As the work from anywhere (WFA) movement gains momentum in 2022, more and more companies are offering their employees the chance to work remotely. Whether it’s full-time or for a limited period per year, this is an exciting time for employees and companies alike. Remote work creates countless opportunities for everyone involved and comes with an array of benefits.
So far so good, but when the world suddenly opens up to you, choosing the best remote work destination can be tricky. There are many things to consider, such as visas, tax obligations, and safety. Fortunately, some countries make remote work much easier than others.
With that in mind, in this guide, we’ll look at some of the best remote work locations in 2022.
What Are Digital Nomad or Remote Worker Visas?
In an ideal world, you could simply jump on a plane to anywhere in the world, settle in, and get to work. Unfortunately, it’s not always quite as easy as that. Normally when people travel, they’ll obtain a tourist visa. But, in most countries, it’s actually illegal to work/earn money on just a tourist visa. Besides that, many tourist visas expire after 30 to 90 days, so if you’d like to stay longer it’s not ideal.
However, times are changing, and more and more remote work-friendly countries are updating their visa policies in an effort to entice digital nomads and remote workers. By introducing remote work, freelance, and digital nomad visas, these work from anywhere locations are making it easier than ever to work abroad.
A digital nomad visa gives you the right to reside in the country that has provided it while working remotely. You’re often not obliged to pay local taxes or open a bank account like a regular ex-pat and it’ll typically allow you to stay longer than a tourist visa. Most digital nomad visas have just a few basic criteria:
- You’ll need to prove that you have a steady income,
- You’ll normally need to take out international health insurance,
- You’ll have to pay the visa fee.
Many digital nomad visas can be renewed and are fairly affordable. Of course, not every visa is the same, with some only active for one month and others for up to four years. Additionally, visa costs and health insurance requirements will of course depend on the country of issuance.
Which Country Is Best for Remote Work?
The world of work has changed forever and companies, and indeed countries, that don’t keep up, are likely to be left behind. As such, since the pandemic, not only do more companies than ever offer remote work, but more countries are offering digital nomad visas. As well as providing visas and an easy way to get to work, the best places are working in other ways to make their country as attractive to remote workers as possible.
This includes providing the infrastructure needed for people to work comfortably and reliably. From high-speed, stable internet connections to remote work hubs and community initiatives, some places are truly going above and beyond.
Then there are the natural factors that draw people to certain countries. This includes amazing weather, a vibrant and exciting culture, local experiences, low crime rates, safety, and a good cost of living. When you add all of these things together, you come up with some superb remote work destinations.
Best Countries for Digital Nomads: Our Top 3
Having spent several years working remotely around the world, it’s not easy to come up with a list of favorites. Each country tells its own story and has its own charms. Some places make you fall in love at first sight, others insist you delve a little deeper. But, when we weigh up all the pros and cons, the following three places top the list for us.
Portugal offers everything a digital nomad could wish for. From the spectacular weather, the high number of English-speaking locals, and low crime rates, it’s no wonder that the capital city, Lisbon, frequently takes the number one spot in rankings.
It also boasts one of the most attractive and affordable remote work visas Europe has to offer. In fact, there are two to choose from depending on your circumstances:
- Temporary resident visa (D7 passive income visa)
- One-year residence permit for independent workers and entrepreneurs
The latter can be renewed for up to five years, after which time you can apply for permanent residency. At the time of writing, applicants are required to pay an €83 EUR visa fee and €72 EUR resident permit fee. In addition, they must earn at least €600 EURO per month, provide proof of income and private health or travel insurance, and submit a criminal background check.
The stunning Portuguese island of Madeira has recently launched a digital nomad village, Ponta do Sol, complete with great internet, communal workspaces, and countless activities to indulge in.
Indonesia, in particular the breathtaking island of Bali, has been ahead of the game for some time. For several years now, early digital nomads have set up base on the paradise island, and it’s easy to see why. With fantastic weather, a low cost of living, gorgeous beaches, and fascinating history and spirituality, it offers the complete opposite of working in a western office. On top of all that, you’ll still enjoy fantastic internet and incredible accommodation.
However, at the time of writing, the visa situation certainly has its ups and downs. On the plus side, people from almost 170 countries can visit Indonesia for 30-days visa-free. After that, it’s fairly cheap and easy to get a 30–60 day extension. To work legally in Indonesia however, you’ll need a residency and working visa. This is easy enough if you’re employed by a large multi-national company or run your own business, but is more difficult for freelancers.
The good news is that Indonesia is hoping to soon introduce an official, five-year digital nomad visa. Visa holders will also be exempt from paying taxes on any income earned from outside the country, a big change to the current policy. With its introduction, more digital nomads than ever will find it easier to legally work in Indonesia.
(3) UAE (Dubai)
Dubai, the United Arab Emirates’ mega-city and world-renowned oasis in the desert, is a popular spot for crypto enthusiasts and blockchain developers. Digital nomads specializing in this field, among many others, can take advantage of a newly launched one-year virtual working program. The scheme encourages talented remote workers to live and work by the beach, surrounded by the luxury that the city is known for.
It offers special deals on hotels and working spaces, making it easier than ever to settle in. With this remote work visa, Dubai is extremely welcoming, allowing workers to bring their families and remain employed outside of the UAE. Additionally, you won’t have to pay income tax on your earnings.
With fantastic remote work infrastructure, including excellent internet and telecommunications, you can be sure that you’ll be able to work without interruption. Plus, excellent schooling options make Dubai an attractive choice for digital nomad families.
Work from anywhere is here to stay and more and more countries around the world are recognizing this fact. By introducing attractive digital nomad visas, as well as providing the infrastructure to cater to remote work, certain countries are opening their doors and welcoming remote workers from around the world.
As an individual or a company, it’s never been easier to work abroad for a prolonged period of time. This is great news for everyone. Companies looking to offer an attractive WFA package can rest assured that tax and visa requirements in many countries are easier to navigate than ever before. Meanwhile, individuals have a far wider choice of places to go if they want to legally work remotely.
At JIA, we have partnered up with some of the most digital nomad-friendly countries on earth, providing top-quality accommodation, local activities, and cultural experiences. By taking care of all the paperwork, we make it even easier to start your, or your employee’s, digital nomad adventure. Contact us today to find out more.