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Estonia is Creating a Visa for People Working from Home
It’s becoming more and more common for employees to opt out of the typical, 9-to-5 work life. Instead, people are embracing the life of a digital nomad.
These digital nomads don’t rely on an office environment or set schedule. All that’s needed is the internet and their job.
Working while traveling abroad is just one of the tempting features of being a digital nomad. According to Quartz, there aren’t official statistics to track how many people are choosing this work life. The number could be the high hundred thousands or well over a million.
With all these employees roaming the world while working, Estonia is hoping to tempt travelers with a digital nomad visa.
Why is a Digital Nomad Visa Necessary?
As of now, working remotely is gaining popularity for people interested in traveling while earning a living.
Currently, if you want an extended stay in a foreign country, a visa is needed.
While there are many different kinds of visas, digital nomads have limited options for the document. Generally, they choose a short term tourist visa. When the time is up, they either move on to another location or leave and re-enter the country with another visa. On a tourist visa, travelers are not supposed to work. If they want a longer stay while earning money, they need to find local employers.
This can be extremely difficult.
With this in mind, Estonia turned to a new kind of visa that can cater to these travelers.
The idea for this type of visa came after the results of a survey conducted by Jobbatical, a company that connects people with jobs around the world.
The survey was conducted with over 1000 members of its digital community. Results showed 80 percent of digital nomads would prefer to work in a new country every year, according to Lonely Planet. In that group, 99 percent stated that visa issues were their main obstacle.
What Are the Details of the New Visa?
Estonia created a great opportunity for a new kind of visa.
The country is home to an economy that breeds startups. According to Quartz, the government is also “light-years ahead of most western democracies when it comes to digital identity and streamlining bureaucracy.”
Right now it’s only in a preparation phase, but Estonia plans on having a visa explicitly for digital nomads. The visa will allow digital nomads to live in Estonia for 365 days. As a part of the Schengen area, the digital nomads could also visit similar countries for 90 days without a different visa.
Karoli Hindriks, is the Estonian co-founder and CEO of Jobbatical. “Technology is helping more people than ever before to work remotely,” said Hindriks, according to Emerging Europe. She highlighted the millions of people who provide work in various sectors, regardless of location.
Currently, the Estonian government is still exploring the details of this visa. Employees using a digital nomad visa won’t be required to pay taxes. Officials are considering some benefits for these visitors while they live in Estonia, such as healthcare.
How Will this Visa Affect Estonia?
In a press review, E-Estonia predicted the new visa could bring 1400 people to the country each year. This number would create even more benefits that can be seen with the current digital nomad population. “Digital nomads contribute indirectly to the local economy via the consumption of local goods and services,” said Killu Vantsi. Vantsi is an adviser at the Citizenship and Migration Policy Department of the Ministry of the Interior.
The visa could create at least 1400 more people every year buying local goods. Food, clothing and other services like transportation could see a boost from the visa.
Estonia isn’t the only country looking to bring in these travelers. Thailand is also coming out with visa policies aimed toward tech-centered workers. With the digital nomad visa, those who can work from anywhere won’t worry about illegally working while on a tourist visa. The stress of residency taxes could also disappear, as they aren’t technically residents.
It remains to be seen whether the digital nomad visa starts a trend. What we do know is that the new document could be an inventive solutions that provides a boost to Estonia’s economy.
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Written for Passport Health by Brianna Malotke. Brianna is a freelance writer and costume designer located in Illinois. She’s an avid coffee drinker and enjoys researching new topics for writing.