Lawyer Monthly - October 2022

The status of working abroad for digital nomads has traditionally been uncertain. Many individuals had previously worked from their destination of choice without realising the need for immigration permission, leading to legal and tax implications. Historically, countries have required individuals to obtain specific work visas where they would be sponsored and employed by a local company or business. Employees on work visas often must be paid a minimum salary and must satisfy basic skills, but this concept does not always suit nomads who run their own business or who are self-employed. Equally, the idea of sponsorship suggests anchoring transient individuals to one place when they would otherwise hope to travel to other countries while still being able to work. An increasing number of companies, such as Twitter, have begun to offer remote working as an option for employees whilst retaining a physical office space. In 2021, Google introduced a ‘work-fromanywhere’ policy for employees. Digital nomads are taking this concept and running with it, allowing themselves to combine travel and work from tropical beach destinations across the globe. The gap in the market was spotted and acted upon by some countries, included Dubai and the UAE, who were some of the first countries/emirates to offer a remote working visa for high-earning employees. Employees can work within the emirate for up to one year providing they satisfy certain minimum salary requirements, but there is no need for sponsorship or a local employer. Italy and Brazil followed suit soon after, offering similar schemes. Since then, Indonesia, Thailand, Germany, Spain, Aruba, the Cayman Islands, Barbados and Brazil, amongst many other counties, have begun offering this type of visa. What are the benefits for digital nomads and host countries? The concept tends to appeal to younger generations, who often harbour the desire to travel while maintaining an income, allowing them to extend their time abroad. Many individuals who may otherwise have been travelling throughout the pandemic feel they have been ‘robbed’ of their chance to travel the world. The visas therefore offer employees the ability to travel the world while maintaining a stable job and steady income. Although tourist visas typically apply to short stays, the appeal of digital nomad visas is that they allow visitors to remain in their chosen country for an Digital NomadVisas ANew Solution to Working Abroad? Tom Keya Founder, Soulh 71-75, Shelton Street, Covent Garden, London, United Kingdom, WC2H 9JQ Special Feature Digital nomad visas allow people to remain in a country outside their country of permanent residence and work remotely, usually on a temporary basis, before moving on to another country. The increase in this particular type of visa can be partly attributed to the global pandemic, which saw a steep rise in remote working following periods of lockdown and with more people looking to take advantage of working further afield from abroad. Alex Christen of Capital Law explains the legal perspective around digital nomad visas and what employers should look out for before accepting requests from employees who want to work this way. 40 LAWYERMONTHLYOCTOBER 2022

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