Empowering the Freelance Economy

The best countries to be a Digital Nomad

Freelancers are increasingly looking at moving abroad for a better way of life. Which countries offer the best quality of life for digital nomads? Image Source: Photo by Arina Krasnikova via Pexels
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Freelancers looking to work abroad for a change of pace or a better quality of life, may want to check out some of these digital nomad-friendly locations

A new study has revealed the best countries for remote working that offer a digital nomad visa. These are visas that allow individuals to work remotely away from their country of permanent residence.

The study, conducted by payroll company IRIS FMP Global, has looked into 44 countries that offer digital nomad visas so that they could analyse which are the best to work in, and which could now be worth reconsidering.

The criteria they used centred around overall quality of life based on crime rates, cost of living, and pollution.

The overall best-scoring country was Spain, which scored well on safety, climate, and overall quality of life.

“It was Spain’s health care that helped the country claim the top spot though, which offers universal coverage for all residents. However, Spain failed to score so well on the cost of living, ranking 18th on the list,” said the report.

Australia ranked second overall in the study and came first for the overall quality of life. Scoring better than any other country in the category means that Australia beat tough competition such as Iceland, Norway, and Germany. Quality of life is calculated by averaging factors such as cost of living, housing affordability, and air pollution.

5 highest-scoring countries offering a digital nomad visa, and what they performed well for:

  1. Spain: Healthcare
  2. Australia: Quality of life
  3. Estonia: Safety
  4. Iceland: Lack of pollution
  5. Norway: Property purchasing power

Countries that didn’t perform so well in the study were Jamaica, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka – three locations that failed to offer a strong overall quality of life, making a poor atmosphere for day-to-day life, according to the report. Jamaica came lowest in the study, mostly due to the poor safety score and the fact that it is a destination suffering a high crime rate.

5 lowest-scoring countries offering a digital nomad visa:

  1. Jamaica: Worst for safety
  2. Indonesia: Worst for quality of life
  3. Sri Lanka: Lowest purchasing power
  4. Vietnam: Worst for pollution
  5. Colombia: Worst for traffic

While many of the lowest-scoring countries overall were unable to provide safety and quality of life, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, and Colombia all scored very well on cost of living, while the likes of Iceland, Norway, and Australia were all at the bottom of the table for cost of living.

As the cost-of-living score increases, the price-to-income score lowers, along with the quality of life, pollution, and purchasing power. As a result, it means that a safe and secure lifestyle comes at an expense that manifests itself in everyday life.

Having a secure environment is essential to balancing work and life in a healthy way while enabling opportunities to do the things that really make a difference; both personally and professionally.

Safest 5 countries offering a digital nomad visa:

  1. Iceland 
  2. Portugal 
  3. Czech Republic 
  4. Croatia 
  5. Germany 

For the best remote working experience, that enables you to unlock your freelancer power, the study suggested to consider either Spain or Australia. However, if a hotter climate could distract from your productivity, consider cooler countries like Estonia and Iceland – two countries that experience average annual temperatures of no more than 10°C.

IRIS FMP Global publishes guides on hiring practices in various countries. Other articles on Digitial Nomad life

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