UK Opens Its Doors to Remote Workers

UK Opens Its Doors to Remote Workers

The country of Estonia kicked off the digital nomad visa trend in July 2020, and today, there are more than 65 countries that offer digital nomad visas. With many of these digital nomad visas still less than three years old, there is very little published data on the number of applications for these visas per country. But there is one shared aspect of all digital nomad visas: paperwork and bureaucracy. The UK has recently updated their immigration policy, which makes it possible for workers to legally work online in the UK without the need for a digital nomad visa. Does this model make more sense for remote workers in the future? Let’s take a look at the new policy.

In December 2023, the UK Home Office relaxed its entry rules. Visitors can now engage in remote work on their travel visas, provided it’s not the primary reason for their visit. They’re allowed to perform tasks like email correspondence, taking business calls, and participating in remote meetings. This policy contrasts with the digital nomad visas other countries offer, which are designed for people wanting to live in one country while working for a company in another.

The UK’s new policy also benefits researchers, scientists, and academics. They can now conduct research during their stay. Moreover, the updated rules expand the Permitted Paid Engagements (PPE) list, which now allows paid conference speakers to conduct their business in the UK. However, these engagements must occur within 30 days of arrival.

The changes to the UK’s immigration policy officially went into effect on January 31, 2024. While the UK has refrained from introducing a digital nomad visa, its recent changes facilitate easier business travel and remote work practices. However, these adjustments do not replace the need for Skilled Worker visas for longer-term employment in the UK. Visitors should be aware of these restrictions to ensure they do not violate immigration laws. It is also important to check how long you are allowed to stay in the UK on a travel/visitor visa (which is usually the equivalent of a stamp in your passport) before making your travel plans and buy a plane ticket out of the country before arriving in the UK.

A Global Shift to Remote Work

The UK’s decision to allow remote work for visitors could signal a new policy direction worldwide. Instead of creating separate visas, countries might follow the UK’s lead and build remote work permission into the travel visa. This approach could cut out a lot of bureaucracy and make it easier for remote workers to conduct their business internationally. 

However, this strategy also raises questions about the long-term impact on the digital nomad community. Will the lack of a dedicated digital nomad visa limit the UK’s appeal, or will the flexibility of combining work and travel under a visitor visa prove to be more attractive? The answer may depend on how other countries respond. If they offer more tailored digital nomad visas with more benefits, the UK might need to adapt its policies to stay competitive in attracting global talent.

Related Articles

Remote Work

2020 – what a year for the workplace! Almost one and a half years ago the first lockdowns were announced and in-office employees transformed into remote keyboard warriors. A drastic change that transformed the office overnight!

Digital Nomad Visa

Digital nomad visas give location independent workers the opportunity settle down for a while. Usually lasting for a year or two (though some are longer) they give you the chance to kick back and soak up a country. So what are some of the best options out there?

Best Places to Travel During Covid

While Covid-19 certainly changed the way we travel, the good news is that the world is gradually re-opening again. As such, digital nomads and remote workers will be able to choose from an assortment of countries that are ready to welcome them once more. Admittedly, some countries still have domestic restrictions or curfews in place, but in most parts of the world, you’ll be able to move about freely by presenting either a proof of vaccination or negative PCR test result. 


Your compare list