As COVID-19 continues to disrupt working conditions around the globe, the US state of Hawaii is incentivizing remote workers to swap their home office for the beach with an offer of free round-trip tickets to the idyllic islands.
The dream getaway destination has launched a program offering out-of-state remote workers free air travel to Oahu - the third-largest of the Hawaiian Islands - in return for their contribution to the state’s economy.
All workers have to do is bring a laptop – and their sunscreen.
The temporary residency program, known as ‘Movers and Shakas’ has been launched in collaboration with schools and businesses and accepting its first group of applicants until December 15.
“Movers and Shakas is a small step towards economic recovery and diversifying our economy,” said Jason Higa, the group’s founder.
“The pandemic has normalized remote work for the foreseeable future, so we believe this situation presents an opportunity for local residents to return home, and for out of state professionals to experience Hawaii, not as tourists, but as contributing members of our community.”
Fifty people will be chosen for the first cohort. Later applicants will be accepted on a rolling basis. To apply, you must be a remote worker and at least 18 years old.
The offer stipulates that successful participants must move within one month of being selected and are required to spend at least 30 consecutive days in Hawaii.
The program is looking for applicants who also want to contribute to Hawaii’s local communities and accepted into the program are required to commit a few hours every week to a nonprofit where they can use their knowledge and skills.
“Hawaii currently has the lowest rate per capita of COVID-19 infections in the country, also making it one of the safest places to live and work,” according to the program’s news release.
So far, Hawaii has reported over 18,000 coronavirus cases, and more than 200 people have died.
It is the latest exotic beach destination to offer incentives to remote workers.
Barbados, in the eastern Caribbean, has launched a program dubbed the ‘Barbados Welcome Stamp’ – allowing visitors to stay on the island visa-free for a year in a bid to attract remote workers.
Meanwhile, Anguilla is also offering extended visas for workers wanting to base their ‘office’ on the 35-square-mile Caribbean island and Bermuda is also offering a ‘One-Year Residential Certification’ program allowing visitors to work remotely for a year.