Whereas over the past decade or so, work from home arrangements have been slowly gaining in popularity throughout the world, for employees working in the tech industry or for major multinationals, COVID-19 has taken this a step further. Work from home has been extended to all industries and sizes of businesses, and the forced experience has shown that work from home can in some cases be the rule rather than the exception.
After having been in lock-down or at least having their movements severely restrained, entrepreneurs and employees alike are now putting forward and trying to reconcile the work they do and the location in which they wish to live, at least for a little while.
In this context, it is only logical to note that since 2020, many countries have created a new type of visa often called "digital nomad visa" allowing those entrepreneurs and employees to work from a country other than their country of nationality and also other that the country where their business or employer is based, as a means to support tourism and economic stimulation. Countries offering digital nomad visas are often attractive residence bases for a number of reasons such as low costs of living and warm climates.
"Digital nomad visas" go by many different names, for instance "remote visas", or "freelancer visas". This is a burgeoning visa stream that combines the perks of working remotely with the bonus of living abroad. A digital nomad visa allows the individual the legal right to work remotely in a country other than their country of nationality or country where they business or employer is based. This type of remote work affords individuals to live in a country with a lower cost of living, thus saving more from their earnings. Certain nomad visas also allow foreigners to acquire temporary or even permanent residency afterward in the country where they are working.
Holders of digital nomad visas typically hold a job position that allows them the freedom to work independent of location. While that job description may have traditionally been understood as freelancers or contractors, a growing number of professions now allow remote work since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Typical or traditional 'office positions' have now been adapted to more flexible remote work options, and employees and job seekers are also placing a higher emphasis on flexibility of work locations, and a greater work-life balance. Thus, it is no surprise that the concept of digital nomad visas has experienced a surge of interest.
Currently, there are roughly 28 places that offer a form of a Digital Nomad Visa.
Harvey Law Group has provided an easy reference table with hyperlinks to the relevant official sources below:
Present and Future Impacts
Following this trend, other countries from Central America to Europe, to Africa and Asia are also exploring or opening digital nomad visa streams shortly. Several countries with forthcoming visa plans include Belize, Costa Rica, Greece, Indonesia, North Macedonia, Romania, Thailand, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.
As the concept of 'work from home' has become ubiquitous, the "digital nomad visa" has also grown in popularity. As such, Harvey Law Group foresees that digital nomad visas as an alternative avenue to explore for individuals seeking immigration, travel or work abroad.
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