This story originally appeared on FlexJobs.
As beneficial as remote work has been in helping companies and workers weather the pandemic, there’s no denying that some of the benefits of remote work — like being able to live the life of a digital nomad — have been sharply curtailed amid the global health crisis.
Thankfully, several countries are opening their borders to remote workers, allowing you to work from a new home — in paradise.
Welcome to the Cayman Islands
If you’re going to work remotely somewhere other than your current location, why not go to a warm-weather destination where you can swim with stingrays on your days off and spend your lunch hours luxuriating on the beach?
That’s exactly the kind of work-life balance you can find when you work remotely in the Cayman Islands for up to two years with their new remote work program.
Located 480 miles south of Miami, Florida, in the western Caribbean, the Cayman Islands provides ample opportunities for sun-drenched recreation, along with the chance to experience “Caymankind,” the spirit of the islands.
The Global Citizen Concierge Program
Launched on Oct. 21, the Global Citizen Concierge Program (GCCP) enables digital nomads to live and work from one of three islands (Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac or Little Cayman) at a time when it’s very difficult to visit the British territory due to tourist travel restrictions.
While this program does give you unprecedented access to a beautiful island paradise, it comes with some stringent requirements and guidelines.
The program is catering to a fairly well-off crowd for this remote work program, with the income requirements prove it.
You must make a minimum of $100,000 per year to apply to the program as a single applicant.
If you’d like to bring a spouse or partner, you need to make at least $150,000 as a household, and if you’re bringing dependents, the figure climbs to $180,000.
The Cayman Islands has managed to successfully control COVID-19 to the extent that it has no social distancing requirements and masks are only mandated in health care facilities, home care facilities, prisons, airports and taxis.
However, the Cayman Islands does have strict quarantine guidelines for all inbound travelers, who must:
- Be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the airport.
- Remain in quarantine for 14 days after arrival.
- Get tested again on day 15.
- Have a negative test result signed off by the Medical Officer of Health.
What’s more, travelers must either quarantine at a government-sponsored facility, a privately-run facility (to the tune of several thousand dollars!) or at a residence while wearing a monitoring device.
How to Apply
If this sounds exactly like your kind of “home” office environment, you’ll need to provide:
- A photo of your passport
- Proof of income
- Legal proof that your employer exists
- A bank reference
- Criminal background clearance
- Proof of health insurance coverage
Planning to bring dependents? You’ll also need a marriage or civil partner certificate, along with their birth certificates, proof of identity, background checks and health insurance coverage proof.
As soon as you have all your documentation in hand, you’re ready to apply to receive a Global Citizen Certificate! Annual application fees are $1,469 for two people, plus $500 per dependent.
How the Program Works
Once approved, you’ll have 12 months to begin your stay, and the certificate is valid for two years from arrival in the Cayman Islands. If, however, your employment is terminated, the Global Citizen Certificate will expire on your date of termination. (More detailed GCCP regulations explain other possible reasons for revocation of the certificate.)
After you’ve begun your stay in the Cayman Islands, you can come and go as you please and travel anywhere, as long as you spend a total of 90 days there each 12-month period.
Upon returning, however, you’ll have to abide by any current quarantine regulations.
The GCCP will help you book travel arrangements to the Cayman Islands and will also provide information to help you choose accommodations for your stay.
Things to Consider
Before you get too attached to your Caribbean dreams, check with your employer to see if your remote position is location-specific or if you truly can work from anywhere. Up to 95% of jobs require workers to be based in a certain location for a variety of reasons, so make sure you know before you go.
Because your certificate expires immediately upon termination of your job, it also makes sense to assess the stability of your position. If your company has been experiencing layoffs or furloughs and the future seems uncertain, it may not be the time to embark on a Cayman Islands remote work adventure.
The GCCP also requires that any dependent children be either enrolled in a local private school on the islands or in a home-schooling program.
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