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Meet the travellers who have taken remote working to the extreme

Remote revolution

Tourism bodies and travel companies have been quick to capitalise on the growing interest in long-distance remote working. Anguilla, Barbados, Bermuda, Canary Islands, Cayman Islands, Croatia, Dominica, Dubai, Estonia, Iceland, Ireland, and Mauritius: the roll call of destinations that have lately created new visas welcoming visitors to work or study, from a few months up to a couple of years, grows ever longer. Likewise, resorts and hotels worldwide are tailoring offerings with long-stay working guests in mind, offering ‘workcation’ packages and rooms that double as office suites. 

“We’ve seen a surge in bookings for Airbnb-type properties,” says Tim Gunstone of bookings site, HotelPlanner[1]. “This could indicate an emerging trend towards extended-stay telework nomadism — what some are calling the YOLO (you only live once) economy, where employees have a pent-up desire to get out of their homes and see the world, while still earning a salary.”

Original Travel[2], meanwhile, is refocusing some of its adventurous trips for this growing demographic with ‘working from home from abroad’ offerings that include such tempting spots as Paris, the Maldives and Indonesia.

With its relatively low rates of Covid-19, outdoors living and a wide choice of work-stay visas, the Caribbean is proving popular with British remote workers. Taking advantage of St Lucia’s ‘live it’[3] initiative for extended stays, are Jason and Heena Cornwell, a couple in their thirties who’d been on a Latin American overlanding trip travelling in Colombia when lockdown happened in 2020. 

“If you had to get stuck, that’s the place,” laughs Jason. “But we were getting itchy feet. Once borders opened, we booked the first flight out, to St Vincent, which got cancelled the day before. With our bags already packed, we got the next available flight, which happened to be to St Lucia.” 

The couple stayed from October to December, returning to the UK for Christmas, but having loved the island, went back to St Lucia in early 2021. “The companies we work with, UK-based nonprofits, have been really supportive,” says Heena. “Office hours vary, but we try to align ourselves to UK time, starting at 6am and ending early afternoon. Perhaps because of our backgrounds — Jason is British-Mauritian and I was born in India but moved to the UK in my early twenties — we’re interested in learning about different cultures. So, it was important for us to have time to get out and really explore the island. We’ve learnt all about local sea moss farming, had a tour with a mural artist, found out about an incredible local bakery and stayed at Balenbouche, an eco-cottage conversion of an old sugar plantation.” 

Introductions made by locals and recommendations from friendly locals and ex-pats helped the couple line up these experiences. “You need to be confident,” says Jason, “go into local restaurants to chat to people — and that’s always where the best food is anyway.” The couple has decided to continue remote working while building their online resource for like-minded globetrotters, confusionofcultures.com.[4] “Having worked for nonprofits, we’d like to take it further and use our skills to develop sustainable tourism initiatives with island businesses,” says Heena.

Life on the road, it seems, can take you in directions you never expected. In early 2020, Tom Bainbridge and Alison Melvin, a couple in their fifties, set off from London on a six-week European road trip in a specially converted van. “We wanted to stay on wild coastlines and hilltops where there’s nothing, so we needed to be self-sufficient and comfortable,” says Tom. And then lockdown happened. “Borders were closing pretty much just after we went through them each time,” he says. “But we were more than happy in the van.” The couple got as far as Portugal before parking up and staying put. “I run my own business, as a lawyer, so I had an understanding boss,” laughs Tom. “I worked in the van with solar panels for power, filling up the water tank every couple of days, using an MIFI box for internet connection for Zoom meetings. We had a proper bed. We couldn’t have been better set up, really. Ali is a yoga teacher and managed to start giving classes online.”

Home is now a dilapidated farm building in a remote part of rural Coimbra that the couple have decided to renovate. “It was land that my late husband and I had bought years ago,” says Alison. “I was intending to sell it, thinking it was madness to do anything else. But here we are! And we’ve learnt so much, not just Portuguese (we’re taking lessons online, and from our builder; we have a very odd vocabulary of technical construction terms), but also what matters in life. It’s about jumping in at the deep end and totally committing to wherever you are.” 

Once lockdown is over, the couple will set off again, to explore the Iberian peninsula. “Living in the camper showed me that you can do a lot more with much less,” says Alison. “We only packed for a few weeks and have survived with the small bags we took away. All that stuff in our two flats back home? We don’t miss any of it.”  

