Before the pandemic, visas for digital nomads didn’t really exist, although this lifestyle has been on the rise for years.
As the tourism industry was decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021, the shift toward remote working accelerated around the world, with countries offering new incentives to attract more “long-term” tourists. In trying to recoup losses in the tourism industry, countries realized that if you can work from home, you can work from anywhere.
Popular destinations for digital nomads include Thailand, Greece, Spain, Portugal and Bali, with the latter gaining traction among Australian teleworkers due to its proximity.
Indonesia also announced earlier this month that it will allow travelers entering the country on its B211A tourist visa to work for a foreign company during their stay without having to pay foreign employee taxes or payroll taxes. People can extend their original 60-day visa and stay in the country for up to six months. According to SBS News, the country is also developing a special visa for digital nomads called “Indonesia Second Home Visa,” which will eventually allow people to work remotely in Indonesia for several years.
In Europe, according to a recent article published in euronews.next, Greece tops the list of digital nomads as the Greek government offers digital nomad visas valid for 12 months if you can prove sufficient funds, €3,500 per month and proof of employment outside Greece.
The idea of “digital nomads” was introduced into the Greek Immigration Law (Law 4251/2014) in September last year (Law 4825/2021) to allow non-EU citizens to live legally in Greece as they are from the work remotely. Other top teleworker destinations in Europe include the Czech Republic, Croatia, Portugal and Estonia.
Coworking spaces and hubs have emerged along with Facebook groups with thousands of digital nomads sharing their experiences and offering tips for others embracing this new way of life.
Since Estonia introduced the first digital nomad visa in 2019, more and more countries have launched their own programs, according to SBS.
At the beginning of 2021, 21 countries offered this type of visa. Since then, the list has grown to 47 countries and continues to grow.
Countries offering this type of visa include Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Bermuda, Cabo Verde, the 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.
Digital nomad visas are generally open to any foreign national working for a foreign company, while some countries also allow self-employed people, students, and freelancers to apply.
More and more countries are even trying to attract foreign workers with extras, such as Zadar in Croatia, which offers a package of paid accommodation, free co-working space, and special events.
On the other hand, these visas allow employers to offer more flexible work arrangements without additional tax and regulatory obligations.
Companies that offer flexible working arrangements can potentially set themselves apart from their competitors and attract talented individuals from around the world.