With remote working now a way of life, many employees are learning that they can do their jobs from anywhere in the world as long as they have a stable internet connection and the correct infrastructure such as equipment, professional working conditions, etc. Having been in lockdown for almost a year, the lure of sunny climates, warm beaches, a change of scene and a relaxed environment is being considered more seriously. This not only helps the individual’s wellbeing (and possibly their accompanying dependents) and productivity, but also supports local economies that have been devastated by travel restrictions, closed borders and local lockdowns.
Because of this, more and more countries are creating the Digital Nomad Visa which is also known as the remote worker visas. These are travel permits that legalise the status of travelling professionals and allows them to live and work in that particular country for a limited period of time.
Who is eligible?
Countries issuing digital nomad visas will have their own eligibility requirements, policies, rules and regulations for this visa. As a general rule, applicants must be employed by a foreign company and show proof of employment in the home country. Some countries allow free lancers and digital sub-contractors to apply for this visa on the condition that the local labour market is not affected or taken away from residents. You should also check with your employer that you can work in another country.
What are the requirements?
Whether you are visa exempt or not, once the decision is made to work abroad, a visa application must be submitted and the local government fees paid. You will also need to:
- provide proof of employment;
- meet annual income requirements;
- have valid global health insurance;
- provide a negative COVID-19 test result and
- to quarantine.
Spouse/partners and families are also welcome. However, you will not have access to public funds, so it is advisable that you have sufficient funds for you and your dependents to live, work and remain in that country.
Working remotely as a Digital Nomad in the EU
With the end of free movement, if you are a UK national and would like to work in an EEA country, you will require a Digital Nomad visa if it is available. You will not be able to do productive work on a Schengen visa or a tourist visa. Please contact us for further advice and guidance as local immigration rules will apply.
What are employer considerations?
Employers have already seen an increase in requests for employees to work overseas. Before agreeing to this, we recommend that you consider the following:
- Visa & Immigration – This is the first step to the process. It is important to recognise that employees who have decided to work remotely in an overseas location will require the correct and valid visa. Working on a tourist visa is strictly forbidden. Choosing not to obtain the correct visa will be in breach of local immigration rules and result in serious civil and criminal penalties for the employee and possibly employer too. Please call us to discuss this.
- Payroll – Most remote locations require that the employee continues to be paid in their home country. In most locations, employees are exempt from local income tax. However, there are local tax laws which will need to be taken into consideration and a tax advisor should be consulted.
- Healthcare – Digital Nomads will require global health insurance. Employers should check if the company policies include global cover.
- Local employment laws – It should also consider the impact there will be on the employee intending to take on international remote work. Local employment laws could override your contractual wording.
- Employee Benefits – You will need to discuss this with your employee. There may be benefits within your employment contract which may or may not be used in a foreign country. This could range from the use of a company vehicle to gym memberships.
Finally, there are other considerations such as digital security, travel and immigration costs, time differences, etc. On the positive side, having a member of staff in a different country could lead to overseas connections and business opportunities.