The way in which many people view life has changed thanks to the pandemic and all the upheaval it has brought through a myriad of restrictions, work from home mandates and lockdowns. Some countries have had to endure draconian rules and infringements on their lives and civil liberties, which have affected people in different ways.
This has resulted in some workers rethinking what they want to do career-wise and where they want to work. Some have opted to head to countries where restrictions are more relaxed and have found that remote working suits their lifestyle well. Others have been tempted by countries offering extended temporary visas for remote foreign workers and digital nomads wanting to escape their own country. So is 2022 the year of the nomad, with more people opting to work abroad than ever before?
PassportCard CEO Leor Catalan takes a look at why 2022 could be a critical year for this community and how his company can help.
Here in the UK leaving the EU has limited millions of people in terms of their right to travel and work freely in other EU countries by stopping their freedom of movement. Add in the pandemic which forced the majority of the world into some form of lockdown, and this signalled a temporary end to our much-loved holidays and business travel, hitting the travel industry particularly badly.
All age groups have been affected but perhaps it is the younger generation that have felt the most hard done by. With a virus that really only affects the elderly and those with underlying health issues, life was put on hold. So, some of the young and more tech savvy workers decided to move abroad whilst still working remotely for their companies back home or running their own businesses.
As the global economy begins to recover both economically and psychologically, Leor Catalan says:
“Countries are battling it out to recuperate economically from the pandemic by focusing on attracting this demographic to their territories through the introduction of special visas and tax incentives.
At present, the global digital nomad community is estimated to be in the millions and is increasing rapidly.”
Digital nomads tend to be a breed that place an emphasis on living life to its fullest, giving numerous benefits to the economies of the countries that they travel to and work within, and helping to revive tourism. They also tend to have solid professional skills and spend much of their earnings on living, eating and enjoying themselves wherever they are located, thereby ploughing money into the local economy. The younger generation also tends to be fit and healthy and is therefore less likely to put a strain on the country’s public services.
Travel generally makes people feel much happier and so could 2022 be the year that the adventurous workers take advantage of improved technology and connectivity and decide to run their businesses from abroad? The advantages are clear, from learning about new cultures to improving language skills, a new lifestyle and experience will bring excitement to daily life.
In the past, digital nomads have had problems with getting good travel and medical insurance cover, due in part to government regulations of the countries they come from. And while many digital nomads choose to buy travel insurance, hoping that it will be adequate for their needs, most of the travel insurance covers available on the market require you to have a return ticket home or include reimbursement clauses that can often leave claimants out of pocket.
As Leor Catalan explains:
“The key to making insurance work for the digital nomad demographic is to really understand which risks these IT literate thinkers are exposed to more frequently than static workers and other travelers.
“One of our own key aims was to ensure that if anything went wrong while our digital nomads were travelling, they wouldn’t find themselves out of pocket.
“So, we essentially created a fully digital insurance programme that is tailored to the nomad lifestyle – not only from an insurance benefits perspective but also, from an experience perspective. This is a huge leap from traditional insurance methods which do not fit the digital nomad’s lifestyle, which (among other burdensome ‘rules of the road’) require members to pay for the medical needs out-of-pocket, submit a ‘manual’ claim and then await reimbursement from their insurance company. Kind of absurd nomads are required to fund their insurers.
“Bringing to market the world’s first serious long-travel and medical insurance programme, we provide our customers with an insurance debit card, which is connected to PassportCard’s bank account. Everything is facilitated through a dedicated app that takes away the hassle of different insurance forms and unexpected expenses. So, whenever a nomad needs to see a doctor, they load their insurance card for payment before they have their appointment with the medical professional. In other words, the bill is on us!”
If you are contemplating working abroad this year, you will find more information on PassportCard and international health insurance on their website: www.passportcardnomads.com
Simon Burrell is Editor of Our Man On The Ground, a member of The British Guild of Travel Writers and professional photographer.