Tax rate of 24% on the first €600,000 earned within the country’s borders. The new law would drop that rate to 15% for a maximum of four years.
The proposal would also change tax laws to allow foreign remote workers to submit their income under the Non-Residents Tax program, giving them access to the new discount.
To qualify for the visa program and tax reduction, applicants must prove they are either a foreign remote employee for a company based outside the country or an international digital nomad who primarily performs work for foreign clients.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, only 17% of U.S. employees were working remotely, according to data from Statista. However, 44% were working remotely as of April 2021.
Upwork estimates that at least 22% of American employees will still be working remotely by 2025, which is an 87% increase over pre-pandemic numbers.
This growing demographic could be an important economic resource for tourism-dependent nations desperate to recover from 18 months of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.
According to Forbes, some of the fastest-growing careers for remote workers include cybersecurity, digital marketing, customer service, tutoring and education consulting, workplace diversity, translation, and nonprofit work.