Norway Scores Tops for Digital Nomads

Posted on 06/12/2021 by Mark A. Ivener, A Law Corporation

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COVID-19 has forced millions of professionals world wide to abandon their office and relocate to a remote work style. As a report by InsureMyTrip has made clear, the pandemic has also led full-time employees and freelancers to try a lifestyle as a digital nomad.

As more companies have accommodated these wandering professionals, so have country destinations that recognize the opportunity to build their professional corps and support their economies by welcoming temporary knowledge workers.

Barbados and Bermuda have recently joined other countries around the world in launching remote working visa programs. Other eager countries include Estonia, Georgia, Dubai, Croatia, the Caymans and Antigua.

But, while these countries are open to business for freelancers and other digital nomads, they may not be the best places to park your laptops and duffle bags. Travel insurance comparison site InsureMyTrip examined the latest country-level data available for countries with remote working visas to assess which ones offer the best and worst opportunities for digital nomads.

Seven key categories were analyzed for the study, including internet access and speed, apartment rental costs, language difficulty, openness to digital nomads, cost and access to a work visa and length of the remote working visa.

Norway was at the top of the chart with a score of 7.88 out of 10, earning high marks in the length of visa category (10), nomad acceptance (9.1) and happiness (9.9) and moderate scores in internet speed (7.4). Norway’s downfall was, unsurprisingly, the high cost of living.

The Top Ten

Costa Rica6.11

While the accommodation cost scored particularly highly, at an average of $354/month, Mexico earned full marks for providing a free remote work visa, along with Greece, Mauritius, Aruba and Georgia. Mexico’s slow internet is, however, a consideration, as it scored a pitiful 0.75.

The UAE receives the lowest score for language difficulty and the short length of remote working visa (1.95). However, the UAE scored well for the cost of a visa (8.57) which is significantly cheaper than more expensive countries like Antigua and Barbados.

Georgia, another country that scored low, was criticized for its low happiness score, internet speed, and nomad acceptance.

Comparing apples with oranges?

Considering that cost and duration of a digital nomad visa were two out of the seven key factors, it’s important to remember that citizens of the European Economic Area (EU27, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) are permitted to live and register in any other EEA country free of charge or for a small, nominal fee. For non-EU citizens, the picture is a little different, and you may still need to deal with significant costs and the typical bureaucracies that come with a visa application.

A recent study found that there are 10.9 million digital nomads, up from just 7.6 million in 2019. Moreover, 64 million have considered the opportunity and say they “may” become a digital nomad in the next 2-3 years, while 19 million say they “plan” to do so. This group also seems quite diverse, so what might tick a box for one nomad might not do it for another.
This is why it is crucial to break down the results presented in two decimal places. You’ll notice that countries like Portugal and Iceland are separated by only 0.01. For that reason, reviewing the complete set of results and assessing the raw scores is the best way to come to a conclusion that best suits your own personal circumstances.

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About the Author

Mark Ivener is an experienced business and EB-5 immigration attorney who has written 5 books on Immigration Law as well as has written numerous articles and spoken at many events on EB-5 topics.