Namibia is now offering six-month Digital Nomad Visas (DNVs) that allow foreign nationals to live, work and travel hassle-free in the country. With this initiative, the Namibian government hopes to foster the increase of economic activities in the country by creating a conducive environment for foreign remote workers, also called digital nomads.
The visa was launched by the Namibia Investment Promotion and Development Board (NIPDB) last week.
Applicants, via six-month bank statements, will need to prove they are able to sustain themselves and their dependants – US$2,000 for the applicant, US$1,000 for an accompanying spouse, US$500 per accompanying child per month. Applicants should also have valid travel documents, health insurance and/or travel insurance. The visa notification should be received within 2 weeks of application, if all goes well. The visa fee of US$62 (N$1,100) is to be paid on arrival.
For many, this is excellent news as remote work has become increasingly popular in the aftermath of the pandemic. Remote workers in whatever field can now come to the southern African country to enjoy the scenic landscapes, good internet connectivity and serenity, amongst other things, while delivering work to employers in whatever country.
The pandemic forced companies to switch to solely remote work, but as it eased, many of those companies saw the value in it and decided to retain it, either fully or partly (hybrid work). For fully remote workers, there would be no need to move to the countries of their employers. Even travel for international conferences and meetings saw a major slowdown as people realised they could just meet online via Zoom.
Consequently, global travel drastically reduced, negatively impacting many countries’ tourism sectors. The NIPDB said many countries with large tourism sectors suffering from the said reduction in global travel have opted to offer Digital Nomad Visas to remote workers. This is with the hopes that the visas will boost travel to their countries.
According to the Harvard School of Business, as of May, about 46 countries worldwide offered Digital Nomad Visas to enable remote workers to legally work within them. The list only included 3 African countries namely, Cape Verde, Mauritius and Seychelles. With Namibia joining the list, the numbers have now increased to 47 and 4, respectively. 7 more African countries are planning to introduce the special visa, including Kenya and South Africa.
NIPDB CEO Nangula Uaandja sees the DNV initiative as a way for Namibia to “attract and gain economic benefit from people who want to work, live and travel in Namibia, without absorbing Namibian jobs”.
One of such benefits is the injection of foreign currency into the country by the foreign nationals. Additionally, the DNV will serve as an impetus for the creation of value chains for services catering to digital nomads, consequently boosting the local hospitality and tourism industries. Moreover, it will open more ground for local and foreign professionals to exchange knowledge and innovative ideas.
Namibia could leverage its significant tourism appeal to lure some of the 35 million digital nomads worldwide, who contribute to a global economic value of US$787 billion, according to A Brother Abroad.
Sources: The Namibian, New Era Live.