Saturday 4 February 2023

Delays in regulation of digital nomads is a ‘loss of opportunities’

The term to have the regulations to the law was at the beginning of November

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QCOSTARICA – The Cámara Nacional de Turismo (Canatur)  – National Chamber of Tourism –  again urged the Government to publish the regulations to the law for the attraction of digital nomads to Costa Rica, which should have been ready in November.

The Colina Secreta Glamping hotel, in Puerto Viejo, Limón, already has experience with digital nomads. Photo: Otto Varela @Ottiux

In a statement, Canatur points out that the lack of these regulations has generated a loss of opportunities to attract digital nomads, in relation to competing countries, which already have the conditions to capture this market niche.

The Digital Nomads Law was signed by President on August 2021 after being approved by the Legislative Assembly on July 13, with regulations to be established by November.

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Read more: Costa Rica signs law to attract digital nomads

“The lack of regulation prevents the proper application of the law and generates legal uncertainty for companies, but it also puts us at a disadvantage compared to other countries that currently offer some type of incentive that makes it easier for travelers to live in the territories for longer. time while they work, for this reason, we urge the competent entities to complete this process as soon as possible and finally issue the regulation,” said Rubén Acón, president of Canatur.

Read more: Why do digital nomads choose Costa Rica to work?

The Digital Nomads Law establishes special conditions for this type of tourist. A digital nomad can stay in the country for up to one year, not the typical up to 90 days for tourism, that must be renewed or as many tourists either overstay or do a “visa run” – leaving and returning, typically the same day or a day or two later, to get another 90 days.

In addition, digital nomads can open bank accounts and enter computers and other equipment used in their work duty-free, although it requires a minimum monthly income level of $3,000 for individuals and $4,000 for families and to have medical insurance to obtain the status.

This call by Canatur and the tourism sector, in general, is not the first. In December, the sector had already made a first urgent call to the Government to publish the regulation as soon as possible.

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At that time, the immigration service, Dirección General de Migración y Extranjería (DGME), in charge of developing the regulations mentioned that they were working on the final version, but it has not yet been published.

In relation to the new request from the tourism sector, Acón told La Nacion, that they expect a regulation “consistent with the spirit of the legislation” and that also facilitates an appropriate environment for people who wish to establish themselves in the country as remote workers.

“We are a popular destination because we have the conditions that this type of worker (digital nomad) is looking for, we should not waste time to generate the necessary conditions that allow us to attract this type of tourists that break with seasonality, promote the reactivation of tourist activity and promote the economy. through the consumption of products and services,” pointed out Acón.

According to the “Work from Wherever Index” by the Kaya travel search engine, it places Costa Rica in seventh place among the 111 of “Best countries to work from based on 22 factors”, giving Costa Rica a final score of 86 out of 100.

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In North and Central America, Costa Rica is number one, followed by Panama, Mexico, Honduras, El Salvador, the United States, Canada, and Guatemala.



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