Would your remote employee be tempted to move his or her workstation from their kitchen counter in Toledo, Ohio, to a nifty beach bungalow in the Cayman Islands? Or would a cool $12,000 in cash spur Tom in accounting to telecommute from a townhome in West Virginia instead of his cramped Manhattan studio?
Spoiler alert: It’s happening.
With the pandemic-spurred global shift to remote work, local and national governments worldwide are seeking to lure telecommuters with relocation programs that include cash payments, work visas and benefits unique to their geographical/cultural regions to boost their local economies.
To be sure, organizations have a vested interest in knowing whether their workers are taking these locales up on the offers, because there may be hidden complications for employers.
For one thing, businesses with staff working out of their home state may not be withholding payroll taxes appropriately, according to a study by Topia, an employee-management platform.
Of the remote workers Topia polled in its study, about 28 percent had worked outside of their home state or country, while only a third had reported it to their human-resources department.
Some employees may forget to report that they are working out of state or country and others may hide their location to avoid cost-of-living decreases to their salaries, Topia added.
For many organizations, it may be smart to ask remote employees if they are considering (or have accepted) a move elsewhere.
Here is a list of some cities and countries seeking to attract remote workers to relocate:
The Remote Shoals plan launched in 2018 offers a $10,000 initiative and a low cost of living. The $10,000 stipend is distributed in three phases: 25 percent is awarded upfront to assist with relocation costs; an additional 25 percent is given after six months of living in Shoals; the remaining 50 percent is then distributed after the first year there. Workers must make an annual income of $52,000 a year, can move within six months, be at least 18 with U.S. work eligibility and have full-time remote employment.
Move to Michigan provides remote workers with up to $15,000 toward a new home priced at $200,000 and a choice of over $5,000 in additional perks. Telecommuters must purchase homes in one of four designated area codes, prove they are working remotely full time for a company outside of southwest Michigan and must also consider volunteering in the community.
The Shift South initiative supplies eligible workers with $6,000 in relocation-expense reimbursement if they buy a house priced at least $150,000 in Natchez. Additionally, a monthly stipend of $300 is included for a one-year period. To be eligible, workers should be employed outside of the Natchez region with the ability to work remotely, establish a residence within the city limits of Natchez and meet residency requirements of owning and living in the home for a year.
Tulsa Remote offers a monthly stipend totaling $10,000 in addition to office space for remote workers willing to relocate there. Workers must be 18 or older, a full-time remote worker or self-employed, available to move during 2021 and able to work in the U.S.
Through the Ascend WV program, remote workers are offered $12,000 and a year of free outdoor recreation, if accepted via application. The program offers free coordinated social events to connect with professionals, neighbors and families, along with a collaborative workspace.
Antigua and Barbuda
The islands’ Nomad Digital Residence initiative allows travelers to live and work on the island for up to two years if they provide proof that their annual income meets the minimum $50,000 requirement. Work must be based outside of the Caribbean and workers must provide their own health insurance through the duration of their stay. Application costs vary from $1,500 for one person to $2,000 for a couple and $3,000 for a family of three or more, according to the website.
Bermuda’s program enables remote workers and students to stay on the island for up to a year. Applicants must be 18 or older, show proof of employment or enrollment in a school and evidence of a steady income.
The Global Citizen Concierge Program authorizes remote workers to live on the island for up to 24 months. Workers must show proof of employment outside of the Cayman Islands with a minimum income of $100,000 a year; couples must make over $150,000; those with one or more children must make at least $180,000. The application fee is $1,469.
The country situated on the Adriatic Sea launched a Digital Nomad Visa that provides workers with a visa allowing them to stay for up to a year. Remote workers are required to complete an application, submit a background check, work for a foreign country and show proof of sufficient funds to support themselves, among other requirements. Those approved are exempt from paying income tax.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Dubai’s remote-work program allows for telecommuters to stay up to a year when working for companies based in foreign nations. Workers are required to make $5,000 a month in income and provide proof of medical insurance. Upon approval, employees will have the ability to open bank accounts, enroll their children in schools, be exempt from income-tax and become eligible for a Covid-19 vaccine.
Estonia launched a Digital Nomad Visa that allows for remote workers to live and work in the country for up to a year. Workers must have employment outside of Estonia and prove they earn at least €3,504 ($4,321) a month.
The Montserrat program permits a one-year visa stay. Workers must prove they work for a company outside the Caribbean and make at least $70,000 a year, in addition to other criteria. The application process also requires a nonrefundable fee: $500 for singles and $750 for families (up to three dependents) with an extra $250 for any additional family member.