TALLINN – The Estonian government on Thursday endorsed a bill of amendments to the Aliens Act, which involves the plan to set up a digital nomad visa.
The bill would enable people, whose job does not depend on where they are located at the time, to work in Estonia on the basis of a visa, spokespeople for the Ministry of the Interior said. Estonia is one of the first countries in the world to enable digital nomads to apply for a visa for the purpose of remote work.
Digital nomads are people engaged in web-based employment, for example IT, finance or marketing, while simultaneously travelling around various countries. "Digital nomads bring significant added value to the state by consuming goods and services and thereby having a positive impact on local entrepreneurship," Interior Minister Mart Helme said.
According to the minister, Estonia is well-known for its innovative technological solutions and is an attractive destination for digital nomads on an international scale, but the current regulation of labor migration does not take digital nomads into account.
"In order to come work in Estonia, they must have an Estonian employer and as a result, digital nomads often come to Estonia with a tourist visa, although they also wish to do remote work while staying here," Helme said. "As digital nomads do not fall under the rules of classical work, the requirement of an Estonian employer prevents them from coming to Estonia and choosing a purposeful reason for stay in Estonia," he added.
Helme highlighted that the regulation has also been designed to reduce the risk of misuse. "A digital nomad will be able to come to Estonia for remote working only through an intermediary, who will also be responsible for the digital nomad's stay here. The general conditions for granting a visa apply to digital nomads and, among other things, they must have sufficient financial resources to stay in Estonia," the minister said.
Helme added that although this is a form of tourism by its very nature, it is not classical tourism, but working for the benefit of one's company while in a foreign country.
A digital nomad visa can be both short-term and long-term. Digital nomad visa applications will be subject to the general conditions for issuing a visa.
The bill of amendments to the Aliens Act will also set out the obligations of the inviting person to the employer, who registers the foreigner's short-term employment and arranges the application for a long-stay visa.