What if Spain attracted foreign remote workers?Laurence Lemoine
Recently, Argentine businessman Martin Varsavsky, who has made a fortune in Spain, (Jazztel, Ya.com, Fon) tweeted about the opportunities that Spain could and should take advantage of to limit the effects of the economic crisis linked to the Coronavirus. On his Twitter account, he described his vision of the economy, with “more tourism, but above all, permanent tourism”.
It is true, that this health crisis has revealed that remote working has normalised to the point that many companies like Twitter or Google already plan to limit the presence of their employees in their offices. This decision is not taken out of fear of the coronavirus, but because it allows much more flexibility and less costs in general.Until now, living in Spain with your feet in the water while working for a company based in London, Paris or San Francisco was reserved for a small group, called the “digital nomads”, but this group, made up mainly of young people or entrepreneurs, could now be extended to a large number of managers and employees.The quality of life that Spain offers already attracts a good number of expatriates, but if companies seriously promote the mobility of their employees and if the state provides incentives (not only fiscal) to allow these foreigners to come and stay, this will have an undeniable positive impact on local economies since these people and their families are consumers and generally have a fairly high purchasing power: it must be said that their salaries are based on the cost of living in their country of origin and that the cost of living in Spain is about 30% lower than in many large foreign cities.
Apart from its pleasant climate, Spain offers many advantages for the installation of foreign remote workers: a functioning private and public health system, a good level of education with again the possibility to choose between private and public, no problems of insecurity and well-served airports.
That said, the administrative procedures for obtaining a visa or a residence card, the Spanish tax burden (high despite the Beckham law) but also the political situation in Catalonia or on a national level may hinder potential expatriates or foreign companies who would like to settle in Spain.There may remain the possibility (the necessity, one would be tempted to say) for the State to create a special status for these future foreign remote workers, in order to make their installation easier and more attractive.
Valencia Expat Services