As the pandemic moulds us into an even more digital-first society, workers and employers have come to realise that plenty of jobs can be done entirely online.
With a computer, decent broadband connection and a little self-discipline, you can work from just about anywhere in this new era.
But who says working “from home” has to be your home? Or that “remote working” can’t be truly remote?
Destinations are cottoning on to the opportunities presented by a whole new breed of digital nomads and are offering visas to match. Here are some of the best places to potentially see out the pandemic without having to quit the day job.
Antigua and Barbuda
Antigua and Barbuda is the latest destination to open its doors to digital nomads with a new visa designed for remote workers.
The Caribbean island nation is launching a Nomad Digital Residence scheme, allowing eligible applicants to stay for two years.
“You can work in any part of the world from Antigua as if you were in your office or home,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne said in a statement.
The programme is only open to those earning at least $50,000 (£38,600) a year, and applications cost $1,500 for a single applicant, $2,000 per couple and $3,000 for a family of three.
Applicants will also need to provide proof of adequate health insurance and pay local market rates for access to any healthcare during their time on the islands.
Bermuda is offering year-long stays for people who want to work or study remotely, with a new scheme that launched in August.
The British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic is proposing residencies for visitors aged 18 or over, with requirements including health insurance and proof of employment or enrolment in higher education.
“Remote working has been a growing trend for some time and is something the Bermuda Government has been examining as part of its technology-focused economic diversification strategy,” Bermuda’s minister of labour, Jason Hayward, said in a statement.
“The trend towards remote working has been accelerated by Covid-19. These visitors can reside in Bermuda without seeking employment on the island and will promote economic activity for our country without displacing Bermudians in the workforce.”
The idea behind the scheme is to help kickstart the island nation’s tourism industry and give its economy a boost following the coronavirus pandemic.
A certificate for a year-long stay costs $263 (£207), and Bermuda has also extended its tourist visa from 90 to 180 days (around six months) for those not wanting to commit to such a lengthy stay.
Barbados is allowing remote workers from around the world to relocate to the Caribbean island for a year under a new scheme.
Bajan prime minister Mia Mottley proposed the new policy in response to the impact of coronavirus on travel.
Under the “Barbados Welcome Stamp” scheme, visitors have the option of a year-long stay on the island, following the opening of its borders to international visitors on 12 July.
In a statement, Mottley said: “You don’t need to work in Europe, or the US or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back.
“But in order for those things to truly resonate, what does it mean? It means that what we offer has to be world class and what we continue to offer is world class.”
Chairman of Barbados Tourism Marketing, Sunil Chatrani, said that “the working environment in Barbados definitely enables you to get things done,” adding that Barbados has “the fastest fibre internet and mobile services in the Caribbean”.
He also commended the “range of flexible office space locations.“
Applicants can apply online for the visa, which costs $2,000 (£1,534) for an individual one, or $3,000 (£2,300) for a “family bundle”.
Visa-holders will not have to pay Barbados Income Tax while there.
The Baltic nation is also trying to appeal to remote workers with its new Digital Nomad visa.
The Estonian government voted to amend its Alien Act so that a special visa for stays of up to a year could be launched, with up to 1,800 slots available.
“A digital nomad visa strengthens Estonia’s image as an e-state and thus enables Estonia to have a more effective say on an international scale,” said Estonia Interior Minister Mart Helme when the plan was announced back in June.
The country’s regular tourist visa allows visitors to stay for just three months.
The main stipulation of the new visa is that applicants can prove they will be able to support themselves – they must have an income of at least €3,504 (£3,170) a month.
Although currently UK citizens still have the right to live and work freely in EU countries, such as Estonia, this will undoubtedly change after 31 December 2020, when the Brexit transition period officially ends.
Up-and-coming Georgia in Eurasia has its own new visa scheme, “Remotely From Georgia”, aimed at those who are self-employed or can work remotely.
It’s designed for those looking to work from the country, be they entrepreneurs, freelancers or even salaried employees, for a minimum of 180 days and a maximum of one year.
Residents of 95 countries, including the UK, are welcome to apply, with requirements including a minimum monthly salary of $2,000 (£1,534); proof of health insurance; and a valid passport.
“Happy to announce the launch of a new state program ‘Remotely from Georgia’, allowing citizens of 95 countries to travel and work remotely from Georgia,” tweeted Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia.
“As one of the safest countries in the world during the pandemic, we are ready to safely host international guests.”
But before they can embark upon their new life, all incomers will have to quarantine for 12 days – at their own expense. On the 12th day, visa-holders will be given a PCR test and, if given a negative result, can move freely about the country.
Croatia is also planning to jump on the digital nomad visa bandwagon, accord to the country’s Prime Minister.
Andrej Plenkovic tweeted about the move, stating that Croatia would adjust the Aliens Act to enable a new visa for remote workers.
“[Meeting] with Dutch entrepreneur with a Split address, Jan de Jong, on the new Aliens Act, which will make Croatia one of the first countries in the world to legally regulate the stay of digital nomads,” he posted on social media, along with a picture of himself and de Jong.
However, it’s not official yet, as the changes must still be voted through by Parliament before the visa can be launched. Watch this space.
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