5th July 2021
Even though restrictions are being lifted around the world and the rollout of international vaccination programmes is making it easier and safer for people to travel, remote work is still the norm for a large number of international contractors. Indeed, with the flexibility that’s been granted in the modern world of work, an increasing number of professionals are choosing to work from different locations, allowing them freedom to experience cultures whilst also delivering on set projects, no matter where in the world these are based.
Given that working remotely either in your home country or destination of employment will still apply for many, we look at the countries that offer the best work-life balance and overall package for remote workers.
Top destinations to consider
If you’re wondering where the best places to work as an independent contractor are, there are several countries that you might have thought of and some that might surprise you. The Caribbean would be sure to feature very high on anyone’s dream wish list. The English-speaking Island of Barbados, is one such destination, with picture postcard beaches, beautiful weather, a relaxed vibe and superfast internet speeds, it’s no wonder it’s an appealing location. And having introduced its Welcome Stamp Visa in 2020, contractors can stay for a year without having to pay income tax – though it will set you back the $2000 application fee.
For $900, you can also join delightful Dominica’s Work in Nature programme for up to 18 months while for $500 you can enjoy the unique charm of British Overseas Territory, Montserrat courtesy its 12 month Remote Worker Program. Off the coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, you’ll find an exquisite island known for its beaches, lagoons and reefs. Mauritius’s Premium Travel Visa, which would appeal to French and English-speaking contractors, is also valid for 12 months but is free of charge!
Also known for its stunning coastline and natural beauty, the North Atlantic territory of Bermuda has launched a Work From Bermuda Certificate, which also allows visitors to work for a year but at a much reduced rate of $263. Or why not apply for The Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP) being offered by the Cayman Islands, valid for up to 24 months and costing $500 (although you do to need to earn at least $100,000 to be eligible)?
Best countries for contractors working remotely
The city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has long been a destination of choice for its nightlife, hot climate and world class entertainment, not to mention a diverse expat population that numbers 200+ nationalities. It has also launched a one year Virtual Working Programme with a fee of $611 for those interested. With many co-working spaces and one of the most advanced digital infrastructures in the world, Dubai is fast becoming a major hub for the global digital economy.
Switching continents to North America, Mexico is a country with its rich Aztec heritage and famed for its stunning beaches, fantastic food and vibrant nightlife could be one to consider. One of the top developing nations, its economy is recovering well post pandemic. You must first however obtain a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) after which you will get a Temporary Resident Card, valid for up to four years. A working permit issued by the National Migration Institute (INM) must also be obtained.
Is Asia, Taiwan and its capital Taipei are appealing destinations for contract work – whether that’s onsite or working remotely in-country. One of the most advanced tech and digital countries in the world, it’s a brilliant location for contractors, and although it doesn’t offer visas for digital nomads, it’s a country worth investigating once the pandemic situation improves. In fact, Taiwan came top in the friendliness of its people category in the Expat Insider 2021 survey, conducted by global expat network, InterNations. Job security, quality of medical care and affordability make it an extremely attractive destination for global contractors.
Last but not least, we head to Europe and the former Soviet country of Georgia which launched its Remotely Work from Georgia Program in August 2020. Valid for one year and with no fee attached, you’ll be moving to a country that will captivate you with the mountain landscapes of the Caucasus, its wine culture and stunning Black Sea resorts.
With its low cost of living and high quality of life, there are many reasons to move to the Baltic republic of Estonia. Independent contractors and remote workers can take advantage of the country’s Digital Nomad Visa which lasts for up to one year for just $100. One of Europe’s top tech hubs and gaining a reputation as the Silicon Valley of Europe, Estonia is a safe and friendly country with low levels of pollution – its air quality is among the best in the world – offering that rare mix of a great working and living environment.
Compliance is a must when contracting overseas
Whether looking to settle for the duration of a visa or stay for the long-term working from home full time in some of these island paradises or the other destinations we’ve highlighted, independent contractors must abide by local tax legislation, which can often be complex and expose individuals to potential fines or criminal charges for non-compliance. If you want to know more about how you can remain compliant no matter where in the world you’re operating, our 6CATS International experts can advise you.