Recently, with the issuance of Law 2069 of December 31, 2020, Colombia’s national government charged the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to issue a special immigration regime for digital nomads and remote workers.
Before the pandemic, digital nomads were already known but the coronavirus has caused the numbers of remote workers to increase considerably around the world, either by choice or by new business policies mandating work from home policies. These people will be able to provide services under this modality for a defined period or even permanently, without having to be physically present in a specific place as was previously customary for the vast majority of employees.
Some countries have implemented legislation related to remote work visas, such as Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bermuda, Estonia, Georgia and Croatia, where they implement visas and residency programs for digital nomads who wish to temporarily relocate to these countries. Compared to traditional work visa options, these programs provide a more affordable option for those who are investing or starting a business in a new country.
Visas for digital nomads in Colombia will be easy to obtain, will require less paperwork than a normal work visa, and will allow legalizing the status of workers arriving in the country.
Visas for digital nomads in Colombia will be easy to obtain, will require less paperwork than a normal work visa, and will allow legalizing the status of workers arriving in the country, without necessarily being linked in a traditional way with a company, turning the country into a remote work center in the framework of the so-called “fourth industrial revolution” or era of digitization.
On the other hand, there must be a development from the fiscal, labor and social security point of view, since, for example, from the fiscal perspective, the time of stay, as well as the activities to be developed, will be relevant because they can generate tax residency in the country they visit and, therefore, obligations or payments for this concept must be fulfilled. For the remote worker or digital nomad visa holder, a bill is being finalized in congress and once it is voted in and receives the presidential signature, it will regulate remote work as a new work modality as considered in the entrepreneurship law.
Finally, there are a series of aspects that must also be considered, such as regulation and policies, including occupational health and safety, health insurance with international coverage in force during the stay in Colombia, delivery of work tools necessary to develop the work remotely, use of ICT and data, intellectual property, inclusion and anti-discrimination policies, use of company tools and codes of conduct, which can be challenging when implementing remote work from a nomadic visa.
Humberto Rodríguez G. is an accountant, lawyer, partner, and general manager of Rodríguez Asociados Abogados y Contadores SAS. The proven Medellín-based firm has experience providing advisory services on a broad range of matters, including general business, corporations, contracts, investments, employment, finance, and taxation. For more information, connect with Rodríguez through the firm’s website, Facebook, or email at mailto:[email protected]
Baru, Colombia photo credit: Loren Moss