Johannesburg – In a country where load shedding affects your remote work routine, moving to a holiday destination and becoming a nomad sounds like the perfect solution. Imagine working on an island somewhere while sipping a glass of your favourite cocktail and staring into the deep blue sea.
Does that not sound dreamy? The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic gave rise to the culture of remote working, and many professionals have taken advantage of this new norm. Seeing how the virus impacted the global economic and tourism landscape, various countries opted to introduce the nomad or remote work visa to boost their struggling economy.
These countries popularised nomadism to attract travellers from across the globe. Through digital nomad visas, people are not limited to their dull workspaces but have the opportunity to be exposed to different cultures as they travel.
Rhyan O’Sullivan, managing director at The TEFL Academy, said: “Digital nomad visas give travellers the option of staying in a country for longer periods than the usual tourist visas. It’s also easier to secure than a regular work visa. This gives you the chance to enjoy your travels, and explore new cultures, while maintaining a stable source of income – without putting your career on hold.”
Being a nomad presents one with straightforward employment and travel opportunities, as the number of professions that can be done remotely and are compatible with the digital nomad lifestyle is increasing. Go Overseas, a company focusing on connecting and empowering travellers through various travelling programmes, listed the following jobs as the best nomad-friendly jobs in the world.
These jobs include: SEO specialist, social media and community management, web development, programming, freelance writing, graphic designing, videography, travel blogging, business consulting, virtual assistant, travel nursing, and the most popular one that most South Africans are pursuing is online teaching.
Young teachers have taken advantage of the visa to teach English as a foreign language abroad. Compared to the South African Rand, remuneration in foreign currency affords one the financial freedom they may not have been able to attain while working in the country.
A nomad who ventures into any of the careers mentioned earlier could earn anything between R300 – R1 400 per hour, depending on the currency of the country of choice. But that also depends on the land or island of choice, for one to qualify for the visa, they have to meet a certain income threshold.
In a media statement, O’Sullivan added, “as part of the process, visa applicants must prove that they would not become a liability to the country in any way. For instance, in Mexico, you need to show a monthly income of more than R27 000. At the same time, in other countries such as Taiwan, they assess your professional skills.”
While South Africa is still reviewing the process of the implementation of the visa, there are about 46 nations that offer digital nomad or remote work visas, three of which are African islands, namely, Cabo Verde, Seychelles, and Mauritius. Eighteen of these countries provide digital nomad visas to South Africans, including Costa Rica, Dubai, Norway, Barbados, Czech Republic, and Mauritius, the only African country offering visas to South African citizens.
The Costa Rica nomad visa is dubbed the Rentista visa. It enables nomads to remain there for up to two years with the possibility of an extension. To be eligible, you must confirm a stable monthly income of at least $2 500 (R42 000). In Norway, the only requirement is proof that you can financially support yourself. A minimum monthly income of $7 200 (R35 964) is required for the 12-month extended stay visa in Barbados.
While the prerequisites for eligibility in the Czech Republic include having lodging arranged before arrival and having a clean criminal record, you must demonstrate that you have the R80 000 minimum required for this period’s sustenance, as decided by its government.
In Mauritius, a nomad must earn $1 500 (R27 033) a month – the amount would increase by $500 (R8 954) per dependent/family member you bring under the age of 24. The visa applies to 114 countries. Although the South African government has hinted that it has plans to implement the nomad visa, there is no clear indication of when this might happen.
If implemented, it would boost the tourism industry, given that the foreign travel rate into South Africa declined by 71% from just over 15 8 million travellers in 2019 to less than 5 million in 2020. Stats SA reports that the travel and tourism industry historically contributed 7% to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).