17 March 2021
The Antigua and Barbuda High Commission (London), in partnership with the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the Nomad Digital Residence Programme, organised and hosted a webinar on 16th March 2021 to gain further insight into and promote the Digital Nomad Residence Visa Programme (NDRVP).
Launched in November 2020, Antigua and Barbuda established a long-stay visa programme for persons desirous of working remotely from a safe Caribbean island with access to all modern amenities. Against this backdrop, the webinar brought together Government representatives, digital nomads and industry stakeholders in an effort to expand the reach of the programme across the Commonwealth network and beyond.
Presenting at the forum were the Honourable E.P. Chet Greene, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Immigration, and Trade; Ms Katrina Yearwood, Chief of Immigration and Karen Crump, Head of Corporate and NDRVP; Antigua and Barbuda cricket legend, Sir Curtly Ambrose; Lord Marland, CWEIC Chair and owner of Wisden Cricket Monthly, as well as existing digital nomads currently working and living in Antigua.
In his opening remarks, Minister Greene noted that “from a policy standpoint, the Government envisions the Nomad Digital Residence Visa Programme as a resilience policy response to diversifying the tourism industry in light of the current challenges”. He further recognised that the programme provides the opportunity to welcome more long-term visitors and the benefits of their economic activity while simultaneously diminishing the risks associated with in-and-out visitors in a global pandemic.
Digital nomad residents and remote workers Jessica and Tim Duce (Canada), Marie and Dave Ross (United Kingdom), Dawn Thomas (United Kingdom and diaspora) shared their reasons for choosing Antigua and Barbuda and their desire to take full advantage of working remotely from an idyllic location. With careers spanning communication engineering, legal services, digital media and marketing, and public service, the participating residents also elaborated on their experiences from application to arrival and the ease of settling into remote-working life.
Although working in different time zones will need to be navigated, the nomad residents agreed that the flexible working arrangements proved to be highly advantageous not only for their organisations but also for their well-being. They further added that work could be balanced with the abundance of opportunities to engage in water sports activities, leisure, fitness and wellness, as well as the option to enrol their children in some of the quality schools on the Island.
Also on hand was Cricket legend Sir Curtly Ambrose, who endorsed the programme and addressed the forum on life in Antigua and Barbuda. Sir Curtly spoke passionately and eloquently about the warmth and friendliness of the people of Antigua and Barbuda as the country’s greatest assets and on how persons could fully indulge in all that is on offer, be it food, music and culture, sports, and nature-based activities.
In presenting an overview of the programme and current objectives, Ms Yearwood expressed her unwavering commitment and dedication to the programme’s growth and success through professional service delivery, efficient application processing, and dynamic offerings. In this regard, the Immigration Chief recalled her one-on-one engagements with applicants and their feedback to gauge how to fine-tune the programme’s delivery and offerings. Ms Yearwood also provided a sneak-peak into the setup of the new website platform, which aims to be a one-stop-shop for logistics and processing for applicants.
The webinar was organised by High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, H.E. Karen-Mae Hill, Chief Immigration Officer Katrina Yearwood and Samantha Cohen CVO, Chief Executive of CWEIC. The Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council is the Commonwealth’s business network which boasts of over 100 business and government strategic partners promoting trade and investment throughout the 54 member nations of the Commonwealth.