Updated: May 2
Does this blog even need an introduction? Who wouldn't accept a ticket to any country in the world right now to end their solitary confinement? We are all craving a holiday right now... but why not stay abroad a little longer?
This is such a unique time in history, companies are reforming their practices to encourage remote work. It is estimated that over two-thirds of organisations (74%) plan to permanently shift employees to remote work after the Covid- 19 crisis.
Remote work is here to stay. So why not move abroad legally?
The Digital Nomad Visa is an incentive that has arisen out of the Covid crisis, which has seen many countries suffer economically due to the lack of tourism.
Prior to Covid, there were a few factors which made it difficult to stay abroad for an extended period of time:
-Individuals without a "strong" passport (such as a G-20 country passport) faced a lot of difficulties entering some countries due to the restrictions imposed by the countries.
- With any passport, the average tourist visa which only lasts for 30-90 days.
- Many individuals and organisations have faced legal challenges over the issue of where taxes will be paid. Organisations have tried to bypass this by referring to employees as "operating out" of the organisation's location.
The Digital Nomad visa alleviates these issues by allowing and encouraging individuals to relocate abroad for an extended period of time.
Lets define a Digital nomad for clarification
It is important to know what you identify as in order to find the visa which is most suitable for your requirements.
Digital nomads are nomadic, spending a few months in one location and earning a living while working. They are not paid to travel, they generate an income through an organisation or their services, which differentiates them from say a couch-surfer or traveler. Their working life makes it possible for them to travel for extended periods of time. They do not by definition have a set home.
Entrepreneur runs a business or businesses. The Merriam Webster dictionary defines this as “one who organizes, manages and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.”
Travelpreneur is a lot like an entrepreneur. The travelpreneur usually has travel related services or products at the forefront of their entrepreneurial endeavours.
Remote worker's are literally workers who have been allowed to/ can work remotely.
Freelancer do not technically have to move locations. They are self- employed. They can be working either full or part time, and their services can range from a one-off projects to long-term consistent services.
The Digital Nomad Visa is designed for people who want to live a location independent lifestyle- continuing to work but in different locations for an extended period of time.
It can be extremely easy to obtain and can allow you to reside in a country for as long as three years with the possibility of extension. Many, if not all of the visas require individuals to have a location independent business or to work for a company outside of the chosen country. The Expert Vagabond lists18 countries which have now launched their version of a Digital Nomad Visa which includes Mexico, Dubai,and Estonia, among others.
We are so close to freedom guys, let's make the most of it!
Be a conscious Nomad--y
This new visa will change life completely as we know it. How-ev-er, it is important to be aware of the wider consequences these changes will have.
Globally the tourism industry generates US$1trillion annually, many developing countries rely on tourism as a main source of income:
'Tourism is the main source of foreign exchange for one-third of developing countries and one-half of less economically developed countries (LEDCs.)'
Developing countries will benefit massively by the implementation of this permit, as we tend to be attracted to visiting developing countries for our vacations. As nomads spend more time in these countries, they will spend more money. As a result, we may start to see a shift in the Global economy. Countries such as Indonesia have experienced a massive influx of Digital Nomads who stay short term, it is widely known now as a nomad "hub." There is currently a petition to push for the establishment of a long-term nomad visa there.
Not only are nomads a massive income generator, they are also a low-cost option to boosting the economy. This is due to the fact that nomads travel often, they are less likely to use the government services such as the healthcare or education systems, yet they inject a lot of capital into the country during their stay.
With technology evolving and more companies encouraging remote working, this is an excellent opportunity for anyone looking for a change of pace.
We spend one-third of our lives at work, why not make this time memorable?
As we roam the planet, living freely as our ancestors once lived, we may actually start to become more isolated. The benefit of having a stable environment is the stability of traditional relationships and support systems around you. It can be difficult to maintain strong connections and to find communities where you feel like you belong if your environment is constantly changing.
There are, however, new communities popping up as a result of the collective need to combat this solitary lifestyle such as influencer/hype houses for content creators or more niche groups like the black girls pole retreats.
It is important to keep in mind that the visas have an income threshold requirement including a minimum salary requirement, some visas also require income tax payments. You need to be disciplined enough to work and play.
The social impact of our travels is another factor to be aware of during your venture. There have been so many cases of areas that have been tainted by the over-commercialisation and commodification to cater to the tourist, this leads to the area losing it's authentic charm.
It is super important (and rewarding) to try to assimilate or accommodate, and to respect the culture that you are arriving to.
Gentrification is another massive factor to be conscious of. The Digital Nomad Visa will result in a mass migration of individuals across the world. A large concentration of tourists in an area may cause the price of real estate, local services and products to skyrocket, thus driving out the local population. It may be a really cool and adventurous idea to consider more off-beaten, rural locations.
Personally, I believe that the Working Holiday Visa may actually be a better option for younger individuals who may not be able to make the consistency of the income requirements of the Digital Nomad Visa. The Working Holiday Visa is extremely popular with travellers looking to relocate to Australia, Canada or Asia, and includes a whole host of participating countries.
'The Working holiday programs are reciprocal agreements between two countries that allow citizens from both places to travel, live and work for extended periods of time. That means you can only get a visa for countries that have a special agreement with your home country.'
The visa allows you to live and work in the country for between 6 months to 2 years at a time. Some countries have a limit on how many times you can participate, whilst others do not. The eligibility requirements also vary from country to country.
I applied for an IEC Working holiday visa to Canada. The process was super easy (4- steps) and I got my visa within a week. I may blog about the experience in the future if this topic is requested.