Future of Work: ‘Work From Home’ Visas?

Ben Metcalfe
2 min readJul 11, 2020

I’ve been thinking about the various ramifications from the inevitable work from home culture that will remain after COVID. I don’t believe the hype that all offices are dead, but if years of digital transformation have already occurred during these first few months of the COVID 19 crisis, it’s clear that we won’t all be returning back when this is over.

David E. Weekly posted an interesting piece of news — Barbados is going to offer essentially a ‘work from home visa. The thinking goes if you’re able to work remotely and you’re not going to be taking away a local job, Barbados is happy for you to come work there for a bit. Presumably the benefit to the Bajans is the increased economic activity and local spend that will occur.

Already many digital nomads I know essentially do this — albeit illegally — in countries like Mexico, Thailand, etc. They arrive on tourist visas, work their remote US tech jobs from their laptops on the beach and do short visa runs every 3–6 months to renew their tourist visa. While illegal, one could argue the practice is relatively benign if there isn’t pressure being put on the local job market and these folks are unlikely to be utilizing local services such as schools, etc.

Folks who do this suggest this local visa rules are too burdensome and complicated to apply to work being performed for a foreign entity. They want the flexibility to travel around to different countries while nomadic.

While many have been pondering what the opportunity looks like for the rest of America as many tech workers decide to flee San Francisco to work remotely, this shows we’ve not been thinking big enough — the remote work opportunity is global, not just domestic.

It appears Barbados is the first to legitimize this practice in order to reap the economic benefits, and I’m sure others will follow.

Photo CC Steven Zwerink



Ben Metcalfe

Founder & General Partner @Monochrome_VC • Co-Founder @WPEngine • Ex- @RidgeVC, @Uber, @BBCNews & @MySpace • Former Product-Focused Entrepreneur & Executive