On July 6, the Preliminary Draft Law to promote the startup ecosystem, known as the Preliminary Draft Law on Startups, was published. This new legislative proposal aims to provide a favorable framework for the creation and growth of technology-based startups and also seeks to attract foreign talent with the creation of a new visa and residency authorization category: the international telecommuting visa or digital nomad visa.
What is a digital nomad?
We agree with the explanatory memorandum in stating that the “expansion of teleworking has led to the emergence of a new lifestyle called digital nomadism. Digital nomads are people whose jobs allow them to work remotely and change residence regularly, combining highly skilled work with immersive tourism in the country of reference”.
New law for the creation of a visa for digital nomads
The current legislation on foreigners does not foresee or solve the problem of foreigners who wish to live in Spain and work in their country of origin or in any other country in this globalized world. It is true that there is a non lucrative residence authorization to which this profile of foreign worker currently applies, but unfortunately it is not designed for the digital nomad and does not solve the existing loopholes.
This new visa, introduced by amendment of Law 14/2013, of September 27, to support entrepreneurs and their internationalization, will be provided for in Article 61 of the aforementioned Law and will be called visa for teleworkers of international character.
This visa will be regulated in Chapter V Bis of the previous Law and will be granted to the workers and professionals who carry out their work for companies located outside the Spanish territory by means of the exclusive use of computer, telematic and telecommunication means and systems. Employees may not work in Spain but professionals may work in Spain as long as the percentage of such work does not exceed 20% of their total professional activity.
This visa is valid for 1 year. In case you want to stay longer in Spain, after this year you can apply for a residence authorization for a maximum period of 2 years.
Requirements for applying for this visa
In order to apply for this visa, a series of requirements must be fulfilled:
- The existence of a real and continuous activity for at least one year of the company or group of companies with which the worker has an employment or professional relationship.
- Documentation accrediting that the labor or professional relationship can be carried out remotely.
- In the supposition of the existence of an employment relationship, the labor relationship between the worker and the company not located in Spain with which the worker maintains such relationship, at least, the last three months, as well as documentation that accredits that such company allows the worker to carry out the labor activity remotely, must be accredited.
- In the case of the existence of a professional relationship, it must be accredited that the worker has a commercial relationship with one or several companies not located in Spain during, at least, the last three months, as well as documentation that accredits the terms and conditions in which he/she is going to carry out the professional activity at a distance.
Finally we must point out that the Draft Bill does not foresee how long the teleworker must remain in Spain to be able to request the authorization of residence of the 2 years, nor what happens once these years are completed and he/she continues to reside in Spain.