If you've been stuck working at home since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and need a change of scenery, we have good news! Barbados says they plan on introducing a 12-month visa stamp that would allow remote workers to log in from a sunny beach on a Caribbean island instead of their cramped apartment in the city.
The program, known as the "Barbados Welcome Stamp," allows any remote workers who earn more than $50,000 at their job to live and work from the island while the world, while sitting out the worst of the pandemic.
"There's nothing like waking up and seeing the sunshine. And there's nothing like being able to work and go for a sea bath and come back and put in the second shift of work,” Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley told NBC News. "You can do all of that, while still being able to do the things that you're doing in London or New York."
The idea came about as part of an effort to help the island's struggling tourism economy, which makes up nearly 40 percent and employs 26,000 people, according to the Barbados Hotel & Tourism Association. The pandemic and resulting bans on travel meant the island saw their unemployment rate skyrocket, leading to a 31 percent decline in government revenue, NBC News reported.
“We felt that perhaps the better thing for us to do is to open up our travel opportunities for people who wanted to stay longer, and wanted to be able to work from elsewhere, particularly with the technological platforms that afford that opportunity to us now,” Mottley said.
The visa stamp would give remote workers the right to work in the country for up to a year, regardless of where their employer is based. The stamp is expected to cost around $2,000 for an individual, and $3,000 for a family visa. Anyone who is granted the 12-month visa will also be required to take out health insurance and find their own accommodations for their stay.
Thanks to the relatively low infection rate, Barbados has partially reopened its international borders, with flights from Canada resuming on July 12th. Flights from the United States will be allowed to resume on July 25th.
“Given that it is anticipated there will be a second wave, particularly in Europe come November or December, we believe that we can offer people who have the capacity to work from home a different perspective, particularly given the mental health issues associated with this physical pandemic," said Mottley.
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