With the huge rise in remote working due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a growing number of professionals are choosing to ditch the office permanently, and taking the opportunity to become location-independent travellers or ‘digital nomads’ - a type of professional who lives and works while travelling the globe, often staying in hotels, hostels, rental homes or recreational vehicles for short periods of time.
Now that borders are starting to reopen and flights are taking off again, the dream of being a digital nomad is a real possibility once more. In fact, because more and more people have taken their work online to comply with personal distancing recommendations, many are realising they can continue doing that into the future - working virtually from different locations all over the world, perhaps on a tropical island and in a more affordable location.
Companies too are looking into the potential of long-term remote work, and are no longer requiring employees to be in the office every day of the week, or even at all, promising ongoing flexible remote-working opportunities in 2021 and beyond.
While the digital nomad lifestyle was already gaining steam pre-COVID, the trend has risen in popularity once again due to some countries’ need for visitors. Resorts and destinations have a vested interest in driving travellers to visit, mainly because global tourism is down and the industry has suffered major losses in the last year.
So countries are finding creative ways to fill financial gaps by incentivising foreign travellers to take trips again. Digital nomads are taking advantage of these incentives and the chance to travel, especially as the vaccine becomes widely distributed and international travel returns.
A growing number of countries are changing their immigration policies and introducing new digital nomad visas to encourage professionals to come live and work remotely in their country for extended periods of time. Here are just some of the hot spots worth considering if you’re ready to switch things up post-COVID and experience life as a digital nomad.
Georgia is offering a digital nomad visa dubbed ‘Remotely from Georgia.’ To be eligible, you need to either own a location-independent business or work remotely for a company based outside of Georgia. The visa is valid for a minimum of 180 days.
Finland has introduced “digital nomad visas” to lure more professionals from across the globe to stay and work there for a year, while the Greek government are incentivising digital nomads to work from within their borders.
The Portuguese island of Madeira is taking things one step further by creating what it terms a "digital nomad village”, offering free workspaces for those staying a month or more.
The “Work from Bermuda” digital nomad visa allows remote workers to stay in the country for up to a year. Aimed at professionals who normally work from home, they hope the new visa will attract long-term travellers who want to base themselves from an island destination.
Both Barbados and Estonia have introduced long-stay visas for people who want to work remotely from sandy beaches or cobbled streets. The “Barbados Welcome Stamp” is a 12-month working holiday visa allowing visitors to work remotely from the island; while Estonia’s Digital Nomad Visa allows international workers the chance to live there for up to a year with peace of mind that they can legally work.
Dubai has also announced a Remote Work Visa which allows anyone to live and work in the UAE for up to a year. Other countries such as Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean, Iceland, Germany, Mauritius, Costa Rica and more, are also offering similar arrangements which will no doubt entice those looking to adopt the trending digital nomadic lifestyle.