Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Marvie Living & Coworking: Split 4-star Hotel Launches Year-Round Offer for Digital Nomads

February 23, 2021 - Marvie Living & Coworking - a 4-star hotel located in Split launches an attractive year-round, long-term stay offer for digital nomads!

Marvie Hotel & Health opened its doors four years ago in one of the coziest seaside neighborhoods in the city of Split, Croatia. In recent years, the hotel has been trending among international guests due to its excellent location, comfortable rooms, the spectacular panoramic views of the nearby archipelago enjoyed from its rooftop pool, as well as the hotel’s wide array of health services provided in close collaboration with partners. Marvie has now taken a further step, becoming the first Croatian hotel to create an offer completely tailored to the needs of remote workers, widely known as digital nomads.

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While embracing modern trends and following the belief that a global world that knows no boundaries can blend living, remote working, and traveling, Marvie has now launched an attractive, new offer, described by the name Marvie Living & Coworking and represented by the Long-term Stay Package.

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Damira Kalajzic

An affordable long-term stay option, 28 days or longer, is now available at Marvie’s all year round, even during the summer season - and with a 50% discount. In addition, guests interested in long-term stays in Split, Croatia, now have the option of contacting Marvie Hotel & Health via a 15-minute free Zoom or Google Meets chat.

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With the aim of creating a stimulating and productive living and working environment for hotel guests who are looking for long-term accommodation in Croatia, Marvie Hotel, within its Long-term Stay Package, offers Deluxe rooms with sea views, work desk, coworking space with 200 Mbps high-speed Internet, a projector and flipchart, as well as unlimited access to an indoor pool, jacuzzi, sauna, gym and relax zone.

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Marvie’s coworking space, which will be complete with ergonomic chairs and new desks in March, is open to both hotel guests and all other digital nomads in town. Other hotel spaces, which include Mareo Bar, Da’Mar restaurant, the lobby, as well as the rooftop poolside, can be used as alternative working spaces, where guests can work or exchange ideas and knowledge.

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“Our mission is to actively participate and contribute to the design of a brand-new tourist product, which is changing the paradigm of traveling, remote working, and living. We are thrilled to witness more and more institutions begin to recognize the potential of this trend, as well as the founding of Digital Nomad Association Croatia, whose founders we are in contact with and who have helped us create a new product”, said Diana Rubić, general manager of Marvie Hotel & Health.  

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Damira Kalajzic

Marvie Hotel & Health is also popular for its health services such as dermatological treatments, non-invasive methods for facial and body rejuvenation, physical medicine and rehabilitation, dental services, and more. With the aim of providing opportunities for a longer stay and affordable prices, Marvie’s has also launched two carefully created 14-day health packages - The Physiotherapy and Nutrition Package. Marvie_Living_Coworking_wellness_photo.jpg

Digital nomads now have the opportunity to live in a sea-view 4-star hotel in Split at affordable prices and enjoy the many benefits that only Marvie Hotel & Health can offer in one place.

For more information on the prices and benefits of the Long-term Stay Package visit Marvie’s website, as well as a new blog section where you will be able to find topics related to digital nomads and Split with its surroundings - an ideal destination for working and living. 

You can read more in English at  the link: https://marviehotel.com/long-stay and follow Marvie's blog: https://marviehotel.com/blog

To read more about digital nomads in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Croatia Publishes Updated Digital Nomad Visa Requirements

February the 23rd, 2021 - The Croatian Ministry of the Interior (MUP) has published an updated overview of Croatia's digital nomad visa requirements.

The much talked about Croatian digital nomad visa is finally here as Croatia finally opens its arms to the idea, and MUP have clarified some updates to the digital nomad visa requirements.

Temporary residence for digital nomads in Croatia

A digital nomad in Croatia is a third-country national who is employed or is otherwise performing work through communication technology for a company or indeed for their own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia. This means that the individual isn't and cannot perform work or provide services to employers headquartered/registered here in the Republic of Croatia.

Temporary residence for this purpose is granted for up to one year (in some cases for less than a year), and cannot be extended. After the expiration of the first six months of the first issued temporary residence document, a request for re-regulation of residence for a digital nomad may be submitted.

Digital nomads who have been granted temporary residence in the Republic of Croatia may be joined in the Republic of Croatia by members of their immediate family (temporary residence for the purpose of family reunification).

Let's delve deeper into MUP's recently updated Croatian digital nomad visa requirements.

The submission of an application for temporary residence as a digital nomad in Croatia

The application can be submitted in two ways, depending on whether or not the individual seeking residence as a digital nomad requires a visa to enter Croatia or not.

If a visa is needed for entry:

In this case, a request for the Croatian ''digital nomad visa'' must be submitted at the appropriate Embassy/Consulate of the Republic of Croatia abroad (a list can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs/MVEP). Prior contact with the competent embassy/consulate is advised due to possible limitations in the work being carried out as result of the spread of the novel coronavirus and by epidemiological measures relating to it.

If no visa is required for entry:

In this case, the same request must be submitted either to the appropriate embassy/consulate of the Republic of Croatia (as detailed above) or to the competent administrative police station according to the place of residence of the individual seeking this permit (a list of administrative police stations by location across the country can be found here). Please note that due to the same situation with the pandemic described above, processing times may be longer and certain functions may not be running as normal.

How to make an application and what sort of documentation you'll need

A copy of the documentation you're required to submit must be submitted in either Croatian or English.

1. Fill in Form 1a and attach it to the request/application:

2. You'll need a copy of your valid travel document (the validity period of the travel document must be three months longer than the period of validity of your intended stay).

3. Proof of health insurance (travel or private health insurance which must have coverage for the territory of the Republic of Croatia).

4. Proof of your purpose for submitting the request.

This can be: (an employment contract or other document proving that your work is performed through communication technology for a foreign employer or for your own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia), such as a statement from your employer or from you (as proof that the business being done is through communication technology) and a contract of employment or proof of the performance of work for a foreign employer, or a copy of the registration of your own company and proof that you perform all of the stated tasks through your own company.

