Work is underway to challenge corporate mindsets, in particular the value that refugees can bring to organizations in the new distributed world.
One country wants to make its digital nomad visa scheme more "inclusive," amid calls for companies to broaden their horizons when recruiting remote workers.
To get an idea of where remote work is heading, it pays to look at the more mature countries. Step forward Estonia, which wants to take the privilege status out of digital nomads. As a small country, and a relatively new entity, it looked for ways early on to attract people to spur economic growth. Part of that effort involved targeting richer nations.
In 2014, it became one of the first countries to offer e-residency status to outsiders, and today has 80,000 of these residents, who can be mostly described as digital nomads. Between them they've founded 17,000 companies. In 2020, Estonia became the first country in the European Union to officially offer a nomad visa.
A year on, it wants to address a few things.
Filling the Gap
“What keeps me up at night is inclusion,” said Hannah Brown, head of content for e-Residency at the Estonian government.
Most conversations around digital nomads center around middle and high-income countries, where people have ample opportunity to travel and work. “This translates to the markets we reach,” she added, with Estonia's own overseas embassies and pick-up locations for its visas or e-residency cards located in corresponding destinations.
Estonia has now recognized there are gaps, Brown said. It has only just opened a location in South Africa, marking its first move into Sub-Saharan Africa, and until recently had just two pick-up locations in the whole of Asia, but has since opened two more.
“That for me is something we need to work harder on, in the sense of being able to open up the opportunity more for people to start businesses, or travel here and live here,” she added, speaking at an inaugural Work From Anywhere webinar.
Companies should also treat remote w