Work Visa Rejected? Here’s Why You Should Become a Virtual Expat

With COVID-19 causing travel restrictions around the globe, many people’s travel & work abroad plans have been derailed, and virtual expats are now on the rise.
Carolyne Njeri

Carolyne Njeri

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One of the first measures taken against the coronavirus pandemic when it broke out was travel restrictions. The restrictions started in the Far East and made their way across the globe as the disease spread. Now, even as most countries have begun flattening their infection rate curves, the restrictions are still tight to prevent a resurgence. The USA for example set a ban on H-1B work visas, which are permits that allows US companies to hire non-American workers from special fields such as IT and Engineering, in a bid to safeguard employment opportunities for its citizens amidst an economic fallout and to prevent a rise of infections from outside its borders. This visa program supports major companies such as Google, Tesla, eBay and Amazon. This ban is expected to last way into 2021. Other countries, like Sweden and Germany, introduced total bans to people who aren’t citizens of EU countries.

If you were looking to move to one of the countries that have imposed travel restrictions, your visa might, unfortunately, be rejected. According to Schengen Visa (a visa regulatory body for 26 European countries), the rate of visa rejection in 2019 was 9.9% and in 2020, the number is expected to leap even higher. Border laws have become stricter, and the economic capacities of most companies have been reduced, so your offer for a permanent job may also fall through. 

So what can you do? Is there a way around your visa denial? Forbes recommends freelancing and so do we! According to Forbes, the H-1B ban will go a long way in boosting remote work. Because of the work from home protocols, more companies have begun embracing remote work and freelancers, so it will not be difficult for you to integrate into a new workforce as most activities are already being done remotely.

Remote work has a myriad of advantages for both business owners and employees. It has been shown to boost morale and to increase the general productivity of a workday. A study by CPA Practice Advisor says 63% of business executives and employees believe that remote work is more productive than traditional office work.

A report dubbed “Fast 50”  by Freelancer shows that there was a 25% increase in freelance job opportunities from April to June 2020. It also showed that job postings increased exponentially. Additionally, it is estimated that 45% of hiring executives predict a freeze in hiring for the near future but, 73% of them plan on maintaining their hiring of independent contractors and freelance-based workers.

As the numbers have shown, freelancing is the future. But how will it work for you? Here are 5 benefits you’ll get from freelancing in lieu of travelling for your new job.

1. You can still have your dream job

Just because your application for a visa hasn’t gone through, doesn’t mean you can’t work with your company of choice. Technology has made communication and collaboration so easy, that distance is no longer an obstacle. Think of tools like Zoom, Slack and Proofhub. You’ll be so close to your co-workers you won’t even notice the thousands of miles separating you. You will also be able to access clients beyond your geographical location. Top companies throughout the world are always on the lookout for international talent on freelancing platforms, so don’t despair if you can’t go to their premises in person. Freelancing also gives you the luxury of choosing which jobs you’d like to work on or what clients fit into your vision. The only thing that will prevent you from getting your dream job from the comfort of your couch is your ambition.

2. Freelancing is extremely flexible

Although moving to a new country is exciting, it can be really expensive. You’ll need to buy a plane ticket, make accommodation arrangements, buy new clothes to fit the weather, etc. The living costs in your new city may also be overwhelmingly high, especially if it’s in Europe or North America. But if you decide to work as a freelancer, you won’t even have to leave your house to work, and that’s very cost-effective. Freelancing will enable you to lead the “laptop lifestyle” that will give you the freedom to work anytime and from anywhere in the world as long as you meet your deadlines.

3. You’ll skip the culture shock

Financial considerations aside, moving to a new country can take a toll on your job performance. New food, different weather and strange cultures can be difficult to adjust to in the first few months. The silver lining of working remotely is you won’t get to suffer under these drastic changes. You won’t be far from your loved ones and your physical environment won’t change but you’ll still be working for your desired company!

4. You’ll get more exposure

Because of the flexible working hours, you can pick up more gigs than you would have if you were weighed down by a traditional job. You’ll be able to work in more fields and for more companies. You’ll pick up new skills and earn more money while still being in control. Does it get better than that? It does! As a freelancer, you’ll get more experience than you would have as a  full-time employee and build your portfolio with ease. 

5. Freelancers earn good money

If you get a job abroad, you’ll most likely make more money than you would if you offered your services locally. Multinational companies have better working conditions and higher pay compared to local ones, especially in developing countries. Plus, because you won’t be spending a lot in expensive cities or paying for your daily commute, you can save more money. One of the biggest advantages of becoming a freelancer is the financial freedom it accords.

The Takeaway

The coronavirus may have come between you and your travel plans, but it shouldn’t hinder you from working for top-grossing international companies. Since many companies are already transitioning into remote work, you’ll have a better chance working remotely than travelling to a new country for work.

Freelancing offers a reliable loophole to working for your dream company from the luxury of your home. Registering on digital hiring platforms like Ureed.com will increase your chances of getting noticed by hiring executives tenfold!

Sign up on Ureed.com as a freelancer now to start connecting with top employers from the GCC and beyond.