For digital nomads, Madrigal de las Altas Torre beckons
Digital nomads are on the move. From Bali to Monserrat and Malta, destinations are laying out the red carpet to attract overseas talent.
Estonia was the first country to offer a digital nomad visa in 2019; Since then, more than 25 countries and territories in Europe, Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean have launched their own programs.
The most notable initiative is in Spain, where 27 small communities have come together to form the National Network of Host Villages for Teleworking to encourage teleworkers to stay in their rural towns and villages.
Booking.com supports the program, which aims to revitalize and repopulate rural areas.
The network is organized around an internet platform, www.pueblosacogedores.com, which collects information about the cities and all the opportunities they offer for teleworking and living there.
Each municipality has a detailed leaflet including a promotional video with information on accommodation, co-working spaces, internet coverage, public transport connections and whether there is a post office, ATM or bank.
According to the network’s website, the search for the most suitable municipality is carried out using a search engine and filters. In addition, telework preferences can be made and the site itself offers guidance on the most suitable place to settle.
Maybe Santa Ana la Real or Madrigal de las Altas Torre (pop. 1,415) or one of the other remote communities waiting to welcome digital nomads.
“The rural world offers some teleworking opportunities that have probably not been appreciated before,” said Antonio Calvo Roy, sustainability director of Red Eléctrica, which owns Spain’s electricity grid and supports the program.
A recent report by the Migration Policy Institute shows that while some visas for digital nomads and freelancers were issued before the pandemic, the combination of travel restrictions, lost tourism revenue, and the widespread adoption of remote work practices during the pandemic era has helped encourage the adoption of newer ones advance programs.
The authors of this report, Kate Hooper and Meghan Benton, have analyzed the impact on countries encouraging remote workers to their shores, what this means for digital nomads hoping to settle in a new country and the challenges for employers, whose employees may be poolside on their laptops in Greece, while their headquarters are thousands of miles away in Sydney.
“For host countries, the appeal of digital nomads is pretty obvious. They can fill a need for in-demand skills, foster entrepreneurship, or promote economic development in rural communities,” reported the Migration Policy Institute.
But the report’s authors warn: “The hype surrounding these visas and their role as a tourism branding exercise makes it difficult to assess whether they are realizing this potential – and whether they can help immigration systems to accommodate longer-term changes in the where and how of people.” cope with work.
“All of this suggests that the time has come to examine whether key elements of the policy landscape — most notably immigration systems, but also tax, pension and social security policies — are ready for a remote work era and how they can help businesses , workers, and countries of origin and destination are better aware of the potential benefits.”
The report’s authors are certain of one thing: “Failure to address remote work in immigration policy is a missed opportunity for governments.
“Increasing remote work practices and norms could help revitalize declining regions as companies hire workers who live away from corporate headquarters or help individuals move to more affordable areas to further increase salaries and access more housing receive.”
Me? I’m looking for my old school atlas.
Well, where is Madrigal de las Altas Torre?
Featured image: Small communities in Spain have created the National Network of Host Villages for Telework. Photo credit: Fotoeventis/iStock/GettyImagsPlus