Spain has announced a new digital nomad visa that will allow non–European Economic Area residents (including British and US citizens) working for foreign companies to live in the country, without having to obtain a full work visa.
The Spanish parliament approved the move in December, and this visa introduction is part of the country’s newly passed Startup Law, which aims to attract tech companies, remote workers and digital nomads to Spain. With the visa, people can live and work in Spain for up to a year at first, and then apply for this time to be extended, up to a total period of five years.
The digital nomad visa is to be made available to remote workers who will then be able to live in Spain. In turn, workers will also be entitled to a tax break. It’s expected that the application process should be open for those interested before the end of March 2023.
According to Lucas Fox, real estate agents for non-EU buyers, the new digital nomad visa is fuelling a surge in demand for property, particularly Barcelona, amongst Brits. Mohammad Butt, Barcelona Office Director at Lucas Fox commented: “Over the past two years of the pandemic, workers from across London and the South East have been escaping to locations in the South West and farther afield, to Spain and particularly Barcelona.
“During the last 12 months, we have seen a 13% rise in professionals from the UK buying properties in Barcelona. The demographic of UK buyers is shifting to a new tech savvy generation who have higher levels of disposable income and want to reside in a higher quality of accommodation. This has led to clients also looking further afield to Diagonal Mar, which tends to have larger seafront properties with more amenities in the buildings to offer.”
New research from LinkedIn reveals that the number of people searching for remote jobs is currently outstripping supply, attracting almost 21% of applications last month. Home working is estimated to have peaked this time last year, when one in six job vacancies were remote.
LinkedIn is seeing nearly double the amount of applications for every remote role in the UK, and their research shows that more than a third of UK workers would be prepared to quit their job if told to return to the office full time.
Mohammed continues: “Barcelona offers a privileged location on the Mediterranean Coast, presiding over a rich and fertile gateway region between France and Spain. Offering connectivity, favourable climates and a high quality of life, Barcelona is just over a two-hour flight from London. With outstanding sights and culture, the city attracts 10 million visitors pre-Covid, making it one of the world’s top 20 tourist destinations.
“The Savills Executive Nomad Index has ranked Barcelona in the top five best destinations in the world to work remotely, together with Miami, then Dubai, the Algarve region in Southern Portugal and Barbados in the Caribbean.
“Real estate costs are low and there is a strong local talent pool. Companies are opening European bases to Barcelona including Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft specialising in the application of artificial intelligence technologies, and PepsiCo, which has installed its global digital centre in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, with a planned investment of 70 million euros. The area is becoming more and more international.”
The Savills Executive Nomad Index ranks 15 destinations for long-term remote workers. All either have a digital nomad visa programme, or equivalent, or in the case of the US and European countries, are already part of a large economic bloc that allows free movement of people for living or work. They offer favourable climates year-round, a high quality of life and have established prime residential markets.
Provided travel connections are good and high-speed internet is reliable, individuals and families are motivated to relocate and are placing a greater emphasis on health, wellness and overall lifestyle. Many of these large institutions are bringing talent from overseas and therefore paying relocation fees meaning the end users have a higher budget to allocate on their properties which is one of the factors behind rising prices.
Tech executives and entrepreneurs are also drawn by Barcelona’s burgeoning status as a tech hub. 22@ is a neighbourhood built where innovation, creativity, design and technology have replaced the old factories as the economic driving force. There are than 1,500 companies linked to the media, IT, energy, design and scientific research. Poblenou’s industrial land was the setting for Barcelona’s industrialisation and these days it is home to a knowledge cluster.
Barcelona also takes fifth place for ‘urban quality’ according to The Economist Intelligence Unit 2021 ranking, just after Miami. The Catalan Capital is often described as ‘having it all’. Barcelona stands as a safe investment compared to many other cities across Spain and internationally.
Lucas Fox offers a bespoke residency service to non-EU buyers, with a specialised team focusing on ensuring the best possible property for residency clients. Experts guide investors every step of the way, including any administrative or language issues, recommending legal services and surveyors, as well as help with letting the property once the purchase is complete.
For more information about purchasing property in exchange for residency, visit www.lucasfox.com or telephone +34 933 562 989.