The world is changing rapidly. Everything is newer, faster, and bigger. We are becoming “citizens of the world” rather than just of one country. That means that we are not tied to one city and one workplace forever. New technologies create lots of new jobs all around the world, and more and more people want to try their luck abroad.
While you might not even notice crossing borders between EU countries when you go on vacation, it’s not so easy if you’re relocating for a job. Among thousands of difficulties, the main problem is still obtaining the proper visa. Moreover, there are no policies to support the new ways of working. That’s why Karoli Hindriks, co-founder and CEO of Jobbatical, approached the Estonian Ministry of the Interior government with a possible solution. They believe that the future of work, which is becoming increasingly more mobile and remote, is a digital nomad visa.
So far, people haven’t had it easy when they wanted to combine travelling and working. As a result, many travel on a tourist visa and they work online on projects outside their current residence country. There are quite a few low-cost digital nomad hotspots to choose from, like Bali, Thailand, and Vietnam, or closer to home, Spain or Germany. Technically, it’s not legal to work in a country on a tourist visa, but most authorities will not intervene if the digital nomad is not taking a job from a local person. The main goal is not to be tied to one place; digital nomads tend to stay only for a few weeks or months, and then they move on. Some leave the country and re-enter on a new visa.
So how does Estonia fit in all this? While a fairly new country, Estonia is at the forefront of innovation when it comes to digitalising the state. Many e-solutions are already in place and working great. One of them is the e-Residency program, which has already become extremely popular among business owners and digital nomads from all around the world.
The digital nomad visa is the next step for the Estonian government. It is still in preparation, and the expected launch is scheduled for early 2019. Those who obtain the visa can legally reside in Estonia for a year, as well as visit other Schengen-zone member countries for up to 90 days. The visa is to ensure that the holder is a registered taxpayer in their country of origin or permanent residence. The government expects that the solution will bring in over 1400 skilled workers every year. If the digital nomad visa proves successful, the government plans to extend the benefits. For instance, the holders would be entitled to use public services, such as healthcare, during their stay.
“I can’t predict the future, but my gut feeling is that one thing is clear. There is a talent shortage in most of the countries in the world, and the countries who will excel economically in the future are the ones who are adapting to this. The ones who figure out how to bring people in, instead of building walls”, Hindriks noted.
So, if you’re all about exploring the world, this might be just the thing for you. Just grab your laptop, and you’re good to go! The world is waiting for you.