“Working from anywhere” represents a new freedom that is not about to disappear, argues Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, a researcher specializing in new professional mobility, in the Harvard Business Review. Around the world, countries have entered a competition to attract as many digital nomads as possible. This is notably the case of Portugal, Australia, the Czech Republic, the United Arab Emirates, Estonia, Germany, Thailand, Italy or Spain, which have recently launched new visas aimed at remote workers.
No wonder, according to the researcher: these new visas are the key to a “win-win” scenario. The “digital nomads” take the opportunity to combine work and tourism for several months. As for the host countries, they earn foreign currency over the long term while preserving local jobs for their nationals.
But these are not the only advantages of “special digital nomad” visas, continues Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury.
An essential role in the sharing of skills
The new visas may first represent a temporary solution to the problems posed by immigration policies and the delays accumulated during the pandemic in the processing of visa applications – as is particularly the case in the United States.
They offer remote workers, usually for six to twelve months, the opportunity to travel to countries located around the world. The geographical mobility of “digital nomads” could stimulate the business travel sector, which badly needs it.
More importantly, these nomadic workers are able to play a vital role in the diffusion and sharing of skills, as well as in innovation. “My research on geographic mobility and innovation shows that even short periods of cohabitation with colleagues from geographically distant countries can help professionals access information and resources that can help them develop new projects” , emphasizes the researcher.
In summary, “’digital nomads’ and other remote workers can be a boon to any economy”. This is why many countries are currently competing for these professionals. Under these conditions, we do not understand why the United States has not yet announced any visa program specifically intended for these nomadic workers. “It is high time that they do so, otherwise they will miss the boat”, pleads the researcher. The ball is in the court of the Biden administration.