The state of Goa is doubling down on efforts to make India a hub for digital nomads.
Known for its beaches and hippy communes, the western state has been pushing for the country to become remote-worker friendly for some time.
Goa’s minister of Tourism and IT Rohan Khaunte launched his ‘Workation Goa’ campaign in July last year, encouraging visitors to work from the state’s balmy shores.
Since then, Goa has been working on introducing coworking spaces in beachside locations including Ashvem, Morjim and Benaulim.
Attending last week’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM) in Dubai, Khaunte raised fresh hopes for the scheme.
“We are trying to conceptualise a new visa which we have taken up with the central government,” he told reporters, according to business news site Zawya.
“We are pretty sure that in days to come we are going to be the first state in the country to invite digital nomads,” he continued.
Does India offer a digital nomad visa?
India does not yet offer a dedicated digital nomad visa but the Goan government is working on this.
In December, Khaunte entered talks with the Prime Minister’s office, tourism minister and IT minister to launch a remote work visa, according to the Times of India newspaper.
At ATM, he confirmed that talks are ongoing. Khaunte is campaigning on the benefits that digital nomads bring to local economies, as he says they favour homestays over high-end hotels and build the local talent pool, Zawya reports.
Goa has recently established a homestay policy aimed at helping residents earn extra money while giving tourists a glimpse of the local culture.
Currently, India offers a long-term, multi-entry visa but this is technically for tourism purposes only.
The e-Tourist visa allows you to stay for either 30 days, one year or five years, provided you leave the country every 90 days. You can apply for the visa online. The fee ranges from $10 (€9) for 30 days to $80 (€73) for five years for most nationalities.
Would India be a good place for digital nomads?
India is well poised to become a hub for budget-conscious digital nomads.
The country can offer a high quality of life at a low cost. The cost of living in London, UK, is more than 360 per cent higher than India’s capital, New Delhi, according to crowd-sourced global database Numbeo.
The country also has a high level of English speakers, making it easier to overcome language barriers for many visitors.
With sandy beaches in the south, vibrant cities like Mumbai and New Delhi and world famous sights like the Taj Mahal, as well as extensive public transport, India has no shortage of travel opportunities.
As Goa invests in infrastructure for remote workers, it’s set to have all the resources you need to work from the beach on a budget.