UncategorizedImmigration alternatives for digital nomads and entrepreneurs

By: Rodrigo Tannus Serrano

The pandemic has revolutionized everyone’s lifestyle and thanks to technology, many of those changes that were being built, even before March 2020, are now a reality and part of our new normal. With each passing day we confirm that these are not transitory changes, but that they are here to remain ingrained in global society. The labor field has not escaped to these changes and thanks to the digital tools that exist and continue to be created, it is feasible to develop countless tasks remotely, that is, from a place other than the usual physical job, and from anywhere in the country or even the world. I will not stop to explain the different modalities of remote work such as teleworking or work at home, but I do consider important to specify that when talking about these, they cannot be confused or cited as synonyms, but should be understood as different figures, each with its peculiarities and differences.

Digital nomads who work remotely through new technologies, keeping constant their movements, continue to increase, as well as the different challenges that this entails.

Leaving aside the organizational challenges that employers or even workers may have, it is essential to make an analysis from the legal perspective and specifically on issues of immigration, labor, and tax law: Do I need a visa from the countries to which I plan to visit? while working remotely? Will I have coverage from my health insurance during my trips? Do I have to file or even pay taxes in the different jurisdictions that I visit as a remote worker?

Although we have been able to observe the creation of visas for remote work in different jurisdictions, in Colombia through Law 2069 of 2020 the creation of a visa for digital nomads, entrepreneurs and remote workers was announced but has not been regulated to date. However, I consider that despite there is no explicit reference to these circumstances in the current immigration law, there are other categories established in Resolution 6045 of 2017 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which could be adjusted and taken into account by foreigners who wish to visit the country, or who are already here and are looking for opportunities to develop this type of activity. Among the alternatives that could be handled are, for example: the migrant visa for having created or acquired participation in the social capital of a company, the migrant visa for receiving periodic income from a creditable legal source or even the visitor visa for unforeseen cases. The possibility of using the visitor visa for the provision of services or the migrant visa to practice as a freelance should not be ruled out, as long as the authorities have a broader interpretation, but above all awareness of the current reality and the multiple benefits that this would bring the country if it had an avant-garde and flexible vision. With the latter I do not mean that requirements must be omitted or sacrificed the strictness in the evaluation of each request, what I really want to point out is that we still have time to see things differently for the benefit of the country, fully complying with the legal requirements stipulated in current regulations.

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