Since the outbreak of COVID-19, working from home has become the new normal for most of us.
Yes, we have struggled to adjust to the new work style of being constantly available at work and home, but the situation has also made us realize that our job demands can be met from anywhere. Most of us have started to explore more options in terms of work locations as we got bored of working at the table, bed or couch with the same view.
As a result, a number of exotic destinations that have seen their tourism income almost disappear over the past few months are using the situation to their advantage. They are providing extended visas to remote workers in an effort to pump capital into their economies.
Here are eight of the most gorgeous destinations currently vying for remote workers.
Renowned for its coral reefs and beaches, Anguilla is a beautiful place to visit, and remote workers now have the opportunity to live and work on the 35-square-mile Caribbean island, thanks to a new initiative.
In an attempt to attract “digital nomads,” the British Overseas Territory is offering extended visas. Successful applicants will be able to spend between three months and a year in the country, according to the Anguilla Tourist Board.
Although everyone can apply, Anguilla, which has recorded only three cases of COVID-19 and no deaths, prioritizes those from countries considered low risk, where the “prevalence of the coronavirus is less” than 0.2 percent.
For individuals staying under three months the fee, which includes two COVID-19 tests as well as a digital work permit, is $1,000 while it is $2,000 for those staying between three months and a year.
A family of four staying less than three months would be required to pay a $1,500 fee, which, if they intend to be on the island between three and 12 months, doubles to $3,000.
Aruba is also offering itself to those still working from home. However its “One Happy Workation” initiative is primarily targeted at travelers from the United States.
The newly introduced scheme, available to anyone with a valid US passport, allows employees to live and work in Aruba for up to 90 days, while offering exclusive rates at a number of hotels and resorts, with benefits such as free Wi-Fi and all-inclusive meals, discounts and experience add-ons.
While there is no charge for the program that aims to generate income for Aruban companies to help improve the local economy,” in order to apply, candidates must book one of the accommodation packages for at least seven days. The participating accommodations include the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino, the Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino and the Ritz-Carlton, Aruba.
Applicants must either be employed by a company or registered in their home country as self-employed and are not authorized to provide services and receive income from any Aruban company or individual without an additional work or business permit.
However, they will not be required to pay income tax.
Aruba visitors must adhere to the COVID-19 entry criteria of the island, such as buying Aruba Visitors Insurance, which costs around $15 per person per day.
In the aftermath of the pandemic, Barbados was one of the first Caribbean destinations to initiate an exciting program for remote workers.
The “12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp,” revealed back in July, provides travelers with the opportunity to move their home office to the beautiful island for up to a year.
The program is targeted at anyone whose job is independent of location” and applicants have the option of relocating with their families.
“COVID-19 has changed the global business landscape as a larger number of people continue to work from home,” Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said in a statement. “With this new visa, we can provide workers with an opportunity to spend the next 12 months working remotely from paradise, here in Barbados.”
For the period they are residing on the island, interested applicants would need to fill out an online application form and provide proof of employment, as well as an income statement of at least $50,000 annually.
For individuals, there is a $2,000 non-refundable charge and $3,000 for families, which is payable until the application is approved.
Those who are accepted will not be liable to the Barbados Income Tax and renewal can be requested by workers who plan to stay longer than 12 months.
“We have a mechanism that allows people who want to take advantage of being in a different part of the world, of the sun, sea and sand, and a stable society; one that functions well,” adds Mr. Mottley. “Barbados is a perfect place for you to come.”
All visitors to the island, which has registered 185 cases of COVID-19 and seven deaths, will be expected to request a negative test result and to undergo a health examination upon arrival.
Bermuda also wishes that remote workers will be convinced to move their home office to its beautiful shores.
The “One Year Residential Certification” program enables travelers to work remotely for a year in the self-governing British Overseas Territory, known for its sandy beaches and clear waters, while those with children are permitted to enroll them in private or public schools on the island.
The scheme is available to “remote executives, self-employed entrepreneurs and university students engaged in remote learning,” according to a statement by Bermuda Premier David Burt.
“If you are working remotely from home, please take the opportunity to explore the option of working remotely from Bermuda for the next year,” says Mr. Burt, before describing the island’s COVID-19 testing regime as “the most stringent” in the world.
“No need to be trapped in your apartment in a densely populated city with the accompanying restrictions and high risk of infection; come spend the year with us working or coding on the water,” he said.
Cayman Islands (Britain)
The Cayman Islands offers high-earning remote workers the opportunity to boost “their work-life balance with sun, sand, sea and safety” by moving for up to two years to the British Overseas Territory.
The Caribbean destination unveiled its Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP), which is open to digital nomads with a minimum annual salary of $100,000, shortly after its borders were reopened to travelers.
“Global Citizen Concierge provides the perfect opportunity for remote workers to live the life of their dreams on our idyllic shores and amongst our Caymankind people,” says Moses Kirkconnell, the islands’ deputy premier and tourism minister, referencing its Caymankind tourism campaign.
“Remote workers can now spend up to two years living and working in the Cayman Islands — reinvigorating their nine-to-five schedules with Caymankindness and elevating their work-life balance with sun, sand, sea and safety in Cayman.”
Those who plan to stay as a couple need to earn $150,000 income a year, and those with a child need to earn $180,000. Applicants with children are expected to enroll them in a homeschooling or local private school program.
Workers are required to provide proof of their earnings, proof of employment with an entity outside the Cayman Islands and a notarized bank reference letter in order to qualify.
There is also a requirement for a valid passport and proof of health insurance or the means to cover any health expenses incurred during their stay at the destination.
For up to two persons, the non-refundable application fee is $1,469, while each dependent is paid an additional $500. For those who pay by credit card, there’s also a 7 percent processing fee.
Launched in October, the one-year virtual work program” in Dubai allows remote employees based overseas, as well as their families to live for up to twelve months in the glamorous UAE emirate.
Employees must earn at least $5,000 a month, have valid medical insurance and a passport with at least six months of validity left to be eligible.
Those who are accepted will be given access to all services required, such as local bank services, while those with children will be able to enroll them in local schools.
Remote employees will also be able to benefit from the taxation scheme of the UAE as income tax is not levied on individuals by the sovereign state.
“The global pandemic has changed how we live and work,” Helal Saeed Almarri, director general of Dubai’s department of tourism and commerce marketing, said in a statement.
“As multinationals and leading start-ups across the world accelerate their rates of digital adoption, the need to be physically present to fulfil professional responsibilities has been redefined.
“Dubai is uniquely positioned to offer a safe, dynamic lifestyle opportunity to these digitally savvy workers and their families while they continue to work remotely, whether it is for a couple of months or an entire year.”
The program fee is $287, plus a per-person processing fee. Applicants will still need to purchase medical insurance that is valid with UAE coverage.
While the scheme is valid for one year a renewal may be applied for by remote employees at the end of their stay.
Georgia may not be the most obvious destination for remote workers to move to but one of the most flexible packages is being provided by the beautiful former Soviet country situated between the Black Sea and the Caucasus.
‘Remotely from Georgia,’ enables remote employees from 95 countries including the United States, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, to live and work there for at least a year without a visa.
Known for its snow-capped mountains and historic villages, prior to the pandemic, Georgia had witnessed a tourism boom, with five million tourists visiting in 2019, a 7% increase from the year before.
Although it has been praised for its effective coronavirus response, its tourism revenue has been practically wiped out over the past few months.
Officials now hope that Georgia’s significant progress in keeping the virus under control would persuade remote workers to temporarily move to the nation with a population of approximately 3.7 million.
“Georgia has the image of an epidemiologically safe country in the world, and we want to use this opportunity,” Georgia’s economy minister Natia Turnava said in a statement released back in July.
“We are talking about opening the border in a way to protect the health of our citizens, but, on the other hand, to bring to Georgia citizens of all countries who can work remotely.”
The program is targeted at freelancers, full-time employees or business owners who can stay for at least 360 days in Georgia but is applicable to all remote workers. Applicants must have a minimum wage of $2,000 per month to be considered and agree to a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense on arrival.
Proof of health insurance is also mandatory for the duration of the stay.
Mauritius (East Africa)
Mauritius is joining the list of far-flung destinations that provide digital nomads with enticing remote work packages.
But its upcoming Premium Travel Visa, is somewhat different from any of the other schemes as it isn’t specifically geared towards remote workers.
Along with those wishing to live and work remotely in Mauritius for up to a year, tourists, retirees and parents with children studying on the island can also apply.
Applicants would need to provide documentation that they intend to live on the island for an extended period of time and have adequate health insurance coverage and accommodation.
So, which of these beautiful locations would you prefer to sit down and work at?