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News » Spain tops list for digital nomads

Spain tops list for digital nomads

Photo from Spain’s Ministry of Industry and Tourism

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA — Spain’s capital, Madrid, has emerged as the prime destination for digital nomads seeking the perfect blend of work and life balance, according to new data from Remote.com. 

“No matter how long you’re looking to stay, Madrid is ever-welcoming, thanks to low taxes and generous expat visa options targeted at freelancers and remote workers,” the report said.

April Jereza, a Canadian who relocated to Madrid in 2017, appreciates Spain’s relaxed approach towards working hours and lifestyle. 

“People in Madrid really understand that you don’t live to work; you work to live,” Jereza, a project manager, shared with CNBC Make It.

Despite a pay cut, the cost of living in Madrid compensates, making her salary stretch further, though she notes the challenges of local inflation without an international salary.

“Working remotely in Spain with a U.S. or Canadian salary will get you very far, whereas working in Spain on a Spanish salary, you can feel the pains of inflation a bit more,” Jereza explained.

VisaGuide.World also named Spain as the top choice for digital nomads in 2024. 

Global hotspots for remote work

Remote.com’s analysis also highlighted other top cities for digital nomads, including Madeira, Portugal, and Toronto, Canada, rounding out the top three. 

Factors like internet speed, living costs, and overall quality of life were considered in the ranking.

Here are the top 10 places for remote work:

  1. Madrid, Spain
  2. Madeira, Portugal
  3. Toronto, Canada
  4. Auckland, New Zealand
  5. Tokyo, Japan
  6. Paris, France
  7. Portland, Maine, USA
  8. Taipei, Taiwan
  9. Stockholm, Sweden
  10. Reykjavik, Iceland

Challenges and backlash

However, the process of obtaining a digital nomad visa involves a complicated bureaucratic process, and the impact of affluent expatriates has prompted some backlash and policy reevaluation in some countries.

“It is possible to apply yourself, however, some applicants may prefer to have a lawyer or immigration professional helping them to get approval and navigate the complexity,” Maria José Muñoz Gomez, an immigration consultant at Help At Hand Spain, told Euronews Travel.

Pinak Pushkar, who moved from London, said, “The visa required a lot of paperwork and I got the impression that the [Spanish] did not understand or welcome the UK structures of employment.”

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