The Western Cape provincial government has formally requested the introduction of a ‘remote working’ visa for South Africa.
In a letter addressed to both the minister of tourism and the minister of home affairs, the Western Cape’s provincial minister of finance and economic opportunities David Maynier said that the visa will allow international visitors to stay longer and work remotely while travelling in South Africa.
“Globally, many countries are competing to capture the market for the longer-stay tourist who can work online from anywhere in the world while earning and spending foreign currency in the country they are visiting,” it said.
“This is an important market right now, as this type of tourist is more resilient to the challenges that traditional tourism is facing given ongoing travel restrictions. Such tourists will also remain an important source of sustainable tourism long after the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“Introducing a remote working visa also makes business sense,” said Maynier. “It will attract a significant number of long-term, financially independent travellers to South Africa during a period of economic uncertainty.”
In the long term, remote workers are also more likely to invite their family and friends to visit in the future, he said.
“This could also have positive spin-offs for foreign direct investment, and the promotion of South African goods and services exports as travellers get to know and love all the great things about our country.”
The introduction of a remote working visa was first proposed by Western Cape premier in his state of the province address in February.
Winde said that the Western Cape was looking at new ways to drive tourism to the province, and that one potential avenue is attracting ‘digital nomads’ through a new remote-working visa.
The premier noted that Cape Town was recently named on the list of the 50 best cities for remote working.
“These ‘digital nomads’ are a new kind of tourist, who will stay in our province for 3 months instead of 3 weeks, enjoying our tourism offer while working on their laptops,” he said.
“We have everything it takes to be the best remote working location in the world if we remove the red tape – and roll-out the red-carpet for these travellers.
“To do so, South Africa urgently needs to introduce a ‘Remote Working Visa’. Most leading tourism destinations in the world have one already, and we should have one too.”
Western Cape premier Alan Winde said that the new visa would be a great contribution to South Africa’s recovery, given the severe impact that Covid-19 has had on the tourism sector in South Africa.
“The Western Cape is a great place to live and to work and we are ready to welcome these visitors and provide them with a great place to explore while they work.”