Don’t leave home without…
 

1. Buying travel insurance
All our interviewees said they wouldn’t have done without it, and that while it was a little more expensive due to pandemic, most policies were no more difficult to set up than usual and covered most eventualities, even during a pandemic.

2. Being bank smart
Unless you decide to stay long term, like most remote workers you’ll likely keep banking at home. Consider opening an account with companies such as Monzo or Starling, which don’t charge for foreign transactions or withdrawals.

3. Talking to your employer
Trust is key to successful business relationships, so be clear about your intentions to work overseas, not least as it might have tax, insurance, business licence or data protection implications for both you and the company you work for.

4. Getting advice from an accountant
Those temporarily working abroad and employed by a UK company will pay tax as usual through PAYE, and the self-employed will still need to declare their income as usual, regardless of whether that income has been generated in the UK or overseas. However, as every country has different tax rules, it’s best to seek the advice of an accountant.

5. Checking current travel restrictions
During the pandemic, ensure that you’re allowed into your destination, and check if there are any test, vaccination or quarantine requirements for entry. If quarantine is up to two weeks, in a government-provided hotel, and you’re away for only a month or so, your destination choice might start to look less attractive.

6. Assessing rental income
If you own a property and are renting it out while you are away, you’ll need to file a self-assessment tax return. Tax will be due only if your total untaxed UK income exceeds £12,500 during the financial year.

Published in the Jul/Aug 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)[5]

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References

  1. ^ HotelPlanner (www.hotelplanner.com)
  2. ^ Original Travel (www.originaltravel.co.uk)
  3. ^ St Lucia’s ‘live it’ (www.stlucia.org)
  4. ^ confusionofcultures.com. (www.confusionofcultures.com)
  5. ^ Published in the Jul/Aug 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK) (natgeotraveller.imbmsubscriptions.com)
  6. ^ Twitter (twitter.com)
  7. ^ Facebook (en-gb.facebook.com)
  8. ^ Instagram (www.instagram.com)

Man who tried to smuggle migrants into UK hidden inside sofas is jailed

A 21-year-old man has been jailed for attempting to smuggle migrants into the UK – hidden inside sofas.

Arman Yusuf Rahmani, who was granted asylum in this country after entering in the back of a lorry, was caught trying to get people into the UK from France and Belgium.

The Iranian national arranged for people to be concealed in the base of sofas then transported overseas in the back of vans for hire, Preston Crown Court heard.

The offences happened in 2018 and 2019 when Rahmani hired six different ‘man with van’ drivers advertising their services on social media.

He agreed for them to drive from the UK to France or Belgium to collect and transport second-hand furniture to the UK, it was heard.

READ MORE:Woman who lost both legs after being crushed by drunk driver dies[1]

The drivers did not know people were hidden inside the items they had been paid to transport, it was heard, and were instructed not to help with loading the vehicles.

Upon arrival at the UK border in France, Border Force officers searched the vans and quickly identified the migrants hiding inside.

All the illegal migrants discovered claimed to be Iraqi males, under 18 years of age.

Video footage and photographs later taken of the hiding spots show that any plea for help from those in the back of the van would not have been heard.

This evidence confirmed Rahmani had no regard for the welfare of the people he was paid to hide, it was heard.

He was arrested a short time later and pleaded guilty to breaking UK immigration law. He has now been sentenced to two years and seven months in prison.

Preston Crown Court heard he had established a criminal network to facilitate foreign nationals illegally entering the UK.

Speaking after the sentencing, Minister for Immigration Compliance & Justice, Chris Philip, said: “Rahmani showed a blatant disregard for the laws of the UK, a country which provided him with safety and a place to live for which he has rightly paid the price.

“This case shows the lengths criminals will go to profit from our broken asylum system by putting people’s lives at risk

“We are aiming to step up prosecution of those smuggling people into the country which is why this government is bringing legislation through our New Plan for Immigration, breaking the business model of these heinous people-smuggling networks and save lives.”

Katie Brown, a Criminal and Financial Investigations (CFI) investigator added: “Today’s sentence is the result of an excellent investigation which brought to an end Rahmani’s pattern of criminality.

“People smugglers are motivated by money alone and show no regard for the safety of those they exploit.

“This case is a message that we never stop looking for those involved in immigration crime.

Rahmani will see out his 2-year 7-month sentence at which point he will be eligible for deportation as a Foreign National Offender (FNO).

