Dubai is offering free COVID-19 vaccines to remote workers in an attempt to boost tourism. The privilege is being announced along with the city’s tax-free nomads digital visa program, launched in October.
In January, the UAE government started offering vaccines to all citizens and residents, giving Dubai the opportunity to enter the vaccine tourism business.
Many countries still face a shortage of vaccines, and Dubai is betting that the UAE’s robust vaccination program – second only to Israel’s – can convince wealthy digital professionals to board a plane during the pandemic.
Visit the Dubai website which promotes the digital nomad visa and the vaccination scheme.
“Do you want to mix business with pleasure in Dubai?” the site reads. “With a new one-year virtual work program, you can live and work on the beach… An additional benefit of the program is that all UAE residents receive COVID-19 vaccines free of charge.”
One ad tweeted by Dubai Media Office shows a digital nomad receiving food in a beautiful open-air restaurant during a Zoom call and asks, “If you can work anywhere, why work elsewhere?”
Dubai’s digital nomad visa allows remote workers to live and work in the city for up to 12 months without paying income tax in the UAE.
To qualify for the initiative, remote workers must earn at least $ 5,000 a month, have a passport valid for at least six months and have health insurance coverage. They must also prove that at least one year of the employment contract is missing or that they have been operating on their own for 12 months or more.
The total cost of the visa is $ 611 USD, including registration fees, processing costs and the price of an identification card.
The pandemic has provided millions of workers with remote work, and experts say the global workforce will never be the same. ONE new Boston Consulting Group study found that 89% of workers worldwide now want jobs that allow them to work remotely at least part of the time.
“People experienced remote work during the pandemic and it completely changed their expectations,” said Rainer Strack, senior partner at BCG and co-author of the study. “It sends a very clear message that nine out of ten people want some aspects of it to be maintained.”
This global shift towards worker mobility has inspired several countries, including Dubai, Estonia, Croatia, Costa Rica, Curaçao and Greece, to create digital visa programs to increase tourism.
Dubai’s decision to give free vaccines to remote workers could give it an advantage at this stage of the pandemic.