Southeast Asia is well known for its tropical weather and cheap cost of living, making it an ideal place for foreigners to work remotely. However, only three countries now offer visas specifically for digital nomads.
Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, launched a remote work visa program on October 25 last year that allows eligible foreigners to stay in the country for either five or 10 years, according to a press release by Indonesia’s Directorate General of Immigration.
Visa applicants are required to have proof of funds of at least 2 billion Indonesia rupiahs, or $130,000, in their bank account. They also must have a passport valid for at least 36 months and include a résumé in their application.
Visa holders must pay non-tax state revenue of 3 million rupiah.
Thailand, the region’s second largest economy, launched its Long-Term Resident Program in September last year that allows remote workers and wealthy foreigners to stay in the country for up to 10 years.
Those wanting to apply for the ‘Work from Thailand’ visa category must earn at least $80,000 annually and hold a master’s degree.
Applicants must also be employed by a company that’s publicly listed on a stock exchange, or has a combined revenue of at least $150 million in the three years prior to the visa application.
In addition, remote workers need to have a minimum of five years work experience in the “relevant fields of the current employment.”
Malaysia started offering a digital nomad visa program in October last year in an effort to attract remote workers from around the world.
To be eligible for the visa, applicants are required to have an annual income of at least $24,000.
It costs 1,000 Malaysia ringgit, or $215, to apply for the visa.
The digital nomad visa allows remote workers to stay in Malaysia for up to 12 months, with a three-month minimum stay requirement, according to the Malaysia Digital Economy official website.
The visa can be extended for up to one year.
However, only freelancers and independent contractors who work in digital industries like IT and online marketing, and remote workers who are employed by non-Malaysian companies, are eligible to apply for the visa.
According to a report by the Migration Policy Institute, more than 25 countries globally offer remote work visas including Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Malta as the digital nomad lifestyle has been on the rise for years.
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