- Some cities are now incentivizing remote workers and digital nomads to move there, in a bid to stimulate their economies.
- Relocation programs may include a lump sum of thousands of dollars, property tax reimbursements, and even discounts at local sandwich shops.
- 4 US cities that are offering financial incentives include Austin (Texas), Tulsa (Oklahoma), Topeka (Kansas), and the Shoals (Alabama).
Cities around the world have begun offering attractive financial incentives to digital nomads and remote workers in an effort to help revitalise and stimulate their local economies.
Some offer very enticing cash payments once remote workers relocate to their cities; others offer wage and property tax reimbursements. Many of these town and city programs offer additional benefits like access to free coworking spaces, and even free outdoor recreational activities.
Typically what is required in return is that you, as a remote worker, relocate and live in the city for at least a year if not more. The aim is to entice you to become part of the community and to help establish a growing hub of economic activity that helps sustain these towns and cities.
This may be attractive to many remote workers, not only because of the grants or reimbursements but also because many of these places also have lower costs of living (including housing and tax). And some destinations are really beautiful and exciting too.
However, for digital nomads who by definition like to travel the world and live in different places as they work and travel, the concept of putting down roots may prove a conundrum. Many digital nomads start out with an idea of the lifestyle they want to achieve, but can get caught up in lots of work and not much of a work-life balance.
So for some, the idea of having stability and being able to live in a vibrant new community while being paid extra to do so, might be appealing to remote workers and digital nomads alike. In which case, these types of relocation incentive programs could signal the end of many nomadic work lifestyles.
Which Cities Offer Financial Incentives to Digital Nomads?
There are a surprising number of towns and cities around the world that are keen to grow their local economies and attract remote workers to settle there. Below we highlight some of these along with the perks of living in these places, the exact financial incentives to relocate there, and the eligibility criteria.
These towns and cities include Austin (Texