For a lot of us, #WorkFromHome is the new normal, and many companies say they plan to continue the practice permanently even after the COVID crisis.
That’s giving a lot of people new freedom to re-structure their lives in a way that brings them more joy than long commutes and office cubicals.
One Caribbean island is capitalizing on this huge shift in work and lifestyle. Barbados has introduced a ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’, an invitation for international travelers, including US and Canadian citizens, to relocate and work remotely for a year.
If you dream of an island beach way of life, this 12-month visa gives you the opportunity to move your home office to a paradise island famous for:
· Making the top ten of a list of Top 100 Destinations around the world;
· Crane Beach in St.Philip, voted one of the world’s sexiest beaches;
· Being the first Zagat-rated Caribbean Island, with a reputation as the culinary capital of the Caribbean;
· The annual Barbados Food & Rum Festival;
· World-class golf;
· And cricket!;
· Being superstar musician Rihanna’s home island, where she maintains ties to her community;
· Offering visitors picturesque plantation houses and villas, quaint bed and breakfasts and award-winning, five-star resorts to use as a base while they explore the island.
But instead of a one-week, 14-day or even month-long vacation, you can live like a ‘Bajan’ for a year.
You could end your work day like this.
The country anticipates this new visa will appeal to individual creatives, digital nomads, entrepreneurs and even whole teams. Your new island lifestyle won’t interfere with your productivity, either. Barbados Tourism says the country has already caught the eye of Millennials, who can enjoy working vacations as it “boasts the fastest fiber internet and mobile services in the Caribbean.
“Our country also offers excellent health care and a high education standard, which we know is critical for those who want to bring their families to the island for a 12-month period.”
Barbados had suspended non-essential travel to the island in response to COVID-19, incurring just over 100 cases among its nearly 300,000 residents. Health and safety guidelines similar to many jurisdictions are in place as the island’s borders have re-opened, including face masks and physical distancing.
Currently, on arrival in Barbados, travellers must present evidence of a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test, a fill out a questionnaire relating to COVID-19 symptoms and undergo temperature checks.
Applications are now open for the 12-month ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ visa. And if you fall in love, you can reapply for a renewal.
The Barbados Welcome Stamp application is a simplified process for remote workers re-locating, requiring minimum paperwork – photos, copies of your passport, birth certificate, proof of relationship of co-applying family members and an entry visa if applicable.
It’s not free, however. Applicants must pay $2000 USD for an individual or $3000 USD per family once they’re approved. Barbados Tourism does point out visa holders will not have to pay income taxes in the country.
If there are silver linings to the COVID crisis, one must be the innovation resulting from a transformed global business landscape.
Barbados’ Prime Minister is quoted as saying, “The sunshine is powerful. The seawater is powerful. They’re both therapeutic in ways that are hard to explain. Why not share it?”
Images courtesy Barbados Tourism.
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