1st March 2022
As country borders become increasingly open in a post-Covid world, a growing number of professional contractors across the UK and beyond are exploring career opportunities overseas. In fact, a recent survey by the European Travel Council found that three in five of us plan to travel during the first half of 2022 alone.
However, in a post-pandemic world, the drivers and priorities of many independent professionals have shifted. After months of restricted travel, we are witnessing a renewed hunger to explore the globe and seize opportunities, with many now also rating quality of life as more important than ever. With this in mind, here are some of the best places to contract today.
Australia has long been a favoured destination for international contractors thanks to its relaxed culture coupled with an average of 3000 hours of sunshine a year – and the country ranked 17th on the latest CEO World Best Countries for Quality-of-Life Index.
However, since the dawn of Covid, the country has become known as ‘Fortress Australia’ due to its largely impenetrable borders. Following two years of restricted movement, the country is unsurprisingly crying out for top talent, particularly within the professional services sector – and this has pushed rates up accordingly.
Since the 21st of February 2022, all fully vaccinated visa holders can now travel to Australia without a travel exemption. Unvaccinated visa holders will still need a valid travel exemption to enter the country.
As JPMorgan economist, Tom Kennedy, recently highlighted, “The announcement has accentuated the positive for tourism, but arguably the more important detail for markets is that labour supply will now have greater support through this year via resumed inflows from the skilled work and student visa holder streams”. It is worth noting, though, that it is currently taking three times longer to process skilled visa applications than before the pandemic, which contractors will need to take into account.
The Netherlands remains a popular destination for ex-pats thanks to its excellent education system and high levels of social cohesion. This perhaps explains why the country ranked seventh on the latest CEO World Best Countries Index and third in Numbeo’s Quality of Life ranking.
The country has recently abolished a large share of covid-19 measures, including the requirement for arrivals from ‘third countries’ to quarantine from the 25th of February 2022. However, contractors should be aware that the country has instead decided to impose the obligation of presenting proof of vaccination, proof of recovery from the virus, or a negative test result for everyone entering the country from the same date. Until now, travellers from countries listed under the category of ‘green countries’ were exempt from such a requirement. The Dutch government has reminded travellers to check the validity of their vaccination certificates as they are only valid for only 270 days.
Thanks to its rolling mountains and thriving economy, Norway has long been one of the best places to contract – and with the recent relaxation of covid-related restrictions, entering the Nordic country is now once again simple for professionals wishing to work in the region.
Norway recently abolished almost all of its virus-related restrictions, including quarantine rules and the mandatory testing requirement at the border and airport checkpoints for all persons who plan to enter.
As the largest economy in Europe, Germany continues to be a popular choice for ambitious contractors who value a rich culture coupled with a relatively low cost of living. And the country is now actively seeking talent from overseas.
Germany is now in the process of gradually easing covid restrictions following a meeting of the 16 German cantons, held on February the 16th. From the 20th of March, the country foresees lifting all the far-reaching protective measures, including working from home.
Currently, Germany permits entry for all travellers who can show proof of covid-19 vaccination or recovery, as well as those who test negative for the virus before their trip to the country. Yet, depending on the situation in the traveller’s country of departure, the same may be subject to quarantine and additional testing upon arrival.
Denmark recently ranked second on the latest CEO World Best Countries for Quality-of-Life Index, thanks to its favourable work-life balance world-class universal healthcare system. And contractors seeking opportunities in the region can now be assured that entering the country is once again simple.
In February 2022, Denmark became the first European country to lift all covid-19 travel restrictions and travellers are also no longer obliged to wear face masks or use the Covid vaccination certificate to enter bars, restaurants, and other indoor venues. In addition, the mandatory quarantine requirement for persons who have tested positive for the virus has also been abolished.
There is more to Switzerland than just chocolate, with contractors flocking to the country to enjoy generous remuneration and high levels of safety. This perhaps explains why Switzerland recently took the top spot on Numbeo’s latest Quality of Life Index. The country also ranked sixth on the latest CEO World Best Countries for Index.
The Swiz government recently lifted all covid-19 related travel requirements alongside other restrictions as a result of high levels of immunity among the population. Since the 17th of February 2022, it is no longer necessary for contractors to provide proof of vaccination, recovery, or a negative test or to complete an entry form. Masks are also no longer required in workplaces, shops, restaurants, cultural venues, or other public settings. The recommendation to work from home has also been lifted.
Finland has topped the latest CEO World Best Countries for Quality of Life Index for being safe, politically stable, and having a well-developed public health system. Contractors working in the region also enjoy low levels of pollution and high levels of wellbeing and gender equality.
Since the 15th of February 2022, vaccinated arrivals from all countries are permitted to enter Finland without a negative test. Unvaccinated travellers are permitted to enter Finland only with special permission, which does not include tourism.
Just some of the best places to contract
We have listed some of the best places to contract above, however, there are plenty more exciting destinations that offer great career opportunities coupled with a fantastic way of life. But, be warned, whether you are looking for a short-term assignment or a long-term placement, always make sure you are operating compliantly in line with local laws.