Career and Jobs

Hawaii Seeks Remote Workers To Ride Out The Pandemic In Paradise

Understandably, we tend to focus and obsess over all of the depressing effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. There have been, however, many positive developments. The virus outbreak has forced us to rethink and reimagine how things can be once the crisis subsides. 

The work-from-home movement is one of the upside benefits. The ability to shave off a couple of hours of commuting, being able to spend more quality time with your family and not having the boss looking over your shoulder was a godsend for many people.

We are starting to see an evolution expanding out from the work-from-home trend. There’s another new and intriguing development emerging—working remotely as a wanderlust digital-nomad in cool, beautiful places, such as Hawaii, or abroad.  

Hawaii saw its economy suffer due to a lack of tourism—a large revenue source—and the closures or limited operations of many businesses. In an effort to turn things around, state officials, intent on reviving the lackluster economy, started a program to bring remote workers to the state. 

With ingenious timing, as winter is fast approaching and many states face many long months of shortened days, chilling weather, snowstorms and dark foreboding nights, Hawaii enacted the “Movers & Shakas” program. This term represents the “hang loose” hand gesture and the foundation of a campaign attracting people to come to the island and set up remote offices. 

A number of American cities witnessed riots, looting, mayhem, random violence and forest fires over the last six months. Hawaii positions itself as an antidote. The state boasts beautiful scenery, low crime rates, safety and a current relatively low rate of Covid-19 cases. It’s touted as riding out the pandemic in paradise.

The program affords the initial 50 applicants, starting Sunday, “a free, roundtrip ticket to Honolulu.” All the program requires is for the migrating people to “pledge to respect Hawaii’s culture and natural resources and participants must commit several hours a week to helping a local nonprofit.”

Hawaii isn’t alone in its program. The work-anywhere-in-the-world or as a digital-nomad movement has quickly grown. This trend is skewed toward white-collar workers, especially those with financial means. We’ve already seen Wall Street bankers, hedge fund managers, tech titans and others flee big cities, such as New York, for the Hamptons, Palm Beach, Martha’s Vineyard, suburbs of Connecticut and New Jersey or jet off to “serene lakeside cabins and beautiful island villas, as their employers extend telework timelines through the end of 2020 and beyond.”

Leaving the U.S. during the pandemic isn’t so easy, as many countries are currently not accepting American passports. According to CNBC, “Opportunities to work remotely from anywhere in the world are currently limited.” Due to the number of cases and mandatory quarantines, “in many European and other international destinations, a U.S. passport has transitioned from long-time advantage to handicap.”

There are, however, countries that are encouraging Americans to migrate there with special visas and open arms. Since tourism is down due to Covid-19 and economies are hurting, some countries need and covet newcomers. Barbados, Estonia, Bermuda and Georgia have all opened their doors to Americans, inviting them to come, work, pay taxes and contribute to the economy. 

In an open letter from Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley, she warmly encouraged people to migrate to her country. “On behalf of our beautiful island of Barbados, I would like to extend a warm welcome to you.” Mottley added, “Although the Covid-19 pandemic has been a tremendous challenge to people around the world, we believe it has also opened up opportunities.” The prime minister touted the country’s new 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp, a visa that allows you to relocate and work from one of the world’s most beloved tourism destinations.

“We believe we have something very special to offer on this little rock we call Barbados. Our friendly people, professional services, commitment to education and importantly safety and security all make Barbados an ideal place to live for both singles and families.”

 For those Americans who are dreading four months of cold, icy, snowy weather, along with dreary grey days and long pitch-black nights, working and living in Hawaii or Barbados seems ideal and wonderful.

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