Tech Savvy – Will Travel: The Rise of the Digital Nomad

Digital Nomad photo credit: Wikipedia

Last year was the year Brexit restricted the right of millions of people to travel and work in 27 EU countries, thus ending not only the freedom of movement for people to come to the Kingdom United but also to go abroad.

The situation was also made worse by the global Covid 19 pandemic which saw a huge shutdown across the world where people could not go on vacation or visit countries for work.

While all of this was going on, there was an almost unnoticed offsetting trend that sees massive new opportunities for young people and tech-savvy people to leave the UK and US and work elsewhere.

Countries across Europe and much of the rest of the world are scrambling to attract bright young entrepreneurs and tech-savvy to come, live and work there with special visas and tax incentives and ignoring normal restrictions. – including the news imposed by the EU after leaving the UK – to prevent people from staying there.

The post Covid 2022 could be the year of the rise of the digital nomad – that free young person who, with a laptop, can run a business anywhere, in any country.

This phenomenon was highlighted this weekend on the Dispatches Europe site which has just launched an updated guide to deal with the growing number of countries now offering opportunities.

The link to the guide is here. Basically much of Europe is covered and the range of locations goes from the Arctic Circle to the Caribbean.

For the more adventurous, the most extraordinary place is Svalbard – a Norwegian island closer to the North Pole than Oslo! You don’t even need a visa to live there – just an address and a job – and you can stay there for as long as you want. It’s cold – in the summer the sun is shining 24 hours a day and it is totally dark all winter. Oddly enough for a place with just 2,000 inhabitants, it is almost as diverse as London with 70 different nationalities flocking to it. Watch the video below and watch out for polar bears.

At the other end of the spectrum are the Portuguese islands of Cape Verde, closer to the equator than Lisbon. This year, the authorities issued visas to encourage Europeans and Americans to move there. just created Remote Working Cabo Verde, a tax-exempt digital nomadic visa designed to attract 4,000 foreigners. A video is below.

In the Caribbean, visas have been put in place for Aruba and Curaçao, two self-governing parts of the Netherlands and in the EU, the new Republic of Barbados (expensive visa costing almost £ 1,500) Bahamas and further north to the Bermuda (although the latter is aimed at the big guys – they can include staff and drivers – and is expensive). So far 400 have come.

I wrote an article about Aruba when I visited it two years ago on a cruise – it’s almost in South America because it’s only 22 miles from Venezuela. It is a fascinating desert island. The link is here. The only thing you need to beware of is that sometimes you can find a boa constrictor in the bath – but Aruban pest controlers are used to dealing with it. (some foolish person brought them to Aruba and they escaped and reproduced)

Promotion of Curaçao intended for the American market

An even more ambitious digital nomad project is planned for Italy where they have more than 2,000 ghost villages in the country and want to attract remote workers there. The fund could exceed 1 million euros. So far, a Tuscan village has taken the plunge – Santa Flora offers 200 euros per month in rent subsidies for apartments there – and wants people to decide to buy a house. So you can trade our dreary winters for vineyards and olive groves.

Spain and Croatia have just launched a program that allows you to be based on the Dalmatian coast and rent a place for around 350 euros per month. The visa is for one year in this EU country and digital nomads are exempt from income tax. They must earn more than $ 31,514 per year (just under £ 23,200) to be eligible.

Compare all of this to London and the UK. The UK does not appear to have special digital nomadic visas based on a normal visa application to work here. It is considered an expensive country, housing costs are sky-high, public transport and fuel are expensive, although its cities are well known for their cultural and nightlife. The best city for a digital nomad would be Newcastle-upon-Tune, which has good nightlife and is cheaper to live in than elsewhere.

What seems to be clear from all of this is that for many young people – the allure of beach life (unless you are going to Svalbard), cheaper accommodation, combined with high speed internet connection and for young people as opposed to the elderly, inexpensive health insurance makes it a one-sided gamble.

Boris Johnson has spoken a lot about Global Britain and the wonderful future it promises us all. But looking at all these offers overseas, I think smart, tech-savvy young people will see the wonders of a global life and choose to leave the country as soon as possible.

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