Pandemic spurs self-employed IT professionals to immigrate
January 25, 2022
5 minutes read
A recent study of the migration services market showed that the coronavirus pandemic has contributed to the technological transformation of society and increased the number of relocation programs for so-called digital nomads, such as IT freelancers. Competition between countries to attract this category of specialists has increased, as their knowledge and skills can be useful in economic recovery.
Lands for digital nomads
Digital nomads can apply for residence permits in 23 countries, according to Worldwide Immigration Trends report for 2021 by Fragomen Knowledge Group, such as: St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, Panama, Bahamas, Seychelles, Cape Verde, Sri Lanka, Cayman Islands, Aruba, Barbados, Bermuda, Mauritius, Costa Rica, Montserrat, Malta, UAE, Croatia, Iceland, Curacao, Greece, Dominica, Estonia and Georgia.
The report also shows that there are new countries that intend to launch immigration programs for self-employed IT professionals: Romania, Thailand, Albania, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Argentina, Panama, Ecuador, Grenada, Indonesia and Colombia. Orhan Yavuz Mavioglu, a Turkish immigration lawyer and managing partner of Mavioglu & Alkan Law Office, said that in Turkey, the digital transformation of CBI-related processes has accelerated significantly during the pandemic.
"During the pandemic, the government simplified the processing of requests and allowed applications to be filed remotely or electronically," the attorney said. "Although travel restrictions were imposed, the government's liberal immigration decisions increased the flow of investment into the Turkish economy," Orhan Yavuz Mavioglu added.
The number of self-employed IT-specialists is growing
The CBI agent in Antigua and Barbuda, Kalyn Kennard, who is a founding partner of Citizens International, said the Caribbean expects the number of digital nomads to continue multiplying. "I believe we will see a significant increase in digital nomad programs in the Caribbean because they are most comfortable living and working here in one of the most beautiful places on earth," said Kennard.
Kraemer & Kraemer managing partner and spokesman for the Panama Investor Visa Program Marcos Kraemer said Panama has high hopes for the immigration of self-employed IT professionals. "The program for digital nomads was created in 2021, but it didn't produce the expected results, so we're waiting for the government to improve it," Kraemer said.
Highly attractive programs for global talent
The Fragomen Knowledge Group report also shows a correlation between the outflow of talented self-employed people during the pandemic from their home countries to states that offered them lucrative immigration programs. Although unemployment rose substantially because of the pandemic, skilled workers actively participated in relocation programs that provided them with better working and living conditions. The following immigration streams were particularly popular with the workforce: Australia's Global Talent Initiative, Canada's Global Talent Stream, UK's Global Talent visa category and UAE's golden visa programs.
Canadian immigration consultant Julien Tetrault, who serves as president of JTH Lawyers Inc. said Canada is seeking to attract global talent through its Start-Up Visa (SUV) program, which is showing good results. "We are seeing a surge of interest in the SUV program, and this is just the beginning as its popularity continues to grow. It's great to see new opportunities to host families in Canada while their applications for residence status are being processed," Tetrault said.
More cities for remote workers
The Fragomen Knowledge Group report also predicts that more and more governments will rely on remote labor. Portugal, which in November 2020 launched a special center for digital nomads on the Madeira Islands, where more than 9,000 workers are already registered, is a case in point.
For the same reason, the PRC is creating an economic zone called the "Great Bay Area," which will connect Hong Kong and Macau with the major centers of southern China. And Saudi Arabia promises to build an entire city by 2025, where it will implement innovative projects together with Jordan and Israel.
We can also conclude from the report that states such as Finland and New Zealand will offer talented foreigners to become self-employed specialists, which will allow them to immigrate without prior employment in local businesses.
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