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2018-02-26 18:01

About the Estonian digital nomad visa project

Jobbatical and the Estonian Ministry of Interior wish to create the world's first digital nomad visa. We could ask some questions to Karoli Hindriks, founder & CEO of the company. According to a press release, prior to Jobbatical, Karoli launched her first company at the age of sixteen. She founded three and directed five companies in the media, marketing and recruiting fields, leading the launch of seven television channels in Northern Europe (including National Geographic Channels, MTV, and Fox Entertainment).

First, could you tell us few words about your company?
Jobbatical is an open platform with more than 160,000 users from 150+ countries. Jobbatical is the first startup focused on connecting the tech industry with ready-to-relocate talent around the world. With the tagline Hire the World, Jobbatical sits squarely at the intersection of the future of travel, work and talent mobility. We differentiate ourselves with immigration assistance, client branding, copywriting and other support services. As a Forbes article recently put it "Jobbatical is interesting because it caters for the people who are globally confident and who identify as citizens of the world."

You're working on a digital nomad visa project with the Estonian police. How has it started this way with them?
We were approached by the Ministry of the Interior to analyse the need for the introduction of a Digital Nomad Visa. This is a topic that I had previously brought up with several government members and glad that idea circled itself into an actionable item. By working collaboratively with digital nomad leaders and the Ministry of the Interior, we hope to demonstrate the potential value of the program to Estonia tech sector.

In some countries, it would be strange that a company is working on a new visa project. What is your point of view?
I think it is important for platforms who work with talent to also work closely with governments since the platforms have data and understanding of the needs much greater than public officials can obtain from the distance. I think countries can start to tailor their User Experience only when they will start to listen to the people who could contribute to their economies. We recognise the value that private sector organisations and enterprises can add to government initiatives. Jobbatical is privileged to assist the Ministry of the Interior by drawing on its digital nomad community, helping current and aspiring digital nomads to have a direct say in the new initiative.

Any other company is involved?
There are also representatives of the Police and Border Guard Board and the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications - as experts in their respective fields. Plus Remote Year and WiFlyNomads as the representatives of the nomad communities.

What about a digital nomad visa? So far digital nomads can live without...
A Digital Nomad Visa would allow digital nomads to live and work in Estonia for up to 365 days. This would allow location-independent workers from all over the work to come to Estonia on a tailor-made visa, simplifying the visa application process and providing nomads with a migration policy that works for them.

Today the digital nomads can easily open a company thanks to e-residency for example, but opening a bank account or a gateway payment account often remains a problem. Could a digital nomad visa fix that?
The goal of the Digital Nomad Visa is to provide location independent workers with the best possible framework for living and working in Estonia. As the project is still in the early stages we are unable to comment on the specifics of the proposal. We can, however, confirm that we are working closely with the digital nomad community to develop a visa that addresses some of their most pressing issues.

What could be the rules of this visa? At least the ideas you have so far...
It's too early to go into specifics but it is likely that the visa length would be capped at 365 days. The visa would also give digital nomads an access to the Schengen Area (a zone comprising 26 European states that have officially abolished passport controls), allowing them to travel in other EU Member States for up to 90 days

When could such a digital nomad visa be available?
Following an advisory period, work will start on developing a formal proposal for legislation to bring the visa into law. During this process, leading labor mobility experts will assess the definition of a digital nomad before eventual incorporation into a legislative proposal.

credit: Andres Teiss

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