5. Proof of sufficient funds to cover your stay in Croatia.

This can be: a bank account statement or proof of regular income, both will be enough to be recognised and accepted as evidence. Pursuant to the Decree on the Method of Calculation and Amount of Maintenance Allowances for Third-Country Nationals in the Republic of Croatia (Official Gazette 14/21), which entered into force on the 13th of February 2021, a third-country national regulating their temporary residence in Croatia as a digital nomad must have funds in the amount of at least 2.5 average monthly net salary sums for the previous year based on officially published data from the Central Bureau of Statistics (CES), and for each additional family member, or formal or informal life partner, that amount is increased by an additional 10 percent of the average monthly net paid salaries. At the moment, the amount of funds required on a monthly basis is a minimum of 16,142.5 kuna, or if your intended period of stay in the Republic of Croatia is 12 months, it is necessary to prove that you have funds in the amount of a minimum of 193,710.00 kuna..

6. Proof that you haven't been convicted of any criminal offenses in your home country or the country in which you resided for more than a year immediately before your arrival in the Republic of Croatia. (Information on the processes for the legalisation of such documents can be found here).

7. You must state your intended Croatian address.

When submitting the application, you'll be required to state the address of your place of residence or intended stay in Croatia on the form you'll be given to complete. This is important for the purpose of determining the administrative police station that will deal with your application. If your first application is submitted and you don't yet have an address in Croatia, it's been made possible for you to state your temporary address (hostel/hotel if a reservation is booked/confirmed) as the address of your intended stay for the purpose of application processing.

What about after the delivery of MUP's notice approving your temporary residence as a digital nomad in Croatia?

If you require a visa in order to enter the country:

Once you've been informed that your temporary residence as a digital nomad has been granted, you will need to contact the embassy/consulate again to obtain an entry visa for Croatia or a biometric residence permit (please inform yourself in advance about whether or not this is a possibility at your embassy/consulate).

You can also fill in the visa application form online.

All other information on visas (application, required documentation, etc.) can be found on the website of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs/MVEP.

If you don't require an entry visa for Croatia:

Third-country nationals who don't need an entry visa for the Republic of Croatia don't need to take any of the aforementioned steps and may enter Croatia without a visa in accordance with the provisions of the Law on Foreigners (often referred to as the Aliens Act).

An important note: A third-country national must register their residence with the administrative police station responsible for their place/area of stay within thirty days of being granted a temporary residence permit (in this case a digital nomad permit), to ensure that their temporary residence is not revoked.

On arrival in Croatia - Residence registration and the issuance of a biometric residence permit

The registration of residence:

As a third-country national, you're obliged to register your place of stay/residence and an address within three days of entering the Republic of Croatia at the administrative police station responsible for your area of stay.

You'll need to apply using Form 8a with the attachment of a lease agreement or a statement of the property owner confirming the situation.

The issuance of a biometric residence permit:

Third-country nationals who don't need a visa to enter Croatia, as well as those who entered the Republic of Croatia on the basis of needing an entry visa, are required to obtain a residence permit which is a biometric document (it is mandatory to attach photographs and provide biometric data) immediately upon arrival at the competent administrative police station.

What are the costs?

If the application is submitted to a consulate/embassy outside of Croatia, it is paid for at the time of application:

420.00 kuna for a temporary residence permit

460.00 kuna for a visa (with the additional payment of a service fee if the visa application is submitted through the VFS visa centre)

310.00 kuna for the biometric residence permit form (check the possibility of obtaining it at the embassy/consulate)

If the application is submitted in Croatia at an administrative police station, the associated fees are paid after your stay is approved by MUP:

350.00 kuna for a temporary residence permit

70.00 kuna as an administrative fee for issuing a biometric residence permit

240.00 kuna for a biometric residence permit form

Payment of all of the admin fees if the application is submitted at a Croatian administrative police station

Admin fees for temporary stay: 

Via internet banking, the payment of administrative fees for the issuance of temporary residence (350 kuna) are to be made directly to the Croatian state budget, more precisely to the IBAN of the state budget, the details of which are below:

HR1210010051863000160, model HR64, reference number: 5002-713-OIB (if you have an OIB (personal ID number/tax number), then that is entered).

For those who haven't been assigned an OIB, the reference number is: 5002-713-number of your valid travel document.

(An important note: a maximum of 10 numbers, and if the numeric label initially contains zeros (0), they are not to be entered. Do not enter letters, slashes, periods, commas, etc.).
For example, let's say the number of the travel document/identity card of a foreign citizen is AZ004586, then the reference number is: 5002-713-4586 (without any letters and zeros, and with a maximum of ten numbers).

The fees for a biometric residence permit:

Via Internet banking, the payment of a fee in the amount of 240 kuna for the preparation of a biometric residence permit will be made directly to the Croatian state budget, more precisely to the IBAN of the state budget, the details of which are below:

HR1210010051863000160, model HR65, reference number: 7005-485-OIB (enter the OIB only if you've been given one).

For those who have not been assigned an OIB, the reference number is: 7005-485-RKP-case number.

Through Internet banking, the payment of an admin fee in the amount of 70 kuna for the preparation of a biometric residence permit will be made, yet again, to the Croatian state budget, more precisely to the IBAN of the state budget, the details of which are below:

HR1210010051863000160, model HR64, reference number: 5002-713-OIB (again, you obviously only enter your OIB if you have one).

For those who do not have an OIB, the reference number is: 5002-713-number of your valid travel document.

(The same important note written above about a maximum of 10 numbers and no letters, slashes, commas etc applies here, too.)

For more on digital nomads in Croatia, as well as any more digital nomad visa requirement updates, follow TCN's dedicated section.

Saturday, 20 February 2021

Health Insurance for Digital Nomads in Croatia is Now Enabled

February 20, 2021 – Digital nomads in Croatia have the right to health care, as the issue of health insurance for digital nomads in Croatia is now regulated.

As HRturizam reports, on Thursday, the Government sent amendments to the Law on Compulsory Health Insurance and Health Care of Foreigners in the Republic of Croatia to the parliamentary procedure. They are harmonized with the Aliens Act to regulate the manner of exercising the right to health care for digital nomads. The amendments thus enable the realization of the health care right for digital nomads.

By the official definition, a digital nomad is a third-country national who is employed or doing business through communication technology for a company or their own company that is not registered in Croatia and does not do business or provide services to employers in Croatia and has been granted temporary residence in Croatia.

As Health Minister Vili Beroš explained, a digital nomad is not obliged to apply for compulsory health insurance. Still, they are obliged to bear the costs of using health care in a health institution, i.e., with a private practice health worker or other health care provider in Croatia.

By amending the Law on Foreigners, Croatia has introduced the concept of digital nomads who now have preferential tax treatment. Legal changes regulate the tax exemption for receipts of digital nomads – foreigners who work online from Croatia for other countries' employers.

The new Law on Foreigners for Digital Nomads prescribes a tax exemption for their income based on the status thus acquired. All this to facilitate their decision to choose Croatia as a place of residence and work.

This way of regulating their stay in Croatia assumes that digital nomads will spend their earnings here while living in our country and thus positively impact the domestic economy.

Temporary residence is granted for up to one year (possibly shorter). However, the temporary stay cannot be extended. A request for re-regulation of the digital nomad's stay may be submitted six months after the digital nomad's temporary stay expiration.

As Jan de Jong, the initiator of the introduction of visas for digital nomads, has repeatedly pointed out, when a digital nomad would spend at least 10,000 kunas a month on living in Croatia, which is more than realistic, for about 50,000 potential digital nomads (as many as there are in Bali), that would mean a revenue of about 500 million kunas a month into the Croatian economy.

At the moment, the publication of the online system for electronic submission of applications for digital nomads is still pending and will be done soon. But before that, the Ministry of the Interior announced the procedure for obtaining visas for digital nomads.

To read more about digital nomads in Croatia, follow TCN's dedicated page.

Friday, 1 January 2021

What's Changing Today? Higher Croatian Minimum Wage, Less Income Tax

January the 1st, 2020 - As Index writes, in 2021, Croatia is set to introduce the national compensation for the elderly in the amount of 800 kuna, increase the Croatian minimum wage to 3400 kuna net, reduce income tax rates down to 20 and 30 percent, and also down to 10 percent for enterprises with an income up of up to 7.5 million kuna, abolish quotas for foreign (third country) workers, and regulate the temporary stay of digital nomads.

Usually, a number of new laws come into force at the beginning of any given year, or amendments to existing ones occur, such as the new National Allowance for the Elderly Act, the new Law on Foreigners, a package of laws regulating the fifth round of tax reform - amendments to the tax laws on income, profit, VAT, the fiscalisation in cash transactions, on the financing of local self-government units, as well as new laws regulating the banking sector.

At the beginning of this year, some new bylaws came into force, such as the regulation on the amount of the Croatian minimum wage.

The Croatian minimum net wage in 2021 will rise to 3400 kuna

From the beginning of 2021, the Croatian minimum wage will be 3,400 kuna, which is 150 kuna or 4.61 percent more than it was in 2020. Namely, the government prescribed, by decree, that the Croatian minimum wage this year amounts to 4,250 kuna, which is 187.49 kuna more than last year.

The minimum hourly rate for student services - 26.56 kuna

Students who work through student services will also profit slightly from the increase in the Croatian minimum wage, to whom employers must pay a minimum of 26.56 kuna per hour from the beginning of this year, which is about 4.7 percent more than the previous 25.39 kuna in 2020.

The decision on the Croatian minimum wage for students is made every year by the Minister of Science and Education.

In February, the first payment of national compensation for the elderly will take place - 800 kuna

From this year on, Croatia will start paying the national benefit for the elderly to Croatian citizens over the age of 65 who have for whatever reason not secured an old-age pensions and are not entitled to any sort of pension, in the amount of 800 kuna.

This, popularly called the national pension, is regulated by the new Law on National Compensation for the Elderly, and the Minister of Labour, Pension System, Family and Social Policy, Josip Aladrovic, expects that around 20,000 beneficiaries will receive the new payment in the first year alone.

"The national benefit for the elderly is designed as a benefit that will cover the most vulnerable part of the population. We expect that in the first year, there will be slightly less than 20,000 who will use their right to access this benefit and the approximate cost of it to the state budget will stand at 132 million kuna in 2021,'' Aladrovic said in mid-December, when the Croatian Pension Insurance Institute (HZMO) began receiving applications for these payments.

HZMO will pay this fee through commercial banks and the first payments of this fee should start in February, with backpayments from January 2021 included.

Amendments to the Income Tax Act also define the tax treatment of this benefit - it, like other social benefits, will not be considered a sum on which income tax is paid.

Lower income tax rates

Amendments to the Income Tax Act are part of the package governing the fifth round of tax reforms. These changes have reduced income tax rates down from 24 percent to 20 percent, and from 36 percent down to 30 percent.

These lower rates should result in a higher salary for working people who, considering their salaries and thus their tax bases, must pay income tax. That increase can be anywhere from ten kuna to a thousand or two or more kuna. How much the increase is exactly depends on the amount of a person's salary, any benefits they receive for their dependent members and their place of residence and its surtax rate.

An estimate made earlier on by Finance Minister Zdravko Maric says that more than 900,000 taxpayers can expect higher incomes from the reduction of income tax rates, depending on the amount of their income. Out of a total of 2.8 million employees and pensioners, 1.9 million of them, given the amount of their income or pensions, don't pay any income tax, according to the Minister of Finance.

Amendments to the Income Tax Act reduce the rate applied from 12 percent to 10 percent applicable to the taxation of annual and final declared income and the flat-rate taxation of activities (such as renters of flats or apartments). However, the tax burden for those who fail to report their income in accordance with legal regulations is increasing, and the so-called penalty rate for asset disproportion has gone up from 54 percent to 60 percent.

This is other income based on the difference between the value of assets and the amount of assets with which it was acquired. Until now, this disparity has been taxed at a rate of 36 percent.

The novelty of the legal changes is that people who rent out their apartments, and if they certify the contract with a public notary, will no longer have to go to the Tax Administration themselves, but notaries will have the obligation to send this certified contract to the tax authorities. If, on the other hand, the contract is concluded without notarisation, people will still have to bring it to the Tax Administration themselves.

The financial effect of the changes in the income tax rate is estimated at two billion kuna, and since this tax is the income of local self-government units, the state will compensate them by taking over the equalisation fund, which is further explained below.

The state has taken over the equalisation fund

Thus, in accordance with the amendments to the Law on Financing of Local Self-Government Units, the shares of municipalities and cities in the distribution of income tax have increased from 60 to 74 percent, and that of counties has increased from 17 to 20 percent.

However, the funds for the equalisation fund, which has so far held a share of 17 percent in the distribution of income tax, will be provided for by the state budget from this year.

Income tax - the rate for enterprises with an income up to 7.5 million will fall from 12 to 10 percent

At the beginning of the year, amendments to the Income Tax Act came into force, reducing this tax rate for enterprises with an annual income of up to 7.5 million kuna from 12 percent down to 10 percent.

In addition to that, the tax rate on dividends and profit sharing was reduced from 12 percent down to 10 percent, and the tax rate on performance fees for foreign performers (artists, entertainers, athletes, etc) was reduced from 15 percent down to 10 percent.

The amendments to this law also stimulate banks to try to agree on a partial or complete write-off of receivables with clients who end up running into financial difficulties. Namely, the tax-deductible expense of a credit institution would be the same amount of the write-off of receivables, based on credit placements, the value of which is adjusted in accordance with special regulations of the Croatian National Bank.

VAT - the threshold for payment according to the collected invoices has been raised to 15 million kuna

Amendments to the Law on VAT raised the threshold for the payment of VAT according to the collected fees - from 7.5 million kuna to 15 million kuna. It also expands on the possibility of applying the VAT calculation category to imports.

Although most of the provisions of this law will enter into force at the beginning of this year, one important provision will enter into force in the middle of the year - from the 1st of July 2021, all imports of goods into Croatia from third countries will have to have VAT paid on them.

Fiscalisation - the treasury maximum is going to be prescribed by the Minister of Finance, Zdravko Maric, in an ordinance

The package of the fifth round of tax reform also includes amendments to the Law on Fiscalisation in Cash Transactions, whose provisions no longer prescribe the cash maximum, but will instead be prescribed by the Minister of Finance, according to certain categories of Croatian taxpayers.

At the beginning of the year, the application of some provisions adopted back at the end of 2019 began, so from the 1st of January 2021, the obligation to carry out the procedure of the fiscalisation of sales via self-service devices begins, as does the obligation to display QR codes on each issued and fiscalised invoice/receipt.

Law on Foreigners - quotas for foreign workers are abolished

At the beginning of 2021, Croatia will abolish its previous quota model for the employment of foreigners from third countries and move over to a new model that should make it easier for employers to employ foreigners.

Until now, the government has made decisions on determining the annual quota of permits for the employment of foreigners, for which it has also determined the list of activities and occupations they can engage in, as well as the number of permits for those professions in one year.

However, the new Law on Foreigners, which also came into force today, introduces a new model based on the opinion of the Croatian Employment Service (CES) on the justification of the employment of third-country nationals and the issuance of residence and work permits for such individuals.

This means that employers will first ask the CES to conduct a labour market survey before applying for a residence and work permit for the employment of a foreigner. If it is determined that there are no unemployed persons already here in Croatia who meet the requirements for that position, employers will then be able to apply for a residence and work permit to the Ministry of the Interior (MUP). The procedure for issuing residence and work permits, including the implementation of the labour market survey will take a maximum of 30 days.

The law also prescribes exceptions to the implementation of the labour market survey related to deficient occupations such as carpenters, masons, waiters, butchers and in the case of seasonal work of up to 90 days in agriculture, forestry, catering and tourism sectors.

The Law on sending workers to the Republic of Croatia (posted workers)

On the first day of the new year, the Law on Sending Workers to the Republic of Croatia and Cross-Border Enforcement of Decisions on Fines enters into force. It regulates the fundamental issues related to the position of workers in accordance with and on the basis of European Union legal sources, and provides a framework for compensation for the work performed, as other conditions, of posted workers.

These include the rights and guaranteed amounts of compensation for work performed in Croatia, the rights to protection at work, working hours and holidays, protection against discrimination, the right to quality for accommodation and internal mobility costs to which a Croatian worker is entitled, as well as the judicial protection of these rights.

The temporary stay of digital nomads will be properly regulated

Croatia is also among the few countries that will regulate the temporary stay of digital nomads. The Law on Foreigners also defined the term digital nomad - a third-country national who is employed or performs business through communication technology for a company or for their own company that isn't registered in the Republic of Croatia and doesn't perform work or provide services to employers headquartered in Croatia.

Temporary residence can be granted to third-country nationals who intend to stay in Croatia or are staying for the purpose of remaining here as digital nomads - this will be regulated by the new law. These people are mainly highly qualified foreigners and IT experts.

The rate for calculating and paying tourist board membership fees will be reduced by 12 percent

Enterprises can count on the reduction some parafiscal levies this year. As such, they will pay a 12 percent lower membership fee to the tourist board, regulated by amendments to the law on this topic.

This also enabled the Tax Administration to change the amount of the monthly membership fee advance due to a significant drop in that activity, and the calculation of the lump sum membership fee when persons providing catering and hospitality services in households or on family farms obtain a decision on approval in the current year, considering the fact that this membership fee is calculated based on the capacities from the previous year according to the data from the eVisitor system.

Amendments to the Tourist Board Membership Act are explicitly prescribed to enter into force on the 1st of January, and although this date isn't explicitly foreseen for amendments to the Forest Act, the application of these legal provisions coincides with the beginning of the year.

Namely, on the 15th of December 2020, Croatian Parliament passed amendments to the Forest Act, which were published in the Official Gazette (145/2020) on the 24th of December, and as they enter into force eight days after their publication, this coincides with the beginning of 2021. These legal changes envision the lowering of yet another parafiscal levy.

The total relief for the domestic economy from the above moves is estimated to stand at around 33 million kuna.

The new regulation on special tax on cars - Finance Minister Zdravko Maric expects their reduction in price

At the end of last year, the Croatian Government passed a new regulation on special tax on motor vehicles, and the Minister of Finance expects that this could lead to cheaper cars.

That regulation regulates the calculation of that special tax in the light of the new system for the measuring of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions produced by new cars. At the beginning of 2021, the full application of the so-called Globally Harmonised Light Vehicle Test Procedure (WLTP) across the EU will begin, which means that new vehicles will no longer have CO2 measurement data according to the old type-approval rules, but it will be governed by new data. As such, it was necessary to adopt a new regulation, Minister Maric explained at a government session held on December 30th.

In addition to the environmental component which is implied, this special tax on motor vehicles also has a value component, and the new regulation has raised the value threshold up to which the special tax is not paid from 150 to 200 thousand kuna.

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Tuesday, 15 December 2020

Croatian Law on Foreigners: Changes, Updates and More for 2021

December the 15th, 2020 - You might remember the mammoth article I did a couple of years ago on the minefield which is Croatian residence procedures. I'm going to do a brand new one as opposed to constant updates to that one. The Croatian Law on Foreigners, often somewhat amusingly referred to as the Aliens Act, is an extensive document full of legal jargon and references to Articles that most (normal) people have somewhat of an allergic reaction to. For some unknown reason, I don't, so I'm going to explain the changes due in 2021, one by one. 

I'm not going to cover anything that has already been written about extensively in the article linked above, and instead only detail changes that are due in 2021.

Please note that the procedures for some of these new residence permits and new rules haven't yet been set in stone, therefore I'm not going to detail any application procedures until they officially become law (and that means appearing in the infamous Narodne Novine). Anything else would be hearsay and lead to confusion in what is already a needlessly headache-inducing process for many people.

BRITISH CITIZENS LIVING IN CROATIA

First of all, let's address the question on the lips of every ''Brexpat''. British nationals who hold regulated, lawful residence (be that temporary or the more desirable permanent status) are entitled to remain living and working in Croatia broadly as they did when the UK was an EU member state. I will summarise the main points of this article (which I absolutely encourage you to read very thoroughly if you're a British expat in Croatia).

1) Brits who hold residence before the end of the transition period are safe - If you are a British citizen and you hold legal residence in Croatia, you are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement which entitles you the right to continue living in Croatia. These are acquired rights derived from you having exercised your right to freedom of movement as a former EEA citizen.

2) A declaratory system, not a new application - You will need to exchange your existing residence permit (be it temporary or permanent) for a new card before the 30th of June, 2021 at the police administration/station responsible for your location of residence. This is not a new application, merely an exchange to a card which will state that you are the holder of the rights afforded to you by the entering into force of the Withdrawal Agreement. Those documents will be issued either free of charge or at a cost not exceeding that paid by Croatian nationals for similar documents.

3) All time spent living legally in Croatia is counted towards being granted permanent residence - For those Brits who don't yet have permanent residence in Croatia and are still waiting for their five years of temporary residence to pass before applying, you're safe. Croatia will count all time spent on your temporary residence permit (from before and after the end of the UK's transition period) towards granting you permanent status. For those who already hold permanent residence, nothing will change for you other than what was explained in point 2 (above).

4) Brits who move to Croatia after 01.01.21 will not be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement - Acquired rights here refer to British citizens who utilised EU law in order to live in Croatia only. British citizens who move following the end of the UK's transition period will not be covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and different rules will apply to them as they will be treated as third country nationals.

5) Brits who are covered by the Withdrawal Agreement and hold permanent residence can leave Croatia for 5 years in a row without losing their rights - If you're a British citizen and you have permanent residence in Croatia or indeed any other EEA country, you can be absent for a period of up to 5 consecutive years without losing your status as a permanent resident.

As I stated, I really encourage you to read this article in order to find out about your status, rights and things you need to do in much, much more detail. The article also explains and links domestic and EU law, as well as that set out in the Withdrawal Agreement, which can be read in full in PDF form here should you want to know even more.

Let's move on to other changes due in 2021.

DIGITAL NOMADS:

I'm no dinosaur, but I have to admit that this term always makes me grin a little bit. I'm not entirely sure why because as a translator, I too am location independent although I live permanently in Zagreb. The idea of working from anywhere is something that was unfathomable not so long ago, but alas - this is the modern way, as the Kaiser Chiefs might say. Much has been written by TCN about this, and we even have a digital nomad currently in Croatia writing for us and providing an insight into her experiences so far. You can read her work here.

Jan de Jong, a Dutch entrepreneur living in Croatia, managed to get the ball rolling for the up and coming digital nomad visa. He has since formed a digital nomad association and you can read about the ins and outs of that, as well as the story behind the visa here and here.

It all started with an open letter from Jan de Jong on LinkedIn addressed to Prime Minister Plenkovic, and the rest is history. As of 2021, a new category of residence permit will be ''born'' and it will be precisely for digital nomads. There are some catches which make it a bit tricky, and there will certainly be things which need to be ironed out. One clause is that a digital nomad cannot work for a company registered in Croatia.

As soon as more is officially available as 2021 arrives, we will update you with a detailed guide on 1) precisely who Croatia will consider to be a digital nomad, 2) what they need to present to evidence that, and 3) what they need to do to apply for this new temporary residence status in Croatia.

The digital nomad visa is an evolving story (here is the December 15, 2020 article on the new tax law regarding nomads, for example). You can follow the latest in the dedicated TCN digital nomad section.

THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS (NON-EEA, NON-SWISS CITIZENS) WHO HOLD PERMANENT RESIDENCE IN THE EEA

You can find out the procedures for third country nationals who already hold residence in another EU/EEA member state or indeed in Switzerland here (scroll down to the heading: What if you're a third country national with approved permanent residence in another EEA country already?

2021 will bring new procedures for third country nationals who already hold permanent residence (please note that this is only permanent residence, not temporary residence) somewhere else in the EEA who want to move to Croatia. It is important to note that it has always been easier for third country nationals with established, long term (permanent) residence in an EEA country to move to another EEA country, but the rules vary from member state to member state.

Until 2021, if you want to stay in Croatia for longer than three months (before the expiration of the visa or residence card issued to you by another EEA country) you can apply for a temporary residence permit at your local police station in Croatia, or in the Croatian consulate of the EEA country which approved your permanent residence there. The application can be found here.

The new Croatian rules for such individuals due in 2021 aren't yet available. When they are updated in the Croatian Law on Foreigners and published on Narodne Novine, we will be sure to provide an update with all of the relevant information, advice and instructions.

