Global tourism has taken a major hit this year. Countries whose economies heavily rely on tourism have experienced the most hardships. Barbados is one of these countries. In a search to keep coronavirus out and money in, Bajans believe they found the solution: work remotely from their sandy beaches.
Barbados tourism makes up a third of their entire GDP. Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, knew something had to be done about this in order to keep their economy afloat. Mottley and the government proposed working without borders. This idea involves citizens of other nations coming into the country and working their regular jobs remotely. However, instead of working from their couch, they could potentially dial into a Zoom call from a daybed on the tropical island.
The Barbados government issued a new type of visa, the Welcome Stamp visa, that grants tourists with a twelve month stay on the island. Of course, there are guidelines that one has to fulfill in order to be eligible. For example, someone looking to obtain the Welcome Stamp visa must be employed in their home country and have their employer sign off on what is essentially an experiment. Someone with this visa would not be eligible to work for a Bajan employer. Applicants also must pay a $2,000 application fee. Lastly, applicants must have health insurance. Once approved, applicants are able to move right away. Thousands of people have applied for the Welcome Stamp Visa, after seeing a simple Facebook ad.
Not only would someone with a Welcome Stamp visa need to look for somewhere to live but they would also need to survive. The living expenses that these long term tourists would be paying definitely would help boost the country’s economy. In addition, they would be spending money on local attractions.
This idea does raise some eyebrows, though. Tim Burgess sits down with NPR and explains that working internationally is not as easy as it sounds. For example, taxes are a major issue. American citizens, for example, could become tax residents of Mexico if they are there longer than 6 months. Employers might be hesitant to permit their employee to work in a foreign country if that makes them liable for what happens while their employee is there. Pensions and insurances might not hold up internationally. It could be a hard sell.
Barbados makes it clear in their policy, however; in the fine print of the visa policy, they say applicants will not need to pay Barbados taxes. They require that their short term residents continue to pay taxes in their home country. As long as the applicant’s employer approves the temporary move, they should be in the clear. More and more applications are being approved and this trend might be part of the new normal with other countries following in Barbados’ footsteps.
If you could work remotely from any country, where would you book a flight to? Let us know in comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.