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    Top 10 Countries for Remote Work

    Covid led all the employees to work from home. But now that the dust has settled, some companies are rethinking what 95% of working professionals want—some form of remote work. 

    Now post-covied remote work has become a top priority for 63% of employees, surpassing salary (61%), flexible schedules (55%), and work-life balance (54%).

    It provides flexibility and freedom, and this benefits both employers and employees. For example, employees get more family time, while employees can access a global talent pool.

    Remote work also presents challenges for both employees and employers.

    1. Employees must consider living costs, local regulations, and internet reliability.
    2. Employers (especially the IT teams) face issues with equipping employees with the right IT assets and hardware/equipment because of customs fees, shipping regulations, and vendor management. 

    That’s why it’s important to choose the right destinations to hire talent, or if you’re an employee, look for working opportunities. We’ve picked the top ten countries for remote work based on multiple factors that affect both employees and employers.

    Let’s dive in!

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    The State of Remote Work in 2024

    Here are a few interesting insights on remote work in 2024:

    • The World Economic Forum predicts that 92 million job roles will be suitable for a completely remote model by 2030, up from 73 million today

    The Top 10 Countries for Those Looking To Work Remotely

    We have researched and evaluated multiple potential countries on factors like:

    1. physical and digital infrastructure, 

    2. safety, quality of life, 

    3. costs of living, 

    4. visa incentives for remote workers, 

    5. social standing, 

    6. and many other factors to curate a list to help both remote workers and organizations looking to hire them. 

    Here’s our list. 👀

     Country 1: Spain

     

     

    Top Destinations: Madrid and Barcelona are beautiful, bustling cities in Spain, with a religious obsession with football. Both cities are steeped in culture, architecture, and amazing cuisine.

    Remote.com ranked Spain as the best country to work remotely.

    • High-speed Wi-Fi is common in almost every hotel and Airbnb throughout Spain. Even most Spanish cafes and parks have great Wi-Fi. Spain’s Wi-Fi download speeds are only slightly below France's at 114.4 Mbps, where upload speeds are the fastest at 91.4 Mbps.

    • Spain has great transportation, with a timely and reliable railway run by Renfe that connects the entire country. Most trains are spacious, well-maintained and air-conditioned. Dependable and comfortable buses also run between all major cities and towns.

    • Spain offers a Digital Nomad Visa for remote workers and freelancers, specifically for non-EU/EEA residents. This visa comes with special tax benefits and offers travel permits to Schengen areas.

    • The cost of living in Spain is noticeably lower than in American cities and towns and even in European countries like France.

    Country 2: Portugal 

     

     

    Top Destinations: Lisbon and Porto remain the best options for nomads. Lisbon is one of the most vibrant and beautiful capitals in all of Europe, and Porto is a stunning destination for people who prefer being close to the waters.

    • Portugal is known for its relatively low cost of living, including cheap groceries, transportation, and accommodation. Plus, the weather is lovely and sunny throughout the year. 

    • Portugal ranks in the top 25 countries globally in terms of average broadband speeds. Download speeds hover above 100 Mbps, and upload speeds around 50 Mbps. There is also a high-speed internet infrastructure throughout the country

    • Plenty of visa options are available. Non-EU residents can avail of the Portugal Golden Visa Program, a five-year residency-by-investment scheme that promises Portuguese citizenship after five years of citizenship. Tax benefits are also offered to workers under the NHR program in Portugal.

    • Accommodations for digital nomads are plentiful. Airbnbs are scattered everywhere, and homegrown startups like NomadX cater to them.

    Country 3: Canada 

    Top Destinations: Toronto is the energetic hub of Canada and a major spot for remote talent. Other notable locations for remote work are Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal

    Canada is popular among both remote workers and tourists. And with the recently introduced Digital Nomad Work Visa Program, it's even easier to work remotely there. Canada is known for being safe and welcoming for outsiders, and the governmental rules regarding immigration are relatively lax.

    • Canada’s rapidly accelerating tech industry, universal healthcare, and multicultural society make it a great choice for digital nomads. It provides the perfect mix of the urban and the natural. Gorgeous, untouched natural lands are always a drive away, and the sprawling cities support the 10th largest economy in the world

    • Part of Canada’s Tech Talent Strategy, the Digital Nomad Visa Program allows remote workers to stay and work in Canada for up to 6 months. If offered a job by a Canadian organization during this period, they can transition to a work permit

    • A 2021 study found that out of the world’s 75 largest cities, Canadian cities like Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto were among the top bunch in terms of quality of life

    • Canada has one of the fastest internet services in the West, with median download speeds touching 200 Mbps and uploads around 150 Mbps.

    Country 4: New Zealand

    Top Destinations: Auckland, the thriving and busy metropolis, provides plenty of accommodation and outdoor activity options for remote workers and tourists. Less crowded but equally interesting cities include Christchurch, Hamilton, and Wellington. 