MEMBERS OF THE CROATIAN DIASPORA WHO DO NOT HOLD CROATIAN CITIZENSHIP

It can often be heard how difficult it is for those with Croatian heritage who don't have Croatian citizenship to get their hands on that little blue passport. As with all administrative processes in Croatia, it can either be so easy that you're sure someone somewhere has missed something, or so needlessly difficult that it leaves you rocking in a dark corner, surrounded by thousands of copies of your birth certificate. The Croatian Law on Foreigners has (finally) seen that this is an issue, and a new residence permit for people with Croatian heritage but no Croatian citizenship is coming in 2021.

In order to be approved for this new residence permit coming next year, you'll need to be issued a special certificate from The Central State Office for Croats Abroad (click here for more), along with an application and other, accompanying documents which will certainly involve proof of identity etc, which haven't yet been detailed. The Ministry of the Interior hasn't yet finalised what needs to be done for people who want to apply for this particular residence permit. By the time 2021 rolls around, things will hopefully be more clear and we will provide a detailed update on what is needed.

For more on residence, citizenship and administrative procedures related to the Croatian Law on Foreigners, you can follow me here.

Wednesday, 9 December 2020

Washington Post: Croatia Attracting Digital Nomads During the Pandemic

December 9, 2020 – One of the leading American daily newspaper, the Washington Post, published an article about Croatia attracting digital nomads from the USA while the rest of Europe banned all travel.

The Washington Post wrote about digital nomads who spent several months in Croatia and Dubrovnik during the coronavirus pandemic, said Ina Rodin, the Croatian National Tourist Board director in the United States.

The article states that many Americans decided to travel thanks to the first direct airline between Croatia and the United States, namely between Dubrovnik and Philadelphia, introduced in June 2019. According to the Croatian National Tourist Board, Americans were the second most numerous guests in Dubrovnik last year, with almost 160,000 arrivals and more than 442,000 overnight stays, writes the Washington Post.

Sarah Morlock, a freelance writer and social media manager from Indiana, who worked remotely and spent October and November in Dubrovnik with her partner, shared her experience with readers. She pointed out that when choosing a place to stay, she is looking for historic cities with preserved nature and a good internet connection, and in that sense, Dubrovnik has fulfilled all her expectations.

Binational couples attracted too

Apart from digital nomads, Croatia is also attractive for binational couples who, due to the coronavirus pandemic and limited travel opportunities, organized their meeting in Croatia.

One of the couples who did so was Justin Leung from the USA and Katja Lau from Germany. They were supposed to meet in San Francisco, but the coronavirus pandemic and lockdown thwarted their plans. Therefore, they decided to find a place that welcomed both Americans and Germans and thus chose to meet in Croatia, where they spent one month.

The Washington Post points out that Dubrovnik is trying to attract digital nomads, so a project to introduce ultra-fast broadband Internet was presented in February. Also, a virtual conference "Dubrovnik for digital nomads" was held in October to encourage them to choose Dubrovnik for their remote office.

Washington Post covers this topic right when the introduction of the digital nomad visa in Croatia is increasingly likely. Namely, TCN reported a new update about digital nomad visas in Croatia today, as the Croatian Digital Nomad Association has officially been founded.

At the beginning of 2021, Croatia will introduce a digital nomad visa, which will make it the second country in Europe and the fifth in the world to welcome digital nomads from all over the world.

Thursday, 26 November 2020

American Family in Croatia: They Left Everything Behind to Travel Europe

November 26, 2020 – Traveling the world during the pandemic may seem impossible for many, but not for one American family in Croatia. Despite the obstacles, they are now living their dream digital nomad lifestyle in Croatia.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, when the countries around the world are closing their borders and traveling is kept to a minimum, one young American couple decided to go the opposite way. On October 4th, they took a one-way flight to Europe to pursue their dream of becoming full-time digital nomads.

And they did it right at the time when the introduction of the digital nomad visa in Croatia is increasingly likely.

For a long time, Victor and Klaudia Gonzalez have had a great desire to travel and show their son Augie the splendor of the world. Like many people, they have always wondered how it is possible to turn travel into a way of life with almost no savings. Little by little, as their desire did not subside, they decided to try their luck and embark on the big life journey of moving abroad, to Croatia.

Croatia affordable and welcoming

However, their journey was not easy, since they almost had no budget at all. They met in college 8 years ago in Michigan, USA. Only three years ago, when Victor was finishing college and their son Augie was a toddler, they were even getting government help to buy food. But then things started to get better.

"When Victor finished college, he got his first full-time job. We moved from Michigan to Colorado, where we caught the travel bug camping and doing hiking trips. One year ago, we decided to make our dream a reality. We sold everything for only 1,000 dollars. We didn’t sell a big house or flat because we didn’t have one, and our car wasn’t worth anything to sell," says the couple, explaining that Klaudia was homeschooling and working from home, while Victor was working between 60 to 70 hours a week to save enough money for a plane ticket to Europe.

"We were ready to leave when my mom was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. We stayed with her until she got better, and she was the one who inspired us to follow our big dream," says Klaudia.

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Gonzalez family pictured on the day they left the USA at the Chicago O'hare Airport in October / Private archive

Although their first plan was to move to Poland, where Klaudia's heritage comes from (their son Augie is also bilingual, speaking both English and Polish), Croatia stuck out as their top choice because it was a welcoming destination for Americans during the pandemic. Besides, they note, Croatia is a safe country with ideal weather and a good connection to the rest of Europe.

"Originally we planned to stay for one month, but the quality of life and the welcoming energy has convinced us to wait until after the holidays. We look forward to seeing the Christmas lights in Zagreb. We’ll be in Croatia for almost 3 full months," the couple says, adding that Croatia and the whole Balkan region is a hidden gem, and is both affordable and welcoming.

From the sea to the mountains

"Croatians are such warm and inviting people. Our Croatian host has become a life-long friend, and when exploring inland Dalmatia, Croatian strangers invited us into their home for cherry liquor and baked goods. We won’t ever forget the hospitality of Croatians!" they say.

For now, they have visited Dubrovnik, Split, and Krka and Plitvice Lakes National Parks, and on their Instagram page The Family Journalists where they share their experiences from Croatia, they did not hide their pleasure.

"For such a small country, Croatia has a diverse landscape. We stayed in a flat next to the sea, and within an hour, we were in inland Dalmatia riding an ATV on the top of Croatia’s second-highest mountain," says this couple whose priority was to have remote careers. Klaudia is a teacher and writer, while Victor is a self-taught software engineer.

