Ever wanted the freedom to travel wherever you please, whilst making money? Or to live the life of a digital nomad, setting up your office in a beachside café for the day on a paradise island? As coronavirus has made remote working the norm, suddenly, radical options such as these don’t seem so crazy. In this article, we take a look at the countries actively inviting remote workers, offering specialised visas as well as a number of other incentives.
After months of cramped conference calls in tiny shared apartments, swapping pyjama tops for a white shirt and eventually giving up on the desk to eat, sleep and work in bed, some people have had enough. Sure, there have been plenty of benefits: no long commutes, more time for partners, and the comfort of your own home; but some people are starting to seek out better arrangements. Some are subletting their flats and fleeing to the fresh air of the countryside. Others are seizing the opportunity to sample living abroad. Others still are going even further, seeking out paradise islands and swapping Starbucks for sandy beaches. Noticing this trend with remote workers, some countries are seizing the opportunity to welcome them, offering visas, accommodation options and more.
(Please note that as of September 2022, readers are encouraged to check each respective program to see the latest requirements or status).
This beautiful country on the border between Europe and Asia is offering free visas to those wishing to come and stay as a remote worker. Workers simply need to fill out an application, get travel insurance and quarantine for two weeks when entering, before gaining unrestricted access to life in Georgia. From the beautiful cave city of Vardzia, to the beautiful ruins of Narikala Fortress, this country is bursting with cultural heritage and natural beauty. The country is also very cheap compared to Western Europe, making daily living costs much lower.
If there was anywhere that deserved the term ‘paradise’, it is Barbados. For a fee of $2000 ($3000 for families), Barbados is offering remote workers a 12-month visa. However, the terms of the contract demand that you must have an income of over $50,000 a year. For those lucky enough to be in that position, the door is open for a year of golden sands, turquoise sea and uninterrupted luxury and relaxation. Just don’t forget to do a bit of work in between your beach days!
Back in Eastern Europe, Estonia is also offering a new Digital Nomad Visa, for workers to come and stay for up to a year. Again, this country unfortunately has a minimum earn threshold of €3504 per month; but the visa itself costs only €100. Estonia itself is famous for its gorgeous natural scenery and medieval cities. The nation’s capital, Tallinn, is also a rapidly up-and-coming city, with a thriving arts scene and distinct, UNESCO protected, orange-roofed houses.
Known as the place you go to and never come back from, perhaps you too will get sucked in by the beauty of this remote island. By providing documentation and proof of health insurance, as well as proof of a ‘continuous source of income’ (supposedly no minimum), a year-long visa can be yours for $263. With glorious pastel coloured buildings, the impossibly turquoise shorelines and even pink sand beaches, stepping out in Bermuda is like stepping out of reality and into pure paradise.
Offering discounts and ‘access to special local experiences’, Aruba stands out from the crowd by offering a ‘Happy Workation’. This is more than simple visa access. Aruba is offering a lot more, advertises its package as a luxurious, extended holiday. Though the Visa scheme extends only up to 3-month long stints, there are no fees and no minimum income, making it open to all. Simply book one of their specially chosen hotels or villas, (hotels are equipped with kitchens), and enjoy your relaxing getaway in the sun.
Our final destination is Anguilla, another Caribbean island offering a year long visa. With its 33-white sandy-beaches and reefs, Anguilla is a sun seeker dream, as well as the place to go for fans of snorkelling, diving and adventure. The fee is $1,000 for under three months, and $2,000 for a year. Families are also allowed, with the fee increasing to $3,000.
Despite not advertising specifically for remote workers, plenty of other countries could offer similar opportunities. Many countries have visas that extend all the way up to 90 days, meaning at least a three-month stint in paradise. Otherwise, it may be possible to ‘cheat’ visa restrictions by hopping across a border and back, effectively restarting the clock. Some landlords, whose properties have stood empty for months during the pandemic will be hugely grateful to negotiate a short rental contract with prospective remote workers, meaning a villa escape could be on the cards.
In some cases, students are even subletting their accommodation at university, to club together on a holiday villa for months on end abroad. Of course, at this time, it is vital to keep checking your government's travel advice, and not behave irresponsibly. However, with a little creativity, it might be that you are able to gain a little slice of paradise out of this terrible year after all.