Spain launches its networks of nomadic digital talent


Spain is listed as an option for those who make their workplace an international space. Whether on their own or for someone else’s account, and through electronic tools, they choose places that offer them attractive conditions: quality of life, security, culture, but above all, attractive economic conditions and, undoubtedly, good communication infrastructures. Attracting these global talents has been the aim of the new facilities introduced by the recent Startup Law so that these digital nomads bet on our country and can first obtain residency and then citizenship by fulfilling certain requirements.

And although, as the experts consulted acknowledged, there was little clarity regarding the application of the regulations, given the increase in applications, the procedure was well defined. Diana Gomez-Ariza, managing partner of Larea Law Firm and an immigration attorney, confirms that the growth in inquiries at her law firm has been exponential. Only in May 2023 he had 216 inquiries on this topic. Gomez explains that this visa is for remote workers or the self-employed. These digital nomads from Spain must work for companies from countries that are not part of the European Union. Gomez Ariza confirms that the regulations also offer the possibility of incorporating up to 20% income from a Spanish company.

Another great attraction of the proposal is the possibility that this opens up the opportunity for these digital nomads to come to our country with their families. “People are interested, especially from America, because they have the advantage of language and cultural proximity, in addition to being able to obtain citizenship in a short time,” says the specialist.

in 20 working days

The procedure can be carried out from the consulate of the country of origin or from Spain (even with a tourist visa) and resolved within a maximum of 20 working days. Must prove a business relationship of at least three months, with a foreign company established at least a year ago. The applicant must earn 200% of the minimum salary of professionals, which is 1,080 euros and have no criminal record, ”Gómez Ariza summarizes the requirements. The permit is initially extended to one year and can be extended up to three years. For this expert, the profiles Frequent professionals that apply to the application are computer scientists, designers, programmers, digital marketing specialists and entrepreneurs.It also highlights that the company mostly receives orders from South America, but also from India, Dubai and Arab countries.

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Miguel Ferrer, Director of Strategy and Public Agenda of the Spanish Association for the Digital Economy (Adigital), highlights the importance of attracting foreign talent, because it “generates the dynamics of business culture and the integration of the technological world. The fact that remote workers from different countries reside in Cadiz or in the Aragonese Pyrenees sets the mark Spanish business and strengthens the ecosystem of the world of entrepreneurship. Ferrer stresses that Spain is adopting a policy that attracts talented personalities, and goes along with proposals such as those of Mexico, Portugal or Israel. The aim is to attract talent that Spain favors because of its living conditions and economic costs. However, Ferrer explains that digital nomads can still be difficult to define, as they are a more fluid and less visible community.

Mabel Cortés, 44, is from Colombia and works as a digital nomad in Spain. She and her father founded the Columbia-based firm Global Forensics Auditing, which is dedicated to forensic auditing. Industrial engineer and accountant general Curtis applied for residency in March this year, from the consulate in Colombia. Although an official told him, as he explained, that the process was preliminary, they resolved it after 13 working days. This is how he obtained the visa for one year, after proving that he also met the requirement of a monthly salary and registration in Social Security. Cortés highlights the opportunities that Spain offers companies and entrepreneurs, as well as security, language, infrastructure, transportation and ensuring a good educational and cultural future for his son.

in progress

Maria José Landapuro, Secretary General of the Federation of Associations of Self-Employed and Entrepreneurs (Uatae), explains that the purpose of the regulation is to support technology-based businesses and to strengthen the link between residence and work. However, he stresses that the initiation of this residency in Spain is as important as its continuity: «It is important that people have access to advice and financing that promote the development of the activity. The important thing is that these economic activities continue over time.

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Landaburu is convinced that the arrival of these remote workers in Spain has an impact on the economy and the country as a whole, so it is important that the effectiveness of the policy be known. He opines that it would be ideal to keep a record, even if it is not public, to measure the outcome.

An example of an action being activated is Gerardo Rodriguez. This 36-year-old Cuban works as a computer engineer and marketing specialist for an American company with which he developed FluxForce, a platform that allows launching multi-channel digital marketing campaigns using artificial intelligence. He and his wife traveled to Spain for a study stay and then decided to apply for a digital travel visa. Regarding Spain, he notes that it is “a wonderful place for my personal and professional development, in addition to the quality of education my daughter is getting.”

Quino Fernández, CEO of AticcoLab, an innovative system for entrepreneurs and the promotion of startups, confirms that those who benefit most from the advantages of the standard are the “freelancers”. And the most common profile is technicians who can work anywhere they want. Fernandez highlights that the law contains many beneficial elements, highlighting tax benefits. But, from his point of view, he finds a problem that digital nomads who arrive in Spain do not have the facilities to work in companies in the country, except for the 20% required by law. “It is still difficult to hire a foreigner, although by making it easier to obtain a visa, in the long run you will be able to obtain permanent residence and it will be easier, which will allow you to integrate into the labor market or do so.”

As explained by technicians from the Secretary of State for Immigration of the Ministry of Integration, Social Security and Migration, the instructions for the new number of digital nomads are recent, and therefore, the assessment of their impact is still hasty. This is because the evaluation involves obtaining data from embassies and consulates, when the applicant is in another country. Even then, they comment that the process is flexible and has an average duration of 14 days. In our country, the Unit of Large Enterprises (UGE), which relies on the aforementioned Secretariat, is responsible for processing residence permits for reasons of economic interests.

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fast lane

Andrés Perry, of Belinchón Perille Abogados, a law firm specializing in immigration and citizenship, also confirmed that the inquiries his firm had received about these procedures had developed because “the conditions are favorable and allow highly qualified professionals to reside in Spain,” a country “attractive for climate, security and welfare state ». And although applications come mainly from South America, there is no shortage of applicants from other continents. Perelli understands that the new procedures introduced in Spanish legislation are a quick way to immigrate to our country, “and aim to attract talents, highly qualified professionals and researchers from all over the world, and for this reason, salaries are usually requested according to their professional status.”

However, the lawyer explains, some difficulties arise when joining someone else’s teleworker social security. “Private medical insurance, which covers health, is one thing, and social security, which tends to cover such aspects as pensions, temporary disability, and work accidents, is another.” According to Perel, in the case of a remote worker who works for someone else, it should be possible to import their right to social security coverage from their country of origin, which means that this possibility is provided for in their legislation – posting on the job within the same company -. In the absence of this option, the contracting company must register as an employer in Spain and obtain a shareholding code, which returns many employers.

But nothing discourages applicants. Bellini Chávez, 36, from Costa Rica, is waiting for her application to be resolved. The psychiatrist and administrator, by profession, applied for a visa for herself and her husband to obtain residency in Spain and support her income through a commercial contract for a client she advises and trains. Chávez was drawn to the “quality of public services and the country’s cultural offering”.

Attracting these profiles is a useful tool for boosting the economy and generating a strong cultural and community exchange.

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