Digital nomads: the great shift in population

A hard day at the office Credit: Steven Zwerink flickr

In the years following the pandemic, Spain has seen a steady influx of the so-called digital nomads, professionals that relocate to foreign countries while working remote jobs in their countries of origin.

Spain attracts digital nomads

As of now, Spain has become the third country most preferred by these profiles, only behind Portugal and Thailand, and around 40 per cent of them are settled around the Costa del Sol. This phenomenon, however, has had a number of consequences for the local population.

While this model of work relationships allows companies to cover critical vacancies with hires from other countries that they wouldn’t be able to source locally, it inevitably raises the question of income taxes and insurance.

Nomads use public services in their country of residence, while their taxes and pensions remain in their country of origin.

As recently as June 2023, the EU has regulated an extendable five-year period where digital nomads can make their National Insurance contributions in the country they are living in.

Property prices increase

The other wedge issue is the rising of real estate prices. On average, nomads usually flow from countries with higher standards (and therefore higher incomes) of living to poorer ones, which impacts the prices in the real estate market, especially in the regions they tend to settle in. However, this relatively new kind of expat represents an important rise in the younger population as the main profile of a digital nomad, as around 50 per cent of them are millennials and Gen Z.

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