Greece hopes to attract digital migrants with new tax incentives 

During the debt crisis, which has lasted well over a decade, it’s estimated that 800,000 Greeks left the country to pursue careers elsewhere and seek economic opportunities abroad. 

But, Greece has announced that it will be attempting to lure people back to the country using large tax incentives. The proposed laws aim to create more professional jobs, build wealth, and tempt younger workers to return to the country so they can contribute economically. 

Is the debt crisis over? 

After years of financial support, the third bailout programme in Greece ended in 2018. But, despite being more stable economically, there are fears that without confidence and investment, it’s unclear if the prospects are any brighter. 

Greece’s high debt and fragile economy, along with other problems in the eurozone, meant that unemployment soared to 28% and third of the population was left in poverty. Many people chose to leave the country altogether as spending controls were put in place. 

What are the new measures? 

According to Alexis Patelis, advisor to Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Greece hopes to attract “digital migrants” as more people in Europe shift to remote working. 

He said the objective was to create jobs by convincing both individual workers and businesses to relocate by offering a substantial tax discount. The package will be available during 2021 for anyone who hasn’t been a Greek tax resident within the last 7 years. 

There won’t be any restrictions on the type of work or income levels required. However, the government says it hopes to attract professional workers. 

Patelis said, “A worker from abroad who moves to Greece will be eligible for a 50% exemption on income earned here for seven years under the plan. The main criterion for eligibility for the tax incentive is tax residence.” 

“An extra push is needed to see them return. The coronavirus pandemic has also shown that it is possible in many cases for one to choose where to live and work thanks to technology. We can have digital migrants. We just want to get a share of that pie.”

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