The new phenomenon of digital nomads is constantly increasing and concerns a new concept of global mobility in the global job market. Since the beginning of the pandemic, many companies have expanded the possibility of working from home for security reasons for many professionals, linked to companies by contracts of employment or freelance work.

These workers are an addition to the many already-existing professionals who are not physically constrained by their job or employers as to where they work. These professionals are thus free to travel (compatibly with restrictions related to pandemic needs) and establish their temporary residence in different countries, according to their needs and life expectations. But how do European laws on immigration and work authorizations in the countries of destination of these foreign professionals respond to the modern global mobility of workers?

In Portugal, for example, there are various entry programs with long-term visas that entitle the holder to temporary residence permits, not necessarily linked to the transfer of one’s residence, for stays of up to one year (provides that one has means of support from abroad). In addition, a particular visa called D2 allows you to enter as a self-employed person or as remotely-working employee for foreign companies, demonstrating one’s link with the professional community of the country by opening a bank account, requesting a VAT number for the conduct of one’s business, and a business plan with the intention of exercising one’s own business in the country.

Even more cutting edge is Spain. The new Spanish remote worker visa was created for foreign employees from countries not included in the non-European Economic Area. Moreover, People with EU passports or from Schengen countries can already work remotely in the country for less than 6 months per year without the need to officially register. For those arriving from non-EU countries, the new digital nomad visa allows those who are employed in non-Spanish companies or have an income with less than 20% earned from Spanish companies to apply for it. The Spanish digital nomad visa becomes a perfect option for people who work remotely as freelancers or entrepreneurs with multiple clients. It will also benefit people employed full-time with foreign companies, with the ability to work from home or abroad.

What about Italy? What programs and incentives does Italy offer for digital nomads? Currently, incentives are provided from the fiscal point of view for those who move their residence to Italy from abroad and carry out a professional activity, being able to take advantage of a deduction of up to 90% of the taxable income produced in Italy. Unfortunately, immigration legislation does not yet meet the request for greater flexibility in the authorization of entry and work in Italy of smart-working professionals. The type of visa and residence permit from which these workers can benefit is still the visa and residence permit for self-employment, linked to the following minimum requirements:
• Availability of an entry quota as established in the annual Flow Decree;
• Request for entry within the time limits established by the decree (therefore it is not yet possible to request this type of visa at any time of the year);
• Availability of economic resources adequate for the exercise of the specific activity in Italy, already present in an Italian bank account, or alternatively a professional work contract with a client based in Italy.

The application for these types of visa requires the assistance of legal experts who are familiar with the terms and requirements of the applications for entry into Italy.


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