Empowering the Freelance Economy

IR35 repeal to boost freelancer and digital nomad job opportunities

Females make up 70% of the global digital nomad community and they are ranking health and safety as their top priorities when choosing destinations/Photo by Anna Tarazevich via Pexels
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Following the news that IR35 will be repealed as of April 2023, freelancers can go back to determining their freelance status rather than be beholden to blanket inside IR35 status determinations and freelance job platform businesses are confident that freelance opportunities will be boosted. That means digital nomads will also have even more reasons to celebrate.

🛫Check out our Digital Nomad Destination guide in this report

YunoJuno CEO says freelance job platform is hiring
Runar Reistrup, CEO of freelancer job platform YunoJuno says the scrapping of IR35 will lead to more freelance opportunities overall

YunoJuno CEO Runar Reistrup told The Freelance Informer: “The scrapping of IR35 will lead to more freelance opportunities overall, because companies that have stopped engaging freelancers since the IR35 reforms will start engaging them again – and this is good for both the hiring companies and the competitiveness of UK business as a whole.”

Reistrup tells the FI that he does not expect much to change in the period until the reforms are scrapped other than that “hopefully all the companies that overreacted to the IR35 reform will start taking a fresh look at their policy of not engaging freelancers.”

“While the IR35 reforms are now being scrapped, the need for businesses to ensure worker regulation and tax compliance (specifically, not paying contractors off-payroll if they are in fact performing employee-like duties) remains as strong as before. Even as the recent reforms are rolled back, the underlying IR35 off-payroll tax rules principle is expected to remain in place.”

The scrapping of IR35 will lead to more freelance opportunities overall, because companies that have stopped engaging freelancers since the IR35 reforms will start engaging them again – and this is good for both the hiring companies and the competitiveness of UK business as a whole.”

YunoJuno CEO Runar Reistrup

But come April, we have no idea what shape the British economy will be in and just how expensive it will be to buy a cup of coffee, take a trip in the car or a weekly shop at the supermarket. But I am guessing more expensive than other markets in Europe and further afield, especially if the pound sterling does not recover from the markets’ reaction to UK government borrowing announced in September’s mini-budget announcement.

The good news is that for those that would consider moving outside of the UK to make ends meet and to have a better way of life, even for just a year or two, there are more digital visa destination options than ever. And it’s not just 20 or 30 somethings making a move, families and those over 50 are also finding nomad communities that fit their lifestyles and budgets.

Young families are becoming part of the wider digital nomad community for a better way of life
70% of digital nomads are female, and many are looking for destinations that rank high in health and safety/ Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

The number of people seeking a digital nomad life has tripled over the past 3 years and is projected to reach 1 billion by 2035. With nearly 40 countries already offering digital nomad visas, more will be added to the list in 2022. When choosing a destination, many consider traditional criteria such as cost of living or visa requirements. However, in recent years what truly matters, our health and safety, is topping the charts for destination choices, especially for females which make up 70% of digital nomads. 

With that in mind, our team at Lemon.io, a marketplace of vetted software developers, wanted to find out which countries are the healthiest and safest for digital nomads.

They analysed data from the Global Health Security Index (GHI), which measures the capacity of countries to prepare for epidemics and pandemics, and the Global Peace Index (GPI) and found the top 6 healthiest and safest countries offering digital nomad visas:

Surfer enjoying the waves off Bronte Beach, Australia/ Photo by Max Ravier via Pexels
  • Australia. Ranking #2 in the GHI and #27 in GPI, it’s famous for its koalas, kangaroos, and cube-shaped wombat poo. 
  • New Zealand. #13 in the GHI and #2 in GPI, it’s a famous picturesque filming location of the ‘Hobbit’ film series.
  • Portugal. #33 in the GHI and #6 in GPI, Portugal can offer the biggest waves to surf and some fine pasteis de nata to snack on afterwards.
  • Germany. #8 in the GHI and #16 in GPI, it offers 1,500 different types of beer and 1,000 types of sausages – and there’s time to move before Octoberfest!
  • Hungary. Ranking #34 in the GHI and #13 in GPI, it is the motherland of the Rubik’s cube – something to keep a digital nomad busy between business calls.
  • Norway. #19 in the GHI and #17 in GPI, it is also one of the happiest countries in the world,  according to The World Happiness Report.

The table below gives the top 10 countries with digital nomad visa opportunities for freelancers looking for a change of scenery. COVID cases are rising again, such as in the UK, now that second-dose vax immunity is waning and kids are back at school, which should remind digital nomads regardless of age to ensure they are vaccinated based on their destination country’s travel and residency rules.

Healthy freelancers are happy freelancers

CountryGlobal Health IndexRank
Australia71.12/195
Germany65.58/195
New Zealand62.513/195
France61.914/195
Spain60.917/195
Norway60.219/195
Mexico5725/195
Estonia55.530/195
Portugal54.733/195
Hungary54.434/195

Countries that rank high for medical facilities, vaccines and wellbeing are often favourites of freelancers. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

The top 10 safest countries for digital nomads

Health is great, but what about overall safety? Considering data from the Global Peace Index, nomads can determine the safest countries that offer digital nomad visas. Luckily, Iceland and New Zealand, the two most peaceful countries in the world, provide such visas. While places, such as Portugal are digital nomad hotspots, it is wise that you are aware of areas that are not as safe as others. Places such as Albufeira, a hotspot for Dutch, British and Irish tourists, are experiencing higher rates of violent and drug-related crime, so do your research and check out digital nomad chats, blogs and tour organisers before you settle anywhere.

CountryGlobal Peace IndexRank
Iceland1.111 / 163
New Zealand1.272 / 163
Portugal1.36 / 163
Czech Republic1.328 / 163
Hungary1.4113 / 163
Croatia1.4415 / 163
Germany1.4616 / 163
Norway1.4717 / 163
Australia1.5727 / 163
Mauritius1.5728 / 163

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The Freelance Informer was curious to find how the UK ranked as a digital nomad destination as well as a nation many people might have misconceptions about when it comes to safety, cost of living and nomad infrastructure and that happens to be a destination increasingly popular with Spanish tourists: Albania.

Here’s what we found.

The UK: how does it rank as a digital nomad destination?

Currently, the UK does not offer digital nomad visas. This means that people staying here can use travel visas for a short period of time or apply for permanent residence and become UK taxpayers. However, some Brits have left the UK searching for more favourable conditions.

Interestingly, AirBnB has analysed long-term stay trends and rolled out a list of places where most Brits are working remotely – Lisbon and Dubai ranked on top. Overall the global digital nomad movement tripled over 3 years and keeps growing each year, and the UK, known for pricey accommodations and high cost of living, is likely to contribute to the statistic. 

How does Albania rank for health and safety for digital nomads?

For anyone who has travelled to Albania’s capital city Tirana recently on business, they could be pleasantly surprised about the modern infrastructure, food, beauty and safety of the capital city. Supposedly, it is becoming a hot spot for Spanish holidaymakers because of the Mediterranean culture and cuisine and amazing natural beauty.

Albania, the birthplace of Mother Teresa, has a 45.0 GHSI (Global Health Security Index) Score and Ranks #59 out of 195 countries. According to the Global Peace Index, it has a score of 1.760 and ranks at #41 out of 163 countries. Digital nomads can apply for a one-year permit and ask for an extension for the second year, then five years, and then get a permanent residency. Check if you need an entry Visa here based on your nationality

Albania takes the 49th place on the Cost of living index (while the UK ranks #17), which means that the county is a lot more affordable and famous for its breathtaking Albanian Riviera and some of the world’s most spectacular natural spots. 

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