Government’s Digital Nomad programme will allow nomads from a limited number of countries

PPCE - 2023/06/28


The Digital Nomad programme is on the agenda of today’s meeting of the Czech Government and it is expected that the Cabinet will give it the green light in view of its expected positive benefits for the Czech economy. IT specialists from Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Taiwan will have their applications processed within 45 days of submission.

Digital nomads are people who work remotely and use telecommunications to do so. Worldwide, this is roughly 35 million people. Participants in the government programme – employees of foreign companies, freelancers and their family members – will be able to apply for annual visas. This means that they will work in the Czech Republic, pay taxes here, and can come with their families, thus partially filling the hungry gap for “ajtians” on our market. 

Only safe countries made it onto the list

The government’s Digital Nomad project will allow workers from a limited number of countries, namely Australia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, New Zealand, the UK, the US and Taiwan. From the point of view of the Czech Republic, these are safe countries. However, according to experts, a number of key countries are missing from the list and they hope that if the pilot project is successful, the government will gradually expand the list of countries. “The project is focused on IT specialists, but the Czech Republic is mostly relocating specialists from Eastern Europe, or from India or Brazil, for example. This area would be worth considering in the first discussions on expansion. On the other hand, more than half of the population of digital nomads is made up of US citizens, so we believe that the project will be successful in its pilot format,” says Miroslav Mejtský, migration policy expert and partner at Petyovský & Partners.

In the course of the pandemic, (not only) European countries started to introduce a new type of residence permit, the so-called “digital nomad visa”. Estonia was a pioneer and was joined by Spain, Portugal and Croatia. No similar permits existed in the Czech Republic.

The MIT together with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is the promoter

Those who work for foreign companies and want to work remotely from us do not have it easy now. Often, they are IT freelancers who perform tasks on a one-off basis, even for several companies at the same time. Due to the nature of the work, they cannot be in a classic employment relationship. With changing global trends in international mobility, it is necessary to set clear rules for digital nomads so that they can carry out their work in our country without any problems. “We are working with the Ministry of Industry and Trade to change the approach to digital nomads, which was open to the idea and presented it to other ministries – the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. If the Government approves it, the first people using ‘nomad visas’ may arrive during the holidays,” Miroslav Mejtský explains. The programme was designed so that the existing legislation would not have to be changed and so that its implementation would be as simple and quick as possible.

The contribution of nomads is undeniable

The motivation behind the introduction of these residence permits is primarily the positive economic benefits of nomads – due to their often high incomes and contributions through indirect and direct taxes resulting from their stay in the country. Digital nomads often establish or collaborate with technology start-ups and bring the desired know-how for their growth. Estonia launched the Digital Nomad Visa project in July 2020 and has seen a steady increase in investment in technology start-ups, reaching record levels since 2021. 

“Emulating the success of Estonia or ‘coastal’ states reaping the benefits of a warm climate will be more difficult for the Czech Republic if we do not give the project proper publicity. Estonia is running a targeted marketing campaign to reach and attract digital nomads globally. Since digital nomads also have a positive impact on tourism, it is logical that CzechTourism should take over the promotion scepter and launch a marketing campaign in the above-mentioned countries so that the Czech Republic as a suitable destination for digital nomads is seen and heard,” concludes Mejtský.