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InsureMyTrip Identifies the Countries with the Best (and Worst) Remote Working Visas

April 22, 2021 Airport No Comments

The COVID-19 pandemic forced many traditional office workers to relocate to their home offices, and over the past year many have adjusted to this new method of working remotely. To aid the transition to a more remote workforce moving forward, a number of businesses announced remote work would become a permanent part of their companies’ futures.

With the worldwide return to travel after the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines, large numbers of these untethered workers have adapted a digital nomad lifestyle. In response, many countries, such as Barbados and Bermuda, have recently joined international destinations around the world in launching remote working visa programs.

These visas were created, in part, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic which made short-term visits difficult due to testing and quarantine requirements. These issues have become less problematic for visitors who have the ability to stay an extended period of time to satisfy quarantine requirements without disrupting their normal lives and obligations.

Travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip examined the latest country-level data available for countries with remote working visas to assess which ones offer the best and worst opportunities for digital nomads.

As part of this study, seven key categories were analyzed, including* internet speed, average apartment rent, happiness, language difficulty, nomad acceptance, cost of a remote working visa and length of a remote working visa.

Based on this information, InsureMyTrip found that Norway is the best country for remote workers, receiving a score of 7.88 out of a possible 10. It scored particularly highly in the categories of ‘length of remote working visa’ (10), ‘nomad acceptance’ (9.1), ‘happiness’ (9.9) and ‘internet speed’ (7.4).

Top 10 Destinations for Remote Workers
# Destination Score
1 Norway 7.88
2 Mexico 7.3
3 Germany 7.19
4 Portugal 6.84
5 Iceland 6.83
6 Greece 6.45
7 Costa Rica 6.11
8 Jamaica 6.03
9 Spain 6.02
10 Bermuda 5.97

Norway is one of only three countries that do not limit the number of days workers are permitted to stay in the country when on a remote working visa. Portugal and Greece are the two other countries that do not require visitors to reapply for their visas and allow them to stay indefinitely as long as the necessary requirements are met.

Norway received an unsurprisingly high ranking for ‘happiness’ as it is frequently named as one of the top 10 happiest countries in the world. This is based on the feelings of social support, trust in government, and economic well-being of the citizens of Norway.

However, the cost of accommodations and visas are higher for Norway compared to other countries, costing potential applicants a monthly average of $1,215.94 and $730 respectively.

Mexico is the second best country for remote workers, scoring highly for ‘cost of visa’ (10), ‘cost of accommodation’ (9.75) and ‘length of remote working visa’ (9.72).

Mexico is also one of five destinations which does not charge an applicant any money to apply for a visa. Greece, Mauritius, Aruba and Georgia are the other four countries that allow workers to apply for a visa at no additional cost.

The average cost of rented accommodation in Mexico is one of the cheapest compared to other countries on the list, only costing an average of $354.06 per month. However, limited internet access may be an issue, with Mexico scoring 0.75 out of a possible ten for internet speed. It’s the fourth worst for internet speed behind Mauritius, Jamaica and the UAE.

Germany (7.19), Portugal (6.84) and Iceland (6.83) complete the top five countries for remote working visas.

Further examination of data reveals that the UAE is the lowest-scoring country for digital nomads, scoring only 4.13 out of a possible 10.

Bottom 10 Destinations for Remote Workers
# Destination Score
1 UAE 4.13
2 Georgia 4.63
3 Barbados 4.95
4 Antigua and Barbuda 5.06
5 Croatia 5.06
6 Vietnam 5.10
7 Estonia 5.35
8 Aruba 5.46
9 Mauritius 5.54
10 Czech Republic 5.8

The UAE receives the lowest score for ‘language difficulty’ (0). It has been reported that it may take foreign residents 2,200 hours to learn the native language of Arabic, making it one of the hardest languages to learn. It also scores poorly for the categories of ‘internet speed’ (0.65) and ‘length of remote working visa’ (1.95).

The UAE only recently created a remote working visa, so this may contribute to the low score. If more digital nomads choose the UAE as their remote working destination, amenities may improve.

The UAE scored above average for happiness (7.48), which may be attributed to the UAE revealing the appointment of the country’s first Minister of State for Happiness in 2016.

The ‘cost of visa’ (8.57), is another positive score as it would only cost workers around $300, which is significantly cheaper than more expensive countries like Antigua and Barbuda and Barbados, where applicants may pay between $1,500 and $2,000 each.

Georgia (4.63) is the country with the second-least favorable remote working visa due to its low ‘happiness score’ (0), ‘internet speed’ (0.82) and ‘nomad acceptance score’ (1.32).

Georgia does not feature highly on the UN’s happiness index, as it tends to score poorly for key variables like GDP, social support and personal freedom.

However, it narrowly misses out on the bottom spot due to scoring the highest (10) for both rented accommodation and the cost of a visa. Potential applicants are not required to pay for their visa, unlike many other countries, and rented accommodation only costs residents an average of $289.55 a month.

Barbados (4.95), Antigua and Barbuda (5.06) and Croatia (5.06) complete the bottom five countries.

Ronni Kenoian, Director of Marketing at InsureMyTrip commented:

“For those who may be able to pick up the laptop and go work anywhere in the world, this list provides great inspiration for those looking to do so. It’s also important to note that those seeking to work abroad should obtain proper emergency medical coverage and the right travel insurance.”

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