Full-time traveling on a budget

Their son Augie enjoys his time in Croatia and is always ready for the next adventure. If you ever meet this family on the street, you will probably hear Augie saying his favorite Croatian word: "Bok!"

The only thing that they miss is their families, who won't be there for their son's fifth birthday this year, which they will be celebrating in Croatia. Their initial plan was to stay in Croatia for one month, but now they decided to stay until spring when Klaudia's parents visit them from the USA.

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Exploring Split and Čiovo island / Private archive

Nevertheless, their return to Croatia is not ruled out.

"With the introduction of the digital nomad visa, it will become even easier for Americans to visit Croatia or come back," Klaudia says.

"We want people to understand that it's possible to travel the world as digital nomads with hard work. It’s possible for those that don’t have a lot of savings to travel full-time by making a budget and visiting more affordable European countries like Croatia. Now we travel with four suitcases and two backpacks as The Family Journalists interviewing locals and sharing stories from around the world," says the happy family.

To read more about digital nomads in Croatia, follow our dedicated page.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Parliament Passes Foreign Nationals Act, No More Annual Quotas for Employment

ZAGREB, November 25, 2020 - The Croatian Parliament on Wednesday passed the new Foreign Nationals Act under which there will no longer be an annual quota for the employment of foreign nationals.

None of the 32 amendments put forward by the opposition were accepted.

Under the new law, the government will no longer establish an annual quota for the employment of foreign nationals, but employers will be obliged to submit a request to the Croatian Employment Service (HZZ) to conduct a labour market test.

If there are no unemployed persons in Croatia that meet employers' criteria, employers will then submit an application for residence and work permits to the Interior Ministry, which then requests an opinion from the HZZ regarding hiring a specific foreign national. The procedure, including the labour market test, will last a maximum of 30 days.

The act also stipulates exceptions to the labour market test, which is not conducted for shortage occupations, such as carpenters, masons, waiters, butchers, and for seasonal work up to 90 days in agriculture, forestry, hospitality and tourism.

The new act also introduces long-stay visas (visa D) in the event that a third-country national is granted temporary residence for work, family reunification, university education, research and secondary education.

Another novelty is a more favourable regulation of temporary and permanent residence for Croats with a foreign citizenship or without a citizenship who have a certificate from the Central State Office for Croats Abroad.

In addition, family members of Croatian nationals can acquire permanent residence under more favourable conditions, as can foreign minors who have been granted temporary residence for a period of three years and one of their parents has been granted permanent residence or long-term residence.

The act also gives the possibility of regulating the temporary residence of digital nomads, that is, foreign nationals who work online for foreign employers.

The new Foreign Nationals Act enters into force on 1 January 2021.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Croatia is One Step Closer to Introducing Digital Nomad Visa

November 11, 2020 – Last week, the Croatian government took the first step to introducing a digital nomad visa. In his statement, Prime Minister Andrej Plenković pointed out that the Law on Foreigners, under which the digital nomad visa is regulated, is an important law.

As Lider Media / Nikolina Oršulić reports, the first concrete regulatory steps have been taken to legalize the residence and work of digital nomads in Croatia. Namely, on Thursday, November 5, 2020, at the Government session, the final proposal of the Law on Foreigners was adopted, which will be sent to the Croatian Parliament.

"I think this is an important law. We are among the first countries to legally regulate the issue of digital nomads, and this will be accompanied by appropriate changes to the law in the tax domain, as well as in the health insurance domain," said Prime Minister Andrej Plenković, announcing further legislative steps.

The idea of launching digital nomad visas was first presented in Croatia by Dutch entrepreneur Jan de Jong, who has been building new business opportunities in Croatia for more than a decade.

"I can say that I am satisfied with the pace at which we are working to bring the legislative package needed to attract digital nomads to Croatia. We are currently making great steps forward in answering health insurance questions. With the Prime Minister's statement, we have an official obligation from the highest political level to continue to make extraordinary efforts to adapt the laws regarding taxation and health insurance. I am happy that Croatia will become the leading country in the world in attracting digital nomads," said the entrepreneur for Lider Media.

The legislative story has heated up, so the initiator of introducing a digital nomad visa is already working on the next step – the establishment of a kind of central point to support digital nomads.

"Since we are going in the right direction, I am working on establishing the Croatian Association for Digital Nomads (Digital Nomad Association Croatia - DNA Croatia) whose mission will be to connect digital nomads in Croatia and support them. We are currently in the process of founding this association," said de Jong, who is entering the project with Tanja Polegubić, a returnee from Australia who runs Saltwater Nomads - remote work and lifestyle services for digital nomads in Split, and Karmela Tancabel, a member of the Ilok Cellars (Iločki podrumi) Marketing and Export Board.

The plan is to complete the legislative part to introduce a digital nomad visa by the end of the year, and visas should be available in the first quarter of 2021. In addition to the legal regulation of the status of digital nomads, the draft of the Law on Foreigners brings some other changes.

"The most important novelty is prescribing a new model of employment of foreigners, according to which the employer must first request the implementation of the labor market test from the Employment Bureau to find labor on the domestic market. If there are no unemployed in Croatia, then a request is sent to the Ministry of the Interior seeking an opinion from the Croatian Employment Service. Exceptions to this test are for deficit professions that are usually used during the season," said Interior Minister Davor Božinović at the Government session.

In the draft of the Law on Foreigners, a digital nomad is defined as a third-country national who is employed or performs business through communication technology for a company or own company that is not registered in the Republic of Croatia and does not perform work or provide services to employers in the Republic of Croatia.

For the latest about the digital nomad scene in Croatia, follow the dedicated TCN news section.

Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Croatia to be Among First Countries to Introduce Digital Nomad Visa: Here's What It Means

September 16, 2020 - Will Croatia be one of the first countries to introduce a digital nomad visa? A closer look into what this means for the country.

