By Dimitris Delevengos
The net benefit for Greece if it were to attract 100,000 digital nomads for a period of just six months is estimated at €1.6 billion, or the equivalent of 2.5 million tourist arrivals coming for a seven-day stay, according to a study released earlier this year by the MIT Enterprise Forum.
Tourism Minister Haris Theocharis had mentioned the report’s findings at the Delphi Forum back in February, but it is only now that the state is trying to set the terms to accommodate these highly desired, work-from-anywhere people.
According to the provisions in an upcoming bill by the Migration and Asylum Ministry, in order to provide a permit to digital nomads for up to 12 months, they must have a minimum net monthly income of €3,500. If a spouse or companion is included, the minimum income rises to €4,200 per month and 15% is added for each dependent child.
Applications made to Greek consular authorities cost €75; if applicants desire a two-year permit, they must fork an extra €1,000.
Those who are awarded such permits are forbidden from working for a local employer and, in order not to burden the National Health System, must prove they are insured.
The digital nomad market – whereby people willing to work from anywhere do so using a computer, provided there is good online connectivity and reasonable use charges – is growing fast. Self-defined digital nomads in the United States rose to 11 million from 7.3 million in 2019, according to research by consultancy MBO Partners.
A foreign travel website estimates there are 35 million digital nomads globally, spending about €670 billion annually. According to the same site, seven out of 10 digital nomads stay in the same location for 3-6 months. Most of them are self-employed and half are employed in information technology, digital marketing or composing various sorts of texts.
Despite the fact that the quality of broadband service has increased significantly, providers offer competitive packages and rentals remain low, Greece is in 50th place among 85 countries included in the digital nomad attractiveness index of UK company CircleLoop. Canada, the UK, Romania, Sweden and Denmark make up the top 5.
This article was previously published at ekathimerini.com.