As it was recently announced, citizens with country of origin in Russia will now be able to apply for a residence permit and entry permit if they work in Greece remotely. Remote working, the evolution of which seems to be “digital nomads”, constitutes a type of work without geographical restrictions. It concerns a category of professionals, usually high-income earners, who choose to work in a different country from their employer (or their registered office).
The Law 4825/2021 of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum on " Reform of deportation and return procedures of third-country nationals, attraction of investors and digital nomads, issues of residence permits and procedures for granting international protection” refers to specific provisions that exclusively concern third country (non-EU) nationals. Probably the most important provision of this law concerns the introduction of a special entry and residence visa (digital visa). In particular, the granting of residence permit to digital nomads is provided, i.e. self-employed individuals, freelancers or employees who work remotely, using Information and Communication Technologies, with employers or customers outside Greece. This constitutes an important innovation, as the introduction of this category will attract wealthy professionals within the Greek Τerritory, to whom strong financial and tax incentives are granted.
Citizens working in this way can apply for a national visa (type D visa), provided they meet certain conditions. In particular, the concerned person is required to submit to the competent Greek consular authority, either in person or by e-mail or by registered mail, the general supporting documents specified in the ministerial decision of par. 16 of article 136 of L. 4251/2014. The request must be examined by the authorities within a short period of time (10 days) and the visa is issued through one stop shop procedure. In addition, the applicant is required to provide several additional documents as defined below.
More specifically, third-country nationals must provide:
Α) Solemn declaration stating that they wish to reside in the country under the national visa for the purpose of providing distance work. At the same time, they must commit via solemn declaration that they will not in any way provide work, services, or project to an employer in Greece.
B) Employment or work contract or a proof of employment relationship with an employer, which may be either a natural or legal person, but only established outside the Greek Τerritory and this contract, if it is fixed- term, must cover the period of the national visa granted, or employment or work contacts of indefinite duration or fixed- term employment with a remaining period covering the period of validity of the national visa, if the third-country national is a freelancer with more than one employer but established outside the Greek Τerritory, or in case the third country national is self-employed in his/her own business, which is located outside the Greek Territory, information on the applicant's status in the business as well as information concerning the business itself, such as trade name, registered office, field of activity, corporate purpose.
C) Evidence that the applicant has sufficient financial resources through a stable income to provide him/her with the necessary means of subsistence throughout his/her stay in the country. Sufficient resources are defined by the law itself and amount to three and a half thousand (3,500) euros. This amount must be supported either by the employment or work contract or proof of employment relationship, in the case of dependent work, services or work (but net revenue after payment of the required taxes in the country where the services are provided) or by a bank account. It is also necessary to stress that this amount shall be increased for the spouse or partner by twenty percent (20%) and for each child by fifteen percent (15%).
D) National visa fee, which amounts to seventy-five (75) euros.
Third country citizens falling into the above categories may be accompanied by members of their family, who must apply for a separate individual visa, which expires at the same time as the sponsor visa. During their accommodation, they may not engage to any economic activity in the country. More specifically, family members are defined as: (a) the other of the spouses or cohabitants with whom the third country citizen has entered into a cohabitation agreement (b) the unmarried joint children of the spouses or cohabitants under the age of eighteen (18) years, including those who have been legally adopted by a foreign court decision that is automatically enforceable or has been declared enforceable or has been declared enforceable or has had its res judicata recognized in Greece; and (c) others, under the age of eighteen (18) years, unmarried children of the sponsor or of the other spouse or cohabitants, provided that custody has been lawfully entrusted to him/her for the children of the breadwinner and to the children of the other spouse or cohabitant.
Provided the person concerned wishes and if the conditions set out above are still met, he/she and his/her family may be granted a residence permit for a period of two years, upon application to the one-stop service of the Ministry of Immigration and Asylum, before the expiry of the national visa. This permit may be renewed if the above conditions continue to be met. For both the granting and the renewal of the relevant residence permit, the payment of a deposit of one thousand (1,000) euros is required for the sponsor himself and one hundred and fifty (150) euros for his family members. The absence from the country for less than six (6) months in total per year shall not constitute an impediment to the renewal of the residence permit. Provided there is a departure from Greece and the national visa expires, the procedure for obtaining the national visa must be followed again, both for the sponsor and his/her family members.
In conclusion, it is regarded that with the emergence of the coronavirus pandemic, all of humanity witnessed radical changes in the global labor map. The distance working (teleworking) has constituted a lifeline and the sole solution for businesses, which contributed to the enhance of new opportunities and prospects for employees, most notably the emergence of a new category of workers, the digital nomads. This new work model tends to change the global workplace in a major way, creating positive expectations for the future.