Cape Town - A recent study by global housing rental platform Nestpick has named Cape Town one of the best cities in the world for remote workers, scoring higher than New York, Athens and Barcelona on the list of 75 cities.
In the light of this, Mayco member for Economic Opportunities and Asset Management James Vos has appealed to the national government to extend the duration of the Remote Working Visa, as digital nomads/remote workers typically stay longer than three months (the current duration) in one destination.
“Our proposal is that an amendment be made to Section 11 of the Immigration Act, which relates to an extension of visas beyond 90 days for specific activities. Research shows that remote workers stay beyond 90 days in a location so we are proposing, to accommodate foreign remote workers, an application for a longer visa period be included under the Immigration Act.
“Under our proposal, applicants will be required to provide evidence of employment and sufficient income from abroad. It will also prohibit the applicant’s work activities in SA, meaning that they won’t be taking jobs from locals,” said Vos.
Vos said a Remote Work Webinar was hosted by the City to bring together stakeholders from key tourism and hospitality organisations to share insights on the evolution of remote workers since the Covid-19 pandemic.
Participants included the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa), Cape Town Tourism, Work Wanderers, Specialist Immigration Attorney and My Place Marketing team from the City’s Enterprise and Investment Department.
Fedhasa chairperson and President Hotel executive director Jeremy Clayton said globally there were very few destinations like South Africa, so it was important capitalise on this new market and accelerate the growth of the digital nomad space, with a collaborative approach by the government and the private sector to ultimately increase job creation and economic growth.
Andrae Smith, the founder of Work Wanderers, a company aimed at assisting people to build online careers and travel the world as digital nomads, said nomads often looked for accessibility, natural beauty and culture - and Cape Town had all of that, giving it the potential to be the new digital nomad hub.