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1st Floor Lona House
212 Upper Buitengracht
Bo Kaap, Cape Town, 8001

Jaime-Lee Gardner
072 171 1979

Louise Martin
073 335 4084

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How to turn the digital nomad dream into a reality in 2021

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How to turn the digital nomad dream into a reality in 2021

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3 min read

With a promising vaccine on the horizon, life is slowly returning to what it was pre-pandemic, but a future of remote working is definitely not off the cards. Companies around the world have been forced to extend their remote-working policies well into 2021, and are starting to consider more flexible working styles beyond that, both to reduce their overhead costs, and to support employee productivity and wellbeing.

On the other hand, countries that are heavily reliant on tourism and business travellers as their sole income are grasping at ways to entice foreigners back to their shores. Several are already ahead of the pack, having introduced a new type of visa that allows longer-term stays, especially to cater for remote working. If you’re up for some new scenery in 2021, or fancy setting up your office on a sandy white beach, then you might want to take advantage of these new visas.

Mauritius’s Premium Travel Visa

In November 2020, Mauritius became the most recent country to announce a new visa programme and, with only a four-hour flight from Johannesburg, it is especially attractive to South Africans. The new Premium Travel Visa is available to all non-citizens, and valid for up to a year (although it can be renewed).

If you’re interested, you will need to book a flight and arrive on the island as a tourist. You will then need to show proof that your main source of income is from outside Mauritius, and that you have long-term accommodation and travel and health insurance coverage for at least the initial part of your stay. You may not attempt to enter the Mauritius labour market.

You will also be required to follow a set of guidelines, including complying with basic immigration requirements, and quarantining for 14 days at an approved facility upon arrival. You will also need to take a pre-departure PCR test, an on-arrival test, and follow-up tests during your quarantine period.

An arrival concierge service will soon be set up to help new residents find homes, cars, banking services and telecoms, and it is anticipated that Premium Travel Visa holders won’t need to leave the country to renew their visa, in order to help keep the island more Covid-secure.

Barbados’s Welcome Stamp Visa

Introduced in July 2020, this visa allows visitors to work remotely from the island for a year at a time, and the best part is that you can bring your family. You will need to show that you have an expected yearly income of at least $50,000, and will need to shell out $2,000 per individual application, or $3,000 for a family one.

You will need to submit documents like passport photos and a copy of your birth certificate on the dedicated website, and also show proof of the work that you will be doing on the island. The programme is open to anyone, and approval can come in less than seven days.

For more information:

Work from Bermuda Certificate

Application for Bermuda’s year-long residency scheme costs $263, and is made via the government’s website. You must have your own health insurance in place, and show proof of employment or enrolment in higher education. Family members and dependants are able to apply too, but they must make a separate application and pay a separate fee. All related applications must be submitted on the same day. If successful, your visa can arrive within five business days, via email.

Antigua and Barbuda

The Nomad Digital Residence Programme allows visitors to live and move freely across the two islands, and benefit from Antigua and Barbuda’s personal income tax-free status. You will need to apply online and upload passport-size photographs, a copy of your passport, birth certificate, marriage certificate and evidence of health insurance. You will also need to provide a police clearance for each applicant, and proof of employment and available funds to support your stay (ideally you should have an expected income of no less than $50,000).

A single application costs $1,500, an application for a couple costs $2,000, and a family application for three people or more costs $3,000. If successful, your visa will be emailed to you and will be valid for a period of two years.

Dubai’s Virtual Working Programme

Remote workers from all over the world can relocate to Dubai for a period of a year – with or without families. Application costs $287, but there are added costs for medical insurance with valid UAE coverage, and a processing fee that is dependent on nationality.

To be eligible for this programme, you must show proof of employment with a minimum salary of $5,000 per month. You can apply online, and expect to have a result within two weeks.

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