If the thought of life post-graduation consisting of long commutes, cramped offices and the same thing day in, day out fills you with dread, then you’ll be pleased to know that this is no longer a given. The coronavirus pandemic has opened both companies’ and governments’ eyes to the benefits of remote working. As Christopher Nye, Senior Editor at overseas homes specialists Property Guides, tells us, countries around the world are now offering visas for ‘digital nomads’.
What is a ‘digital nomad’?
Put simply, a digital nomad is someone who is either employed or works as a freelancer but is not tied to a particular location.
It might have once been the preserve of a select few industries, but the COVID-19 lockdowns the world over have demonstrated to companies how remote working can be a success in almost any office role.
What does this mean for graduates?
This means the field is wide open for graduates today to find full-time employment with a UK company without necessarily needing to stay based near their HQ. For graduates who might have had plans to travel during their degree scuppered by coronavirus, this is the chance to explore the world. In fact, by actually living in a country, rather than travelling for a few weeks, you’ll gain a much deeper insight into the local culture and way of life.
There are also financial benefits, especially for those just starting out in their career. What might be an average salary in the UK can go much further abroad, leaving you with more saving and spending money (and perhaps the chance to ditch the flatshare).
Small wonder, then, that three in every ten of our readers at Property Guides have told us that the pandemic has made them even more likely to move overseas.
Where could you live?
If you have already graduated and you want to start your adventure as soon as possible, you could still have the chance to move to any European Union country that takes your fancy with no extra paperwork. The Brexit transition period is up on 31st December 2020. If you move before then and register with the local government, you’ll be able to keep those rights for the next five years, after which you can usually apply for permanent residency.
So where will it be? If you want somewhere with year-round sunshine, great beaches and that laidback Mediterranean lifestyle, Cyprus could be just the ticket. The former British colony also has a very high level of English and surprisingly affordable living costs, with 98% of the population spending less than 40% of their disposable income on housing. Plus, taxes are low and if you’re employed abroad for more than 90 days per annum, you may qualify for a total tax rebate.
If you won’t make it in time for December (and you don’t have other pathways open to you – could you qualify for an Irish passport?), there are still other options. If you could see yourself setting up your laptop overlooking the sea in the Algarve, or in a loft apartment in Lisbon, you’re in luck. Portugal offers permanent and temporary visas for both freelancers and entrepreneurs, and also offers either a low or zero per cent tax rate on foreign income for up to ten years under its non-habitual residency scheme.
Looking further overseas, Bermuda announced in July a new remote visa, allowing anyone in full-time employment or education to live there for up to a year. It’s similar to Barbados’ ‘Welcome Stamp’ scheme but at a much lower cost. All it takes is a valid job offer elsewhere in the world, health insurance, proof of income and a fee of just $263. In addition to the natural beauty on offer – pink sandy beaches anyone? – things are well set up for remote workers. There’s wifi coverage island-wide and a number of modern co-working spaces in the capital city, Hamilton.
Making the most of working from home
All three of our picks above are within three hours of the GMT time zone and have good internet connectivity and existing infrastructure for remote working. With just short flights back home when needed too, there really is no reason not to pack your laptop, say goodbye to the commute and start exploring!