Romania is one step closer to adopting the digital nomad visa as members of the Parliament, in collaboration with the Ministry of Research, Innovation and Digitalisation, submitted on May 12 2021, a draft law regulating this subject. To find out more about this project, BR talked to Diana Buzoianu, member of the Romanian Parliament and the initiator of the Digital Nomad Visa programme.
What are Romania’s biggest advantages in attracting digital nomads?
Amongst the biggest advantages that make Romania a top destination for digital nomads is primarily the fast internet speed which the country is known by. Attractive living costs and a great connectivity are amongst the pull factors for remote workers.
Are there any previous examples of EU countries that have successfully adopted this model?
The digital nomad visa is one of the latest trends across EU member states. Currently, several countries have chosen to reform their migration laws in order to attract remote workers. Estonia, for instance, is one of the leading member states to adopt the digital nomad visa model. Other member states that have followed similar initiatives are Germany, Croatia, and Greece which is the latest one to promote the visa program.
Considering the novelty of the digital nomad visa, in Europe impact studies haven’t been carried out yet. Nonetheless, in Argentina, national authorities published a forecast stipulating that by 2023 over 22.000 digital nomads would inject into the national economy approximately 140 million euros.
What type of jobs/industry sectors could attract digital nomads in Romania?
The digital nomad visa program is not restricted to a field of practice or industry. That is considering recent statistics showing that working remotely is a trend increasing in all working fields, in the COVID context. Nonetheless, it is fair to assume that some industries are more likely than others to have digital nomads. Remote jobs are highly popular in the digital sector, the communication field, or the analytics industry.
What would be the main benefits for Romania?
The main benefit for Romania is the economic boost emerging from the financial capital digital nomads will be spending in the country. Expenses such as rent, living expenses, and in-country travels will speed the economic recovery following the recession caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Other advantages include growth of the national tourism industry, considering the digital nomads would choose to explore Romanian and, indirectly, promote it. Overall, by living in Romania, all digital nomads would contribute financially to the economy whether directly through investment or indirectly through daily expenses.
Is there a plan to eventually “settle down” these digital nomads coming to Romania, becoming entrepreneurs, start-up founders, or highly skilled employees which could benefit the local economy?
Digital nomads have the opportunity to settle in Romania after the termination of the visa permit once they apply for a permanent residency permit. It is Romania’s mission, as is the case for any other competitive European country, to show its benefits and advantages in order for the digital nomads to want to remain here, in order for it to attract and retain valuable professionals.
Elsewhere, digital nomads also tend to take part-time jobs or enroll in university courses in their host country; is this an aspect you considered in your project?
In Romania, the visa program was designed particularly for professionals. However, from a practical point of view, the file that needs to be registered and approved for study or work purposes visas here, in Romania, is similar to the one that the digital nomad needs to complete in order to come to this country with a digital nomad visa. So most of the work will already be done and, given the prior control of the file for the digital nomad visa, it is likely the additional purpose would also be obtained if the legal conditions are met.
Is there a risk of digital nomads using their status to escape the tax liability in their home countries without immigrating to the tax system of Romania?
All applicants for the digital nomad visa program are required to provide evidence of their official income in their place of origin. The draft law for the digital nomad visa does not regulate a specific taxation regime for digital nomads. The applicable tax regulations will be the general ones already applicable to any other category of foreigners coming to Romania with any category of visa. Those regulations are, mostly, based on European regulations or international conventions concluded between Romania and EU member states or third states.