    Digital nomad-ing in the land of the Kiwis has its own charm. The country hosts some of the most gorgeous landscapes on the planet. If you want to be close to nature, there’s no better place to live and work. 

    • You’ll find New Zealand consistently at the top in all global quality of life rankings. New Zealand doesn’t discard the value of work-life balance, and this adds to the country’s consistently high ranking in happiness indexes. The country is safe, and there is universal healthcare and easy access to quality education. 

    • Digital nomads in New Zealand rely on two kinds of Visas: the Working Holiday Visa and the Visitor Visa. The former allows visa holders to work for either 12, 24, or 36 months in the country, depending on their native country. The second option is ambiguous since the guidelines regarding work aren’t clear.

    • The cost of living is marginally higher compared to many other countries. In major cities like Auckland, Wellington, and Hamilton, this is noticeable, as essential expenses like food and transport can drain pockets.

    • Even remote towns like Dunedin enjoy internet speeds up to 75 Mbps. Internet speeds are among some of the fastest in the world, and there is a robust digital infrastructure, including banking, accommodation, etc.

    Country 5: Japan

    Top Destinations: Tokyo and Kyoto are diverse, beautiful cities that deserve to be explored. Rural Japan provides an alternative, more grounded option to live and work.

    Japan is a completely different world in itself and must be on the top of your remote working destination picks. Whether you want to live among the neon-soaked streets of Tokyo or experience a peaceful rural stay, there’s something for everyone in Japan.

    • Japan is often thought to be prohibitively expensive. However, that’s completely untrue. By staying away from tourist hotspots and relying on local food, you’ll find that Japan is one of the cheaper countries instead. 

    • Japan’s public transport service is easily one of the best in the world. You can reach every corner of Japan using public transport. The Shinkansen makes travel between major cities easy. As for inter-city travel, metros and buses are everywhere. There are even public biking services with dedicated bike lanes.

    • Japan's quality of life is high. Japanese people are organized, disciplined, and progressive. Everything runs smoothly in Japan–there’s no litter, trains rarely get delayed, and things happen as they are supposed to.

    • English is not widely used in Japan. Non-residents need to familiarize themselves with basic Japanese in order to get by comfortably. 

    • Japan is gradually loosening restrictions to attract top talent. In the spring of 2024, Japan initiated its Digital Nomad Visa Program for remote workers. Visa holders are allowed to stay for up to 6 months upon proving an annual income of 10+ million JPY.  

    Country 6: France

    Top Destinations: Paris, the city of Love, is a must-visit. However, Paris is expensive, and other cities like Nice, Lyon, and Toulouse are great alternatives.

    France is becoming increasingly popular among remote workers. Most want to experience the French way of life while working here. There are endless options of places to work from; and after work, you can wind down with the cities’ bustling nightlife.

    • As a remote worker, you are allowed to stay in France for up to 90 days within a 180-day period without a visa. For long-term stays, you’ll need to explore visitor and working visa options

    • French cities have plenty of excellent coworking spaces, and even work-friendly cafes are never too far. Plus, the food is world-class throughout the country

    • France has excellent educational facilities, quality healthcare, modern malls, and gyms; every convenience and amenity you can think of is covered. Internet access is fast and reliable; even cafe wifi reaches 450+ Mbps download speeds

    • People from all corners of the world live in France. With globalized people, food, and culture, anyone will feel at home here

    Country 7: USA

    Top Destinations: The USA is like many countries in one. Its scale and richness are unimaginable, and no other country in the world has such a diverse geography and population.

    • Co-working spaces like Common Desk, Serendipity Labs, and CoHatch are abundant in almost all American states. From cafes to specially made working spaces, you have plenty of options to choose from. 

    • Cities like New York, San Francisco, and Los Angeles are relatively expensive. If you decide to settle in smaller cities or towns, you can get by with a fraction of the cost

    • The States enjoy the 6th fastest broadband speeds in the world, with median download speeds of above 250 Mbps. Public high-speed wifi throughout the country is an advantage for remote workers

    • The USA doesn’t offer a dedicated Digital Nomad Visa. For remote workers, the B-2 visa is the most sensible option. It is available for residents of most countries and grants a stay of a maximum of 6 months

    • The States is well-connected with airways. Since the country is vast, air travel is the most sensible option. Airports are world-class, and connecting flights are available every day to all major terminals

    Country 8: Taiwan

    Top Destinations: Taipei, Taiwan’s capital, is one of the most lively cities in Asia. For a more relaxed pace, cities like Kaohsiung and Tainan are better choices.

    Taiwan is among the best remote working destinations in Asia. This is partly because Taiwan is not (yet) a tourism-oriented country, which means there’s no price gouging and no concerns about getting scammed.

    • Taiwan is one of the safest countries globally for outsiders–crime rates are low and public safety is excellent. Healthcare, too, is great; Taiwan’s national health insurance system covers both residents and migrants

    • Taiwan’s cost of living is relatively low, without any compromises on quality of life. Rent in cities like Taipei compares favorably to other global cities. Public transport, entertainment, groceries, and food are also noticeably cheaper than most other regions that offer similar quality of life

    • Taiwan has some of the world’s fastest broadband internet speeds. The Internet is fast and reliable throughout the country, and high-speed Wi-Fi is widely available in cafes, coworking spaces, and public areas

    Taiwan’s Gold Card offers attractive visa programs for remote workers. The Gold Card combines a work permit, resident visa, alien resident certificate, and a re-entry permit. 

    Country 9: Sweden

    rover near road and buildings

    Top Destinations: Stockholm is known for its extreme winters. However, summers are long and lovely. Malmo and Gothenburg are also lovely cities to consider.

    Tucked in the heart of Scandinavia, Sweden is a picturesque slice of heaven. In recent years, Sweden has accumulated a thriving digital nomad community. The Swedish lifestyle, with its focus on work-life balance and sustainability, lures remote workers to wind down here while getting work done.

    • Sweden doesn’t offer a dedicated digital nomad visa. Most remote workers rely on their tourist visas to get work done amidst the Northern Lights, although it’s legally not allowed. If you work for Swedish clients, the Self-Employment Visa is a good alternative

    • Swedish life means a high standard of living. Although the cost of living is high, you get your money’s worth with world-class public healthcare, transportation, and infrastructure. Sweden is also one of the safest, cleanest, and most inclusive countries globally

    • Internet services in Sweden are fast and reliable. You consistently get 100-200 Mbps, even on public Wi-Fi. Coworking spaces like Helio, Knackeriet, and Mindpark are littered around major cities like Stockholm, Malmo, and Gothenburg.

    • English is widely spoken throughout the country, which means that communication is a breeze for English-speaking remote workers. Sweden is also known to be liberal and inclusive and supports LGBTQ+ communities.

    Country 10: Iceland

    Top Destinations: Reykjavik, the capital city, let's you work amidst volcanic mountains and hot springs. Other popular areas include Akureyri, Stykkishólmur, Ísafjörður, Siglufjördur, and Seydisfjördur.

    Iceland has endless reasons to be on every digital nomad’s bucket list. From astonishing natural landscapes to top-tier infrastructure, the world’s northernmost capital is a great destination for remote workers.

    • Introduced in October 2020, Iceland’s Digital Nomad Visa Program allows holders to stay and work in Iceland for around six months uninterrupted. This visa is granted to self-employed workers and those employed by a non-Icelandic company

    • For more than a decade, Iceland has consistently been ranked as one of the safest countries in the world. Iceland has no army, and crimes, be they petty theft or more serious, are non-existent

    • Iceland has fantastic internet infrastructure. Satellite-powered facilities connect remote areas outside of cities

    Aside from the great internet, Iceland is scattered with plenty of coworking spaces and work-friendly cafes. Coworker.com and Regus.com are popular with remote workers, and great cafes like the Reykjavik Roasters, Kaffitár Borgartúni, and Café Babalú are never too far

    More Findings About Remote Work Across Nations From Our Internal Research

    Although we’ve tried to be as objective as possible with our list, we could not include all great countries for remote work in the scope of this article. 

    Other great destinations for remote work exist around the world, and businesses looking to hire remotely must conduct their own research before setting out on a remote hiring spree.

    Here are our key findings:

    • While Northern European countries still dominate the top, our analysis reveals that Asia Pacific (Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam) and the Middle East and North Africa (e.g., UAE, Israel, and Pakistan) are on the rise.
    • Digital and physical infrastructure scores high for countries like Singapore, South Korea, UAE and Japan.
    • Cyber safety scores high in Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Estonia and Lithuania.
    • Japan and China are gradually loosening restrictions for visa applications to attract top talent.

    Equip Your Global Workforce With Workwize from Day 1 

    There you have it—the top 10 countries for remote work wrapped up. 

    But here’s the drill: hiring global talent can feel like an uphill battle when it comes to equipping your employees with the right IT hardware (like laptops, peripherals, office furniture, and more). 

    The list is endless, from shipping laptops from your HQ and dealing with custom fees, managing suppliers/vendors, and shipping delays to deploying them with your preferred MDM. 

    Payoneer CEO John Caplan agrees, too. “The rhetoric about the globalized opportunity is powerful, but it doesn’t make any difference to the business you’re doing unless you actually have the utilities and tools to do it,” he said in a recent CNBC article on borderless hiring

    Enter Workwize: a zero-touch platform for IT teams to manage the complete lifecycle of their global IT hardware. It automates the procurement, deployment, management, retrieval, and disposal of IT assets in 100+ countries around the world. Book a Workwize Demo now to see it in action!

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