Remote Working: A Change in Mindset
| Nofisatu Mojidi

Remote Working: A Change in Mindset

Read Senior Manager Nofi Mojidi's latest blog to learn more about the workplace paradigm shift in the mindsets of many during the COVID-19 era here

Remote Working: The Response to COVID-19

The idea of ‘remote working’, ‘working from anywhere’, ‘tele-working’, ‘working from home’ or even ‘flexible work’ are not new phenomena. These concepts are part of a larger trend that has been gaining popularity over recent decades. Over the last year, however, organizations and governments around the world have re-directed their focus on remote working, aiming to cope with the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Due to COVID-19 lockdown procedures practiced by multiple countries around the world, many employees were no longer able to work from their offices—and in order to ensure continuity of both life and business, the concept of remote working was rapidly re-introduced at the start of the pandemic as an alternative work option for public and private entities alike.

The Rise of the Digital Nomad & TechPat

The COVID-19 era has seen the emergence of a new generation of remote workers, keen to benefit from the incentives provided to those daring enough to work remotely from various jurisdictions. These workers are now termed ‘digital nomads’, or ‘techpats’. These individuals are location-independent, technologically savvy and often, have a thirst for travel. Simply put, they use technology to perform their jobs by telecommuting from locations often far from a company’s headquarters or office location. Their lifestyles have been made possible through several innovations, including content management software, internet access through Wi-Fi, smartphones, and Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) to contact clients and employers.

Spotlight on the UAE’s Virtual Working Program

In October 2020, the government of Dubai, UAE, launched a Virtual Working Program for foreign nationals seeking to work remotely while remaining employed in their home country. At the time, it was the first formalized remote work visa in the Middle East region. The main attraction of this program is that it enables foreign nationals to benefit from working in Dubai without a local employment contract.

Furthermore, foreign professionals, entrepreneurs and business owners are eligible for a one-year permit if they earn a minimum salary of USD 5,000 net income per month in their home country, among other requirements such as proof of health insurance, evidence of employment and verification of previous earnings. Once the applicant obtains the Virtual Working Permit, they can sponsor dependants including a spouse and children under 18. The application process is convenient as it gives foreign nationals the option to apply from their home country or from within the UAE. Processing time frames range from 2 to 3 weeks for the end to end process with an option to expedite the application at various stages.

Dubai Virtual Working Permit holders can work anywhere in Dubai —from co-working spaces, coffee shops, hotels, business centres and, of course, their homes. From a practical perspective, they are able to lease cars, apartments and villas; open bank accounts; access mobile and data plans, enrol their children into Dubai’s schools; essentially have all the benefits of any other residence permit holder in Dubai.

The Global Embrace of Remote Working

Many countries around the world have begun capitalizing on this change in mindset and shift in workspace. We’ve seen digital nomad and remote working visa programs standardized using public policies in both emerging and developed countries, offsetting some of the economic fallout following the halt of global tourism.

As of today, there are currently many countries offering some form of long-term remote work option, digital nomad visa or temporary stay status to welcome these nomadic families, tech-entrepreneurs, and freelancers. Read Fragomen’s Worldwide Immigration Trends Report to find out more about these programs. 

Although eligibility requirements and application processes differ from country to country, many of these jurisdictions tend to prohibit remote workers from engaging in business directly related to the operation of any entity within that country.

Need to know more? 

For further information and advice on remote working, please contact Nofi Mojidi at [email protected] or your Fragomen immigration professional. This blog was published on 30 July 2021, and due to the circumstances, there are frequent changes. To keep up to date with all the latest updates on global immigration, please visit our dedicated COVID-19 site, subscribe to our alerts and follow us on LinkedIn, twitter, Facebook and Instagram.