Barbados aims to attract quarantine-weary foreigners looking for an alternative to home office.
Feel like capitalizing on the home office phenomenon by working from abroad? How about shifting your office to a tropical paradise? The Caribbean island nation of Barbados has launched an initiative known as Barbados Welcome Stamp, a one-year remote working visa that gives foreigners the right to live and work remotely in the country as they adjust to the new normal. Applicants can enter their personal information at a portal website and their application will be processed within 72 hours, at which point they will be advised if they have been approved to come live and work remotely in Barbados.
But what about the COVID-19 pandemic? Barbados has recorded just 106 official cases of COVID-19, and only seven deaths at the last count.
“You don’t need to work in Europe, or the US or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time, go back and come back,” Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said upon announcing the scheme. The government of Bermuda has floated a similar idea for a six-month permit, but has yet to formally launch their program.
Staying safe in paradise
Barbados’ health-care system has been able to stay well ahead of the crisis so far as officials have set up two facilities dedicated solely to COVID-19 patients to keep them out of hospitals. The two isolation wards are capable of housing more than 200 people. The government of Barbados outlines the protocols that visitors must adhere to here. But once on the island, there are relatively few restrictions on daily life, beyond the physical distancing, mask wearing, and hand washing measures that are being enforced just about everywhere.
“When persons start to consider looking for travel options in jurisdictions that have managed the COVID crisis well, Barbados must be on the radar,” Peter Mayers, the Canadian director for Barbados’s tourism and marketing organization, said.
There are ample schooling and daycare options on the island, none of which are currently closed or limited in capacity, while the country also boasts some of the fastest internet and cell phone services in the Caribbean. Naturally, there are a few catches. You have to make US$50,000 a year and there’s a non-refundable fee of $2,000 for an individual and $3,000 for families. Housing suitable for a family can be found for as Little as $1,000 a month, which is why the government of Barbados is hoping to appeal to families and not necessarily just individuals. Of course, travelers should be aware that governments that have opened their borders to tourists could impose strict travel restrictions suddenly, should they experience an increase in cases of COVID-19.
But what better opportunity to live out your (quarantine) days in the sun?
"The pandemic has reminded us how vulnerable and exposed we are to shocks that threaten our very existence, let alone our development. Equally, the challenges to multilateralism continue at a time when it is needed more than ever," @miaamormottley signing #UNCTAD15 agreement. pic.twitter.com/1y12GGhTRv
— UNCTAD (@UNCTAD) August 5, 2020