Vecernji List reports that digital nomads are people that work online, and all they really need is a high-speed internet connection. Thus, they can have a temporary office on the beach, in a cafe, on a train, in a park, or wherever the internet is fast and accessible enough. For this reason, digital nomads like to switch up the places and countries they work, because they are their own employer or are almost never obliged to meet their employers. They are mostly IT experts, writers, journalists, designers, or various creatives, and there are more and more jobs that can be done remotely due to technological advances and the development of online tools. Soon, digital nomads could become frequent Croatian guests, and Croatia could be one of the few countries in the world that will regulate the status of digital nomads and issue them a digital nomad visa.

The first step has been taken, the institute of digital nomads has been included in the proposal of the Foreigners Act, which had its first reading in Parliament on Friday, and should be debated and adopted by the end of the year and come into force at the beginning of 2021. 

Credit is due to Dutch entrepreneur Jan De Jong, who is mostly responsible for bringing digital nomads to the attention of Croatian legislation. Namely, when asked what Croatia should do to improve its revenues, help Croatian companies survive, and make Croatia a year-round destination, not just a temporary visit for tourists in the three summer months, Jan answered that Croatia needs to regulate the rules on digital nomads, create a digital nomad visa, and open up the country to the world. 

"Unfortunately, we have seen that many Croats leave Croatia solely for economic reasons. They didn't leave because they did not like the lifestyle in Croatia. Who wouldn't want to live in Croatia if you could live here on a German, Austrian, Swiss or Dutch salary? And that's where I see a big new industry emerging in Croatia - digital nomad tourism," wrote Jan De Jong and listed the advantages of Croatia, such as EU membership, great lifestyle, good internet, amazing climate, security, and affordable private health care.

Jan De Jong is interesting from several angles and has been on the Zagreb - Split route living his Croatian dream for almost 14 years. He arrived from the Netherlands to study and stayed. He started a business, successfully sold it, started a new one, and is just about to start another. But this time, we won’t tell you the story of Jan, his companies, his family, and business plans. This is the story of his mission to push Croatia in the direction that unites tourism and work, and of course, consequently generates additional revenues for the state and the economy.

Jan De Jong did not invent digital nomads, the nomad trend strengthened even before the corona crisis, but what he did was openly send a letter to Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic on his Linkedin profile, urging him to address the issue of digital nomads and Croatia's position on that map. The Prime Minister reacted, invited him for an interview, listened to and acknowledged him, and enabled him to explain his initiative to the authorities in the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Tourism, the Ministry of Labor, and the Ministry of Finance. In his open letter, Jan very simply explained why the digital nomad visa is needed.

"Imagine, give these digital nomads the right to come and work from Croatia to the maximum. Twelve months - regardless of citizenship according to the digital nomad visa. Many apartments that are empty out of season could find new tenants. The salaries that digital nomads earn will be spent in Croatia, resulting in a huge boost to our economy through consumption. If we open Croatia to tourists, why not open this country to highly paid digital nomads?" he wrote to the Prime Minister.

Namely, considering his own experience of living and working in Croatia, the development of technology, and the conditions of the corona crisis, Jan De Jong considers Croatia an ideal destination for work, for all those who can work remotely. The result of the first post, which highlights Croatia's advantages, achieved an impressive 300,000+ views, more than 4,000 likes, and a series of messages from people from all over the world, who are seriously considering temporarily moving to Croatia. The main question in the messages was how to run it and defining the conditions that need to be met. A wheel that would enable digital nomadism to be regulated in Croatia has been launched. As Jan De Jong said, he will have a meeting with the Minister of Finance and more concrete talks on models and solutions for digital nomadism in Croatia.

According to his estimate, by the end of the year, we could have a complete model on the table. However, property census, taxes, health care, insurance, accommodation, and residence needs to be resolved. When we talk about digital nomads, in a broader sense of the word, we are talking about those who need only an office and the Internet to work. In the corona crisis, digital nomads also became everyone who moved work in the office to their permanent place of residence, or, for example, to their parent's home or a holiday house. The story is simple when it comes to the migration of people within their own country, but it is a bit more complicated if we talk about residents of European Union countries and the wider European economic area who work remotely, change countries, and rent a house or apartment for an extended period in Croatia.

However, digital nomadism is greatly complicated when we talk about third-country nationals who would like to spend a long time, such as a year, in Croatia, and work for Google, Facebook, or another foreign company or are freelancers. 

The first step, therefore, has been taken, and that is that the Government has passed a proposal for the Foreigners Act, which also includes the term digital nomads when it comes to a residence in Croatia for residents of third countries. The current law does not allow third-country nationals to move to Croatia temporarily, for a longer period of time. To begin with, they need a visa, and when it is granted, it is usually issued for a maximum of three months, and even then it is only a tourist visa, which means that legally, they should not even work in that period.

The new bill would allow digital nomads to work during those three months, and their temporary stay can last a maximum of 12 months, with the proviso that they can request it again only after six months of living abroad. For now, the property census has not been determined, and it is only certain that it will be higher than the one prescribed for, for example, family reunification or other reasons why third-country residents apply for long-term work or residence visas.

However, this part, as well as a number of other parameters that should be regulated such as taxes and insurance, should be adopted separately, by Government decree. As Jan De Jong said, a kind of working group, composed of representatives of the ministries, have started working, and so far, they have been informed about the various forms for countries like Estonia and their regulations. De Jong believes that we should look at Croatia's comparative advantages, that is, how Croatia can be more competitive. For example, who would be a good consumer in Croatia and with what salary, should be discussed.

Digital nomads could become a new revenue-generating trend, especially when it comes to younger age groups, those without families and school children, but perhaps also families who tend to move their lives from destination to destination. It was the corona crisis that pointed to these opportunities, and it seems that the Croatian Prime Minister, at least judging by the reaction on social media after meeting with Jan De Jong, saw an opportunity for Croatia, and said that Croatia would be among the first in the world to introduce a digital nomad visa. The idea of digital nomadism and remote work that would be an additional lure for tourists to come and spend in Croatia has already been embraced and is actively considered in some cities, such as Dubrovnik.

Mayor Mate Frankovic said that they are preparing a lot for this part of tourism. He will soon hold a conference in partnership with Saltwater Workspace and Total Croatia News on the topic of digital nomads, and they already have projects and spaces ready that would be suitable for nomads, from accommodation to coworking spaces. He especially praised his cooperation with one telecommunications company on high-speed internet, because high-speed internet, according to Frankovic, is a very important precondition for attracting these hybrid guest workers.

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