Work Remotely from Paradise: Barbados Offers 12-Month Working Visa

Imagine working remotely with high-speed internet in a cottage, hotel, villa, beach, cottage or a resort on one of the world’s most peaceful and scenic beachfronts, tax free and with very little probability of getting infected with the coronavirus. That is what Barbados, a Caribbean Island of 287,320 is offering. About 12% of the country’s $4.80 billion GDP (per capita income is $17,341:00, considerably higher than Nigeria’s $2,250:00). Tourism is the country’s largest employer of labor with jobs in the sector indirectly accounting for 40% of jobs.

The Government of Barbados has unveiled an initiative called the “Barbados Welcome Stamp”, a one-year visa-free initiative to lure workers to transfer remote working to the beautiful Island. After making necessary bookings (accommodation, car rentals etc.), international tourist workers can hop on the place and get a  stamp on arrival in Barbados that allows them to stay for one year. They can also enroll children in local schools.

The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, commented on the Barbados Welcome Stamp initiative, “You don’t need to work in Europe, or the US or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back. But in order for those things to truly resonate, what does it mean?   It means that what we offer has to be world-class and what we continue to offer is world-class.”

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The Barbados Prime Minister is touting the high quality of education and access to a well-educated workforce for support functions as one of the key factors which will enable highly skilled professionals work remotely from the island. The country has invested heavily in education (about $15 billion since independence), and has a literacy rate of about 98%, one of the highest in the world.

The new coronavirus pandemic has hit the global tourism industry very hard. The United Nations World Tourism Organization announced that the pandemic has cost the industry $30-50 billion globally.  Barbados on July 15 followed other tourism-dependent islands like Aruba, Beruda, St Lucia, and Turks and Caicos to reopen its airports and hotels to tourists.

Barbados is almost coronavirus free

Barbaods has had just 103 infections and 7 deaths. Tourists coming from high-risk countries are expected to take their Covid-19 tests not earlier than 72 hours from their countries of residence before arrival and their certificate must be tendered at Grantley Adams Airport. Tourists from low-risk countries (less than 100 cases) can take their tests a week before arrival. For the Welcome Stamp program, all tourists must fill an online form regarding their status before arrival. Arriving remote works who fail to show proof of being coronavirus free will be tested and quarantined for at least 48 hours pending the result of the coronavirus test. Barbados has expanded testing and hospitalization capacities up to international standards, now boasting 100 primary and secondary Intensive Care Unit beds.

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Life is almost back to normal

Due to the very low rate of coronavirus infection, day-to-day life has gone back to normal in Barbados. Residents and visitors can spend endless time on the beaches and in parks. The limit on social gathering has been increased to 500 from 250. The presence of good physical infrastructure and high-quality utilities has been a big draw for tourists. Barbados is hoping that this high-quality environment is going to help lure well-heeled professionals who have been cooped in their luxury flats in London, Paris, and New York for four months now to return as remoter workers. Some high flyers may join from Lagos. They will be welcome to stay so long they can pay for the experience; Barbados has not replaced its population since 1980 and has 80,000 people less than normal.

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You can get more information on visiting Barbados here.

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