Many countries have made headlines by creating digital nomad visas. Now, some small towns and cities in the U.S. are also trying to attract remote employees.
It’s common for people to leave their hometowns to seek work in more densely populated areas where their professional skills can help them earn more—yet remote work has evened out the playing field by allowing some individuals to work from wherever they please.
Without tethers to a particular location, remote employees no longer need to flock to densely populated areas with more work. That gives little towns a chance to court nomads by advertising their benefits and even offering rewards for relocating.
Such rewards could be especially enticing to people who can’t afford sky-high housing prices. Digital nomad incentives include tax breaks, property, cash payments, and more.
There’s even an online directory allowing nomads to find their ideal town: MakeMyMove.
In addition to traditional incentives, some towns have devised more creative ways to convince people to move. For instance, a few offer free concert tickets; one provides free babysitting for successful digital nomad program applicants.
Until recently, most communities attempted to court companies to grow their populations. It remains to be seen whether attracting digital nomads will be more cost-effective, though early results look promising.
Evan Hock, a MakeMyMove cofounder, noted that investing in remote employees could create “enormous” returns. Such workers pay taxes, spend money within the community, and become rooted in the area when they bring their families.
Here are a few of the places offering incentives:
Morgantown and Lewisburg, West Virginia
An estimated package of $20K which includes a cash stipend of $12K and other undisclosed gifts and incentives valued at $8K.
Greater Rochester, NY
Applicants who live more than 300 miles from downtown Rochester and can move within 6 months of acceptance can obtain a $10K relocation incentive and up to $9K in homebuyers’ incentives.
Applicants who work for an employer located outside of Michigan can take advantage of a $10K mortgage incentive (must purchase a home above $200K) and $5K if an applicant’s child is enrolled in a local public school.
Applicants can relocate within six months of acceptance and have a home within city limits can take advantage of a $5K stipend for relocation as well as access to a co-working space (valued at $3K), membership to the local golf club (worth $1,4K), and a $500 health and wellness stipend.
There are no barriers to applying and the estimated pack is worth $15K including up to $5K per year over two years and up to $7,500 for those who become full-time employees of a business based in Vermont.
Though remote employment became popular in response to the pandemic, the continuing popularity is related to its best features: flexibility, less time spent commuting, and increased work-life balance.