Isn't the author of this article, to a large extent, a digital nomad? It isn't clear to me how digital nomads are swimming in the local labor pool. I can't imagine how a non-Thai speaker, for example, could compete with locals in any of the job categories you mentioned; nor would they readily work for standard Thai wages. Can you elaborate on that, as I seem to be not getting the point?

It also seems to me that a digital nomad program isn't mutually exclusive from an business development visa. Thailand has the latter, at least the last time I checked, but it seemed so complicated that they only issue a few dozen every year.

What I would really like to see is a paid month-to-month visa option. Using Thailand as an example again, there is the Elite Visa program. But prices start at US $20,000 for a 5-year visa. That initial investment is a non-starter for me, particularly as I qualify for a regular 1-year retirement visa. But if it were a pro-rated amount that let me stay for 6 months instead, for example, I would have already purchased that for this trip. Best wishes.

Expand full comment

Re the labour pool, Southeast Asian countries have a really well developed scene for trades like programming and graphic design—and they’re hired internationally through freelance websites like Upwork etcetera. When foreigners are doing the same work, based out of SEA, they’re competing with local labour.

Yes Thailand’s Elite Visa is one I had in mind (but ran out of words) as you say it is pricey, and it isn’t clear where that $20k goes—into taxation revenue or who knows where?

As for me as a Global Nomad, I’d say I fall easier into the expat bucket as I’ve been based in four destinations over the last 20+ years, so if I’m a nomad, I’m a rather slow moving one!


Expand full comment

Thanks for the additional details. However, are the digital nomads competing in the local market, or are the Southeast Asians competing in an international market? If that is the case, it still isn't clear to me how the physical location of the DNs is a factor. Couldn't they compete for those jobs from Seattle or Brisbane just as easily? And sorry if I am putting too fine a point on it or coming off as contrary. I think you know me well enough to know that isn't my intent, but rather interested in what you have to say. In any case, I agree that SEA-based DNs should not be taking work from locals.

Going back to the original article, I thought the idea that DNs be required to stay in starred accommodation was particularly silly, as I'd bet more money stays local from a backpacker lodging than a fancy, international chain hotel. Cheers.

Expand full comment

What an amazing insight!.... One of the most interesting I have read..... you know how it partly snow balled about 5 years ago when Thomas Cook went under.... leaving hundred of thousands of apartments in Spain empty!..And large apartment owners began to offer cheap long term rentals....Very interesting reading.... Good Morning...

Expand full comment