Dubrovnik and other Croatian cities have recently seen an influx of digital nomads arriving from across the planet. Why is that happening and what type of person comes to work here? A look at the overall remote working industry and some changes to Croatia’s visa requirements provide the answer.
What Is a Digital Nomad?
This type of worker uses the latest technology to work remotely, allowing them to live in different places and explore the world while they still earn money. They may have a fixed job or they may work on a freelance basis, using hotels, coffee shops, and other places to hook up to the internet and work. The phrase has been around since the end of the 20th century, but the introduction of fast Wi-Fi and tools such as Zoom and Google Workspace has helped to make this lifestyle accessible for more people than ever before.
Among the most popular destinations are countries such as Mexico, Thailand, and Estonia, where nomads can live relatively cheaply while exploring a fascinating country. The number of digital nomads in America rose from 7.3 million in 2019 to 10.9 million in 2020 based on the number of people who would describe themselves as that. This group has a higher than average job satisfaction index. This survey suggests a total population of 35 million digital nomads with an average age of 40.
What Work Do They Do?
There is an ever-increasing number of jobs that can be carried out on a remote basis by these workers. Graphic designers use tools such as the cloud-based Adobe Creative Suite that can be used to create and share visual projects. This type of role is also ideally suited to people working as developers, content producers, or in marketing. With many companies now having an online presence and with 4.8 billion internet users in the world as of July 2021, there are now numerous opportunities for people with all types of skills; for example, a German couple who run a YouTube channel from Croatia show other Germans who are interested in making the move how this switch can be done independently.
A digital nomad could produce YouTube or Twitch videos, or they could write website content and provide customer service. The e-commerce industry gives us a clear example of the switch to online transactions, with worldwide sales of $4.28 trillion in 2020 expected to rise to $6.5 trillion in 2023. Remote workers are needed to design sites, update listings, provide support, and carry out many of the other tasks needed to run a successful e-commerce operation. The line between work and tourism can get blurry when working like this.
Traditional casino games have moved online too. A look at a casino website reveals a variety of slot games such as 9 Masks of Fire, Assassin Fire, and Jurassic Park. They use live streaming technology for live dealer games based on classic table games like roulette and blackjack. The biggest developers listed here, such as Microgaming and Just for the Win, regularly release new slots and tend to have large, global teams that may offer possibilities for digital nomads to enjoy flexibility while creating new games.
In the same way, other industries such as travel agents, book publishing, and personal training have all successfully gone virtual in recent times by using the latest technology. Each of these industries has a range of tasks that can be carried out by workers located pretty much anywhere on the planet. Bespoke software is now available for most industries that can be entered remotely, with the online personal trainer sector using a variety of tools, for example.
Why Is Croatia Such a Popular Destination?
One of the biggest issues for digital nomads is in obtaining the visas or other paperwork needed to carry on travelling and working. They may need to move to a new country before they wanted to, due to their visa running out. This can lead to extra hassle and expense, and also mean that they can’t settle down in one place. Since digital nomads bring money to the economy, some countries have decided to offer special visas to these workers. Barbados, Costa Rica, and Portugal are among the nations that let them stay for a year or two without any extra paperwork needed once they arrive.
Croatia introduced a one-year visa for foreign remote workers at the start of 2021. It applies to people from outside the EU who work with communication technology and don’t need a tourist visa to enter the country. Among the requirements, these digital nomads can’t give services to Croatian businesses and don’t pay income tax, although they need to prove that they earn at least €2,200 euros ($2,700) each month.
To date, early reports suggest that the majority of digital nomads to get this visa are British or American. This has provided some much-needed visitors for cities such as Dubrovnik, where the remote workers can provide year-round benefits for the tourism industry. For those thinking of going the other way, Croatians may soon be able to travel the US without a visa under the Visa Waiver program.
The success of the Croatian visa for digital nomads should see many more remote workers attracted to the country, with the possibility that it eventually turns it into a major hub for people who work in this way.