Digital nomads in Romania: an opportunity created by the remote work trend
Socio-economic changes occurred in the last year have forced companies to be more flexible and to offer their employees the possibility to work remotely not only as an exception. This approach has created new opportunities especially for those who want to „work and have fun”, that is, employees who can work from anywhere and who can thus visit different locations without this affecting their day-to-day activities at work.
Consequently, several European countries such as Croatia, the Czech Republic or Germany have launched the so-called „digital nomad visas” aimed at foreign nationals who want to live in those countries and work remotely.
Romania does not want to lag behind and therefore its Parliament is currently preparing a bill that aims to attract specifically this kind of „atypical employees”. The existing fiscal facilities, high speed internet and a low level of expenses are just some of the facilities that our country has to offer.
Who are the digital nomads?
Basically, a digital nomad is a person who is not tied to a „physical workplace” because they can successfully combine their day-to-day work tasks with constant moving from one city or country to another… to wherever their imagination or whim takes them. All you need is a laptop, a mobile phone, a reliable Internet connection and of course, a profession that is suitable to this lifestyle. A very important aspect is that contrary to common perception, „digital nomads” DOES NOT mean only „freelancers” who, given the nature of their activity are their own bosses and in principle work on a project basis. The reality is constantly changing and the pandemic context has shown us precisely that: you can work part-time or even full-time for a big corporation and as long as you perform at your job it doesn’t matter that you don’t like winter in Romania and that you’ve taken your „office” to an exotic destination for two or three months.
Most of the people who were able to adopt this lifestyle have jobs that to not entail manufacturing, being instead part of the ”new industries” such as programming, graphic design, digital marketing such as SEO, PPC, community manager, social media, content writing, etc. There are numerous reasons why somebody might opt for a nomadic lifestyle. Some choose it because they want adventure and a break from the daily routine, others because of the low level of expenses, others just because they want to expand their horizons travelling the world as they work.
What does the bill propose?
Romania is taking a big step towards introducing the notion of „digital nomad”: currently the Senate is discussing the draft bill for the amendment of law nr. 194/2002 regarding the status of foreign nationals in Romania. To become law, the bill must first be sanctioned by the Romanian Chamber of Deputies then published in the Monitorul Oficial.
In the bill, the term „digital nomads” is defined as follows:
„foreign nationals working for a company registered outside Romania or who provide services through a company registered by them outside Romania, and who can perform their activities remotely by means of information technology and communication (IT&C) systems”
According to the proposed „plan”, in order for this category of employees to be able to live and travel in Romania while they continue to work remotely for a foreign employer or for their own company registered outside Romania, they will have to apply for a special type of visa. This visa will allow digital nomads to stay in Romania for an initial period of 90 days which can later be extended by requesting a residence permit.
In order to obtain such a document, applicants must request it at the Romanian embassies or consulates from their country of residence. Also, they will have to provide proof of medical insurance, of their living arrangements as well as their criminal record.
One last condition is that digital nomads must earn an income which is at least the medium gross monthly wages in Romania for the last 6 months prior to their request. That value currently stands at approximately 1.125 EUR, the lowest in the European Union.
According to The Digital Nomad Index, Romania ranks third in the world, only after Canada and UK in a top of the most attractive countries to work remotely. Therefore, if the „digital nomads” law is approved, the flexible visa approval process, together with the low level of expenses and the very good quality and speed of the internet connections will constitute the perfect combination of factors allowing Romania to attract as many digital nomads as possible, especially in the IT industry which is currently suffering from a deficit of specialists.
Will there be any fiscal advantages for the digital nomads?
In principle, no. Digital nomads will not have a dedicated fiscal system in Romania but the proposed law aims to avoid the double taxation, that is, it will allow digital nomads to avoid paying taxes in both their country and in Romania. Moreover, the law does not discriminate among the different types of digital workers who can apply for such a visa, all workers who can work remotely are eligible.
And because nowadays competition is fierce, companies have adapted rapidly to remote work, have invested in digitalization and with time have noticed that employees are more productive working from home or even from a mountain top. It seems that Romania is picking up on this trend and the law proposal aimed at making life easier for digital nomads might just be the small detail that makes all the difference.
So what do you say, are going to help us with a share?