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You can sign up for free daily updates with the LancsLive newsletter here.[4]

To keep updated, follow LancsLive on Facebook and @LiveLancs on Twitter.[5][6]

Have you got news for us? Contact our newsdesk on [email protected].[7]

References

  1. ^ Woman who lost both legs after being crushed by drunk driver dies (www.lancs.live)
  2. ^ iPhone here (apps.apple.com)
  3. ^ Android here (play.google.com)
  4. ^ the LancsLive newsletter here (www.lancs.live)
  5. ^ LancsLive on Facebook (facebook.com)
  6. ^ @LiveLancs on Twitter (twitter.com)
  7. ^ [email protected] (www.lancs.live)

Transport minister condemns Iran over shootdown of Flight PS752

© Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press Transport Minister Omar Alghabra publicly condemned Iran over its downing of Flight PS752 for the first time, at a virtual session of the International Civil Aviation Organization Council on Friday.
For the first time,…

James O’Brien asks when people will see Brexit downsides, as food trade hits ‘crisis point’

18 June 2021, 14:58

By Fiona Jones

James O’Brien questioned when people will accept the pitfalls of Brexit, as Tesco is forced to bin almost 50,000 tonnes of fresh food every week due to severe shortage of heavy goods drivers in the UK.

Reported in industry publication The Grocer, Tesco made this admission during an industry-wide round-table organised by the Department for Transport.

Alongside exportation problems, the “chronic driver shortage and staff shortfalls” means a food shortage in the UK is “inevitable”, with imported goods being rarer and pricier, The Grocer said.

With food and drink exports to the EU from the UK almost halved, 65,000 HGV drivers are needed to fill the gap made by a mass exodus of EU drivers, according to Road Haulage Association.

The crisis is so severe one leading industry figure has called for the Government to put the Army on standby to transport food if the situation worsens.

James O’Brien reacted to this: “When will it become inarguable?”

“So I can tell you that 50 tonnes of food is currently being thrown away in Tesco, Tesco can say it is in large part, not entirely obviously, we’re in the middle of a pandemic still, Tesco will say it is in large part because of Brexit, we can’t get the drivers.

“You will say no it isn’t. I wonder at what point does it become inarguable?”

He pointed out that food and drink exports to anywhere outside the EU have returned “roughly to normal levels so [Covid] is not the reason.”

He cited his local convenience store a shortage of fresh produce, questioning whether that is part of a bigger picture, also noticing a slight increase of pictures of empty shelves on Twitter.

“I do wonder whether you are already feeling the pinch. As ever now, the people I really really really want to hear from are the people who are absolutely convinced there was never going to be any pinch.

James surmised, “So UK food and drink exports to the European Union have almost halved in the first three months of the year, meanwhile over at Tesco suppliers are being forced to bin nearly 50 tonnes of food a week due to a lorry driver crisis.

“Imagine in a normal country that wasn’t still enslaved to Brexit what the tabloid papers would be doing with the news that leading industry figures are calling for the army to be put on standby. Normally they love that, don’t they?

The people that prioritise flags over facts. They think that ten students taking down a photograph of the Queen is really really bad but Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House of Commons, flying to Balmoral to lie to her is absolutely fine, normally they’d love this.

“They’ve got the Army on standby, this is outrageous! Nope, not a word. Not a sausage, not a syllable. Such a severe situation, according to one leading industry figure, that he’s calling for the Government to put the Army on standby to transport food.”

The suggestion was made by James Bielby, chief executive officer of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors.

He said: “The situation has reached crisis point and it is likely to get worse as more hospitality venues open and demand increases.

“We are concerned enough to suggest that the Government considers having Army trucks on standby to ensure there are enough vehicles and drivers to distribute food.”

Lanes reopen on M62 after crash involving car and lorry

ALL lanes have reopened on the M62 following a crash this dinnertime, Friday.

Two lanes were closed and queuing traffic was reported following a collision involving a car and a lorry on the eastbound carriageway.

It occurred between junction 10 for the M6 at Croft and junction 11 for Birchwood.

Lanes three and four, of four, were closed.

Highways England traffic officers and recovery crews were dispatched to the scene.

Also in attendance were police and ambulance crews.

References

  1. ^ #M62 (twitter.com)
  2. ^ #J10 (twitter.com)
  3. ^ #CroftInterchange (twitter.com)
  4. ^ #M6 (twitter.com)
  5. ^ #J11 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ #WarringtonEast (twitter.com)
  7. ^ #Birchwood (twitter.com)
  8. ^ #A574 (twitter.com)
  9. ^ @OfficialTfGM (twitter.com)
  10. ^ @manctraffic (twitter.com)
  11. ^ June 18, 2021 (twitter.com)