How digital nomad visas can help your startup access global talent

Let's face it, who wouldn't want to leave behind the conventional 9-5 office life and embark on a journey around the world while still managing to get their work done?

Well, this is exactly what many people are doing with the rise of digital nomads. It's estimated that the number of digital nomads will reach one billion by 2035. And, with the cost of living crisis and an anticipated 2023 recession on the horizon, the idea of working from a country with a lower cost of living is becoming increasingly attractive to individuals worldwide.

As a result, countries are offering special digital nomad visas to make it easier for people to live and work remotely in new and exciting destinations.

But what do these visas mean for startups? Jamie Haerewa, Managing Director of Agile HRO, delves into how digital nomad visas can be a game-changer for startup owners looking to expand their remote workforce and navigate the complexities of international employment.

Digital nomad visa programs

As we all know, the pandemic shook the world, leaving countries that were previously heavily reliant on tourism struggling to cope with the sudden decrease in global travel. In response, many countries began offering digital nomad visas to attract remote workers and bolster their struggling economies.

From tropical destinations like Costa Rica, Mexico, and Ecuador, to island getaways like St. Lucia, Barbados, and Seychelles, and even winter escapes like Estonia, Iceland, and Norway, countries are welcoming digital nomads with open arms and easy-to-obtain visas. These visas typically allow remote workers to stay in the country for a set period and work from their laptops while enjoying the local culture and scenery. For example, The Bahamas Extended Access Travel Stay program allows digital nomads to work remotely from any of 16 islands for up to one year. The application process typically takes a week and requires a $1,000 fee to receive their work Remotely permit.

Some countries have even gone so far as to offer tax incentives, health care coverage, and other perks to attract digital nomads to their shores, like Malta's visa, which does not require you to pay personal income tax.

To date, 54 countries have joined the digital nomad visa bandwagon, and this number is expected to continue growing.

Benefits of digital nomad visas for startups

As a startup founder, leveraging the rise of digital nomad visas can give your business a competitive edge in attracting and retaining top talent. These visas offer a range of benefits, such as:

  • Attraction and retention tool for talent: In today's job market, competition is fierce, and startups are racing to attract and retain the best talent. One way to stand out from the crowd and appeal to top workers is by offering unique benefits. That's where digital nomad visas come in. They're a great perk that can set your company apart and make it more desirable to potential employees. This is especially true for the Gen Z generation, who value flexibility above all else.
  • Simplifies compliance associated with international travel: Digital nomad visas can simplify the legal compliance process for startups regarding international travel. This can help reduce the administrative burden on the company, allowing them to focus on its core business operations.
  • Tap into a global talent pool: With these visas, companies can broaden their search for the best-fit candidate without worrying about relocation logistics. This opens up opportunities to work with people from diverse backgrounds and skill sets, which can greatly benefit any business. Being able to hire the best person for the job, regardless of their location, can bring fresh perspectives and innovative ideas to the table.
  • Happier, healthier employees: The cost of living is a major concern for many workers, and working remotely from a more affordable location can be a huge stress relief. Employees who are less worried about finances can focus more on their work and overall well-being.

In addition to these benefits, digital nomad visas can provide startups with opportunities for networking and collaboration in new markets and exposure to different cultures and perspectives.

Tips for managing a digital nomad workforce

For startups looking to attract and retain top talent, offering work from anywhere scheme can be a major advantage. But managing a global workforce comes with its own unique challenges. To help you navigate this new way of working, here are some actionable tips for establishing and managing a successful work-from-anywhere scheme:

  • Familiarise yourself with the digital nomad visa requirements: Each country has its own requirements for digital nomads, so it's important to research before sending employees abroad.
  • Ensure your employees understand the digital nomad visa requirements: Once you're in the know with all of the compliance and visa requirements, make sure your employees are aware of them as well. Hold meetings where you brief them on the requirements and assist them in understanding and meeting the necessary compliance standards.
  • Set clear expectations: When managing digital nomads, it's important to establish clear expectations around communication, availability, and work hours. Will they be expected to respond to emails or Slack messages within a certain time? What are the team's working hours, and how much overlap should there be with other teams in different locations? This should all be communicated and agreed upon before remote work begins.
  • Invest in technology and infrastructure: Remote work requires reliable technology and infrastructure, so make sure you have the necessary tools and systems in place to support your global workforce. From a global payroll solution to a communication platform, each employee should have the tools they need to be productive and successful.
  • Emphasise company culture: Just because your employees are working remotely doesn't mean your company culture should suffer. Make sure to emphasise your values and mission, and find ways to build a strong company culture, even when your employees are scattered around the globe.

With these tips in mind, you can establish a successful work-from-anywhere scheme and build an engaged, motivated, and productive global workforce.