The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way we behave. The same change can be observed in our work life. Employers switched to a ‘work from home’ policy for their employees due to lockdowns worldwide. The notion of ‘staying where you work’ is now a thing of the past. Now people can do all of their work in the comfort of their home. Hence, you can work from any part of the world, as long as you have a stable internet connection. You can become digital nomads, given that the laws are supposed to get relaxed in the coming years. Mainly, it can be attributed to the fact that various countries’ travel sector has been badly affected. Once the pandemic is under control, the nations would want to relax the rules to boost the tourism industry through these ‘remote work visas.’
Remote Work Visa – Sounds interesting
Due to the lockdown, several travel restrictions were imposed. Short term trips are now discouraged due to time and money consuming testing and probable quarantine. Hence, the tourism sector is facing a significant loss. Several countries, thus, are issuing ‘remote work visas.’ It will allow you to work almost anywhere globally and stay there for a significant amount of time. It will help you to change the concepts of work and travel. ‘Digital Nomads’ are the remote workers who use means of telecommunications to work. They can work from anywhere and can conduct their life in a nomadic manner. Issuing remote work visas will be an excellent boon for digital nomads as they will not have to deal with visa issues.
Places that are issuing various travel programs
The year 2020 saw a few places to open their borders for tourists as soon as the lockdowns were eased. It has helped them boost the local economy by asking visitors to work at the comfort of a novel place. Some of these countries are:
- Dubai in the United Arab Emirates was one place where you can apply for a one-year virtual program. It allows you to stay for one year in the city and your family while you work for a foreign company. All you need to do is prove that you earn more than USD 5000/month, pay a fee of USD 287, valid medical insurance, and a valid passport for at least six months.
- Antigua and Barbuda have launched the ‘Nomad Digital Residence Scheme,’ which will allow you to work for any company located in any part of the world. The Caribbean country will allow you to stay for about two years if you earn USD 50000 annually.
- Aruba offers a sweet deal to all digital nomads. You will be able to stay there for 90 days, work, and get offers at hotels, rental homes, and chain resorts. The program is called ‘One Happy Workation.’
- The European Union joined the trend when the Republic of Estonia launched ‘digital nomad visa’ back in August 2020. It would be best if you fell under a particular income bracket, and the application costs around $94. This will allow you to stay in the country for about a year while you work remotely.
- Portugal has launched a scheme where you can get temporary residence. However, you need to prove that your skills are wanted in the country.
Apart from these countries mentioned above, you can get remote working visas in Germany, Spain, Mexico, Czech Republic, Cayman Islands, Georgia, Bermuda, Barbados.
Is it all good?
While working from your ideal vacation spot might seem like a dream come true, you need to be extremely careful before you make that choice. It would be best to look after some serious legal complications before deciding to apply for a remote work visa. These legal complications can arrive both in your home as well as your host country.
For example, all permanent citizens of America are obligated to file their taxes, no matter where they stay to work. You may have to choose between claiming credit for the tax that has been paid in the foreign country or excluding the foreign income from the taxes they file. You cannot claim both at the same time.
If you decide to move away to any other place in the UK, the local employment rules of the host country might apply to you. Even if you want to leave the job, you might have to consider getting legal advice from local advocates. If you are obligated to pay taxes in the UK, you may need to pay them. In the United Kingdom, a permanent citizen is expected to pay his/her income tax along with National Insurance Contributions (NICs). But you might also need to pay local taxes, depending on the host country you choose.
Apart from such issues, there are other problems that you might need to deal with, such as data protection problems, check whether your medical insurance works outside your country, losing money on attempts to get your salary in a foreign country, etc. But no matter what you choose to do, you need to inform your employer.
All boils down to the employers
Even if you successfully procure a remote working visa, the final decision resides with your employers. Whether or not you will be able to change your location is based on what your company decides. But don’t worry as a lot of companies are in favor of this.
At Microsoft’s conference named ‘The New Future of Work,’ major companies will introduce flexible work policies in Autumn 2020. Seventeen companies, such as Twitter, have already announced that they can work remotely for an indefinite amount of time. Google employees can choose to work from any place in the world till the summer of 2021.
Surprisingly, in 1997, a Japanese technologist named Tsugio Makimoto predicted the current scenario where digital nomads will be common, and countries will have to compete with each other for residents. It will lead to a decrease in ‘materialism’ and ‘nationalism’ – the two concepts on the rise before the emergence of covid-19.
Our remote working visas are the new future of work culture? Will it help the locals of the host country to thrive? Or will big organizations take over their business? Only time will tell.