How “Digital Nomad” Visas Can Boost Local Economies
More and more companies are offering their employees the option to “work from anywhere,” whether in their home office, in another state, or even halfway around the globe. A growing group of remote professionals are taking the “anywhere” in work-from-anywhere to new lengths.
These “digital nomads” leverage their remote jobs to allow them to live in tourist hotspots or tropical destinations for months at a time. Others engage in months-long “work-cations,” combining periods of working and tourism.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, many countries — especially those with significant tourism sectors suffering from reductions in global travel — began offering specific visas to these digital nomads.
It’s abundantly clear that digital nomads, and remote workers in general, can be a boon to any economy— spending money, facilitating collaboration and spurring innovation — a win-win for both the digital nomads and the economies where they choose to live and work.
These visas act as a temporary fix for immigration policy woes and visa delays around the world.
Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, knowledge workers faced long wait times for visas, rising rejection rates, and great uncertainty.
The pandemic compounded these issues, adding travel restrictions from Covid-19 hotspots, embassy closures overseas, and even longer processing times for all visa types.
A digital nomad visa provides short-term access to countries around the world. The geographic mobility of digital nomads could spur business travel in the short to medium term.
Digital nomads could act as catalysts for knowledge and resource flows between regions, benefiting themselves, their organizations, and their host countries.
A longstanding research on geographic mobility and innovation has shown that short-term travel and even short periods of co-location with geographically distant colleagues can help workers access information and resources that can help grow new ideas and projects, which benefits both the mobile worker and their organizations.
Local inventors engage in “knowledge recombination” by combining their existing knowledge to knowledge transferred by migrants. A new research showed that migrant inventors not only “import” knowledge from home countries, which translates into more patenting; the migrant inventors actually boost patenting in the same technologies their home countries specialize in. As a result, a country is likely to have migrants as inventors of the first-ever bulk of patents in any new technology.
Digital nomads might play a key role in fostering entrepreneurship and the creation of technology clusters around the world. Foreign entrepreneurs congregating in a shared space for even a few months can spur new connections and new enterprises.
It is clear that digital nomads, and remote workers in general, can be a boon to any economy — spending money, facilitating collaboration and spurring innovation.
The road to success is always under construction.
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