Before the pandemic, digital nomad visas did not really exist even though this lifestyle has been on the rise for years.
As tourism industries were decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the shift towards remote work accelerated across the world with countries offering new incentives to attract more “long-term” tourists. Trying to recoup losses in the tourism industry, countries realised that if you can work from home, you can work from anywhere.
Popular destinations for digital nomads are Thailand, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Bali with the latter gaining prominence amongst Australian remote workers, due to its proximity.
Indonesia also announced earlier this month that it will allow travellers entering the country on its tourist visa, B211A, to work for a foreign company during their stay, without having to pay foreign worker tax or salary tax. People will be able to get extensions on their initial 60-day visa, and stay in the country for up to six months. The country is also developing a special visa for digital nomads called the “Indonesia Second Home Visa” that will eventually allow people to do work remotely in Indonesia for several years, according to SBS News.
In Europe, Greece tops the list for digital nomads, according to a recent article published in euronews.next, as the Greek government has been offering digital nomad visas valid for 12 months, if you can provide evidence of sufficient funds, €3,500 per month and proof of employment outside of Greece.
The idea of “digital nomads” was included in Greece’s Immigration Code (Law 4251/2014) in September last year (Law 4825/2021), to allow non-EU citizens to legally live in Greece, as they work remotely. Among the other top destinations for remote workers in Europe are the Czech republic, Croatia, Portugal and Estonia.
Co-working spaces and hubs, have popped up along with Facebook groups with thousands of digital nomads, sharing their experiences, offering tips to others who are embracing this new way of living.
According to SBS, since Estonia introduced the first digital nomad visa in 2019, more and more countries have launched their own programs.
Early in 2021 there were 21 countries offering these types of visas. Since then the list has increased to 47 countries and it continues to grow.
Among the countries offering these types of visas are Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Andorra, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, Canada, Cayman Islands, Colombia, Croatia, Curaçao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Dominica, Dubai, Ecuador, Estonia, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Montserrat, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Romania, St. Lucia, Seychelles, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, and Thailand.
The digital nomad visas are generally open to any foreign nationals who are working for an overseas company, whilst some countries also allow self-employed, students and freelancers to apply.
More and more countries are even tyring to attract foreign workers with extras, such as Zadar in Croatia, who are offering a package of paid accommodation, free co-working space, and special events.
For employers, on the other hand, these visas enable them to offer more flexible working arrangements without the additional tax and regulatory liabilities.
Companies offering flexible working arrangements may be able to set themselves apart from their competitors, allowing them to capture talented individuals from anywhere in the world.