Many people dream of vacationing in exotic locations, while some are simply choosing to live in different places. And working from anywhere is now an emerging option for people choosing a different way of life (and work).
Imagine working next to an expansive sandy beach or in the mountains. Getting a massage in the middle of the day. Eating healthy local food. Exploring new cities, hopping to islands and hiking on trails during breaks. Always having something unknown to experience and explore, including living in a state of curiosity.
Mainstream media reports on where expats are flocking to and countries are also setting up ways to attract financially stable workers. Bloomberg recently identified a number of cities trying to attract expat workers, which include:
- Kuala Lumpur, an affordable business and travel hub;
- Lisbon, a hipster destination with a “mix of culture, nightlife and warm weather;”
- Dubai, a desert city of the future;
- Bangalore, one of the world’s fastest-growing tech hubs;
- Mexico City, a center of entrepreneurs and startups in Latin America, ; and
- Rio de Janeiro, a Brazilian Paris .
For people looking at working from anywhere, what’s important is high speed Internet, cost of living, not working around the clock and access to local adventures. And there are emerging needs as more choose this path.
Meeting Emerging Digital Nomad Needs
And then there are what we call digital nomads—remote workers who travel to different locations on a regular basis. There are digital nomad villages popping up across the world. Brazil is following Portugal and Croatia, in opening one soon.
There are over 44 countries offering digital nomad visas as a way to attract remote workers and digital nomads. Indonesia is planning a tax-free 5-year nomad visa.
Recently, Thailand announced a 10-year digital nomad visa, which digital nomads are questioning. Why? Because the requirements include:
- Earning an annual income of US$80,000 for each of the past two years, unless you have an advanced degree or special skill.
- Needing a minimum of five years’ experience in your relevant field of work, and the company you work for must have a combined revenue of at least US$150 million in the last three years.
When looking closely at this new visa, who the Thai Investment Board is targeting include:
- Wealthy global citizens (over US$1 million in assets).
- Wealthy pensioners (aged 50 and above with a stable income).
- Work-from-Thailand professionals (remote workers employed by well-established overseas companies).
- Highly-skilled professionals (experts working in Thai government agencies or Thailand-based research centers, higher education institutions, business entities, etc).
What Digital Nomads Are Looking For
Many digital nomads work for startups, which don’t meet the $150M revenue requirement. Many are independent contractors and freelancers who don’t like to engage in bureaucracy. Some prefer to pay the Thai elite visa and have an offshore company. There is no income tax for offshore revenue if not remitted in the country in the same year and there is no crypto tax.
Thailand is looking to attract tech workers who want the flexibility of working remotely. From a digital nomads perspective, their emerging needs are not taken into account. And every country, and every person, has an opportunity to experiment and learn what works for them.
Many emerging shifts taking place in our world are not being reported in mainstream media or studied in surveys. Some of what is happening is hard for many people to grasp.
It will be interesting to watch these emerging shifts and how we work continues to transform.