Dubai is second most popular global city for digital nomads

Melbourne tops work-from-anywhere index, with London in fifth position

FILE PHOTO: A woman runs past the Burj Khalifa and the downtown skyline in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, June 13, 2021. Picture taken June 13, 2021. REUTERS/Christopher Pike/File Photo

Dubai is the second most popular destination for digital nomads in the world, in a new ranking of the best cities for remote workers.

It scored highly thanks to its new one-year residency permit for remote workers, according to the Work-from-Anywhere Index from Nestpick, with Melbourne in Australia topping the index and London coming in fifth position.

“The last year has really proved to many companies that remote working is not only a possibility, but actually something that can be beneficial to everyone involved. The technology has been available for a while now, but it’s taken seeing it in practice for the idea to really take hold,” said Omer Kucukdere, founder and chief executive at Nestpick, a search engine for furnished apartments.

The pandemic has accelerated the work-from-home trend, with the adoption of new technologies encouraging more workers to move away from the city or country where their employer is based.

In response, some countries, including the UAE, have enacted legislation designed to attract foreign-employed workers.

The UAE unveiled a one-year residency permit for remote workers in April to help attract more talent to the region and boost business opportunities.

The Dubai government also announced on Wednesday it had recruited some of the leading lights of the UAE's technology scene to the newly-created Dubai Chamber of Digital Economy, which will be responsible for transforming the emirate into an international technology hub and attracting investment in e-commerce and emerging technologies.

Members of the chamber's board include Careem co-founder Mudassir Sheikha, Souq.com founder Ronaldo Mouchawar and Aramex founder Fadi Ghandour. It is supported by an advisory council that includes Telegram co-founder Pavel Durov, Bayt.com founder Rabea Ataya and Propertyfinder founder Michael Lahyani, among others.

On June 22nd, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid issued a law establishing the Dubai Digital Authority, which oversees the world of the Smart Dubai Government Establishment, Dubai Data Establishment, the Dubai Electronic Security Centre and the Dubai Statistics Centre.

The authority's launch is part of a plan to digitise government operations and promote greater efficiency and agility among businesses, the newly-formed DDA said in a statement on Thursday.

“Establishing the Dubai Digital Authority is a landmark decision allowing us to prepare for the city’s next digital phase, which includes empowering all entities under the DDA umbrella to digitise all aspects of life and business in the emirate," said the authority's director general, Hamad Al Mansoori.

“We strive to support a seamless and rapid digital transformation, strengthen our digital economy, and benefit from its tremendous potential."

Nestpick's index ranked 75 cities around the globe on a variety of factors related to working from home, including costs and infrastructure, taxes, freedom, safety and liveability.

While some cities have moved faster than others in responding to this developing landscape, the majority are lagging behind. The new reality, however, looks likely to stay, meaning the cities legislating to attract this new type of worker are set to reap the benefits.

“Very few countries have enacted legislation designed to attract foreign-employed workers. Instead, they only offer visas to those who take jobs on location, therefore missing the opportunity to bring high-wage earners to their cities without the need to generate new jobs,” said Nestpick.

The study also assessed how the pandemic affects the liveability of many metropolises, noting the percentage of people who are fully vaccinated in each location, as well as those with low infection rates.

Updated: July 1st 2021, 10:43 AM
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