BRADES, Montserrat — The UK Overseas Territory Montserrat launched its Remote Worker Programme, Friday, January 29, 2021.
The 12-month remote working visa will give professionals and entrepreneurs the opportunity to experience a work-life-vacation balance, trading humdrum offices for turquoise beaches.
Deputy premier of Montserrat Dr Samuel Joseph explained that the need for this type of programme was propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The global pandemic has changed how we live and work, and as multinationals and leading start-ups across the world accelerate their rates of digital adoption, the need to be physically present to fulfill professional responsibilities has been redefined. There are people currently in metropolitan areas and various parts of the world, who now have the ability to work from home…so the remote worker programme is basically telling people to come to Montserrat to work … and you can do the same work that you would have produced for your company, from Montserrat.” Dr Joseph said.
These developments have also presented an opportunity for Montserrat to expand its world appeal and boost its economy. By luring remote workers to work on the island, Montserrat’s economy will receive a much-needed boost and villa owners, car rental companies, restaurants, supermarkets and other service-based companies who have suffered financially for the past few months, will also benefit from the programme.
Montserrat has been commended internationally for how it has handled the virus thus far, for having no active cases since June 2020, and also for having robust and effective contact tracing protocols that are still in place. With a population of just over 4,000 people, Montserrat has only had 13 cases of the novel coronavirus and one death to date.
The 12-month Remote Worker Programmer offers new opportunities for anyone whose work is location-independent, and the government of Montserrat has been working to ensure that the process to apply is as simple as possible, to facilitate travel in the New Year. Fees are USD$500 (EC$1,350) for individuals and USD$750 (EC$2,025) for individuals accompanied by a maximum of 3 family members. The visa is valid for one year but may be re-applied for, and applicants will not be liable to pay Montserrat Income Tax.
With an active volcano, year-round warm climate, beautiful scenery, idyllic beaches, fibre optics for high-speed connectivity and a wide range of accommodations from budget-friendly studios to beachfront luxury villas, Montserrat is definitely the perfect destination for professionals to achieve the sustainable work-life balance that they crave.
To be eligible for the Montserrat Remote Work stamp, persons must prove that they can work location-independently using telecommunications technologies. In addition, they will need to prove that they fit under any one of the three following categories:
- Works for an employer that is registered in a foreign country and they have a contract of work with that employer;
- Conducts business activity for a company that is registered in a foreign country and of which they are a partner/shareholder; or
- Offers freelance or consulting services mostly to clients, whose permanent establishments are in a foreign country, and with whom they have contracts.
For the first category, the legislation does not distinguish between public or private sector employers. So they will be eligible whether their employer is a private company, a public sector agency (e.g. government or regulatory body), or a not-for-profit entity. What is important is that they have a contract of employment with the employer and they are able to work remotely using telecommunications technologies.
The other important eligibility requirement to be aware of is the income threshold, which is meant to provide evidence of how they will support themselves during their time in Montserrat. Currently, the annual income threshold is US$70,000 (EC$189,000).
The fees paid during the application process for the Montserrat Remote Work Visa/Stamp are non-refundable, and proof of payment must accompany every application.
All applications are assessed before approval, and applicants must satisfy the eligibility criterion set above.
Applicable processing fees
- SINGLE: US$500 (EC$1, 350);
- COUPLES: US$500 (EC$1, 350) each;
- FAMILIES (up to 3 dependants): US$750 (EC$2,025).
Applicant(s) will be informed by email of successful application(s). Fees are to be paid by credit card as shown on the application form (VISA/MASTERCARD/AMEX). A receipt will be issued for the applicant and declared dependants.
- A completed application form.
- Proof of Employment or Business Incorporation Certificate.
- Proof of the annual income of the applicant, which must exceed US$70,000 (EC$189,000) and be derived from outside of Montserrat.
- Proof of valid health insurance in respect of the applicant and any family member accompanying him for the period of which the Remote Employment visa is to be granted.
- Proof of Visas (where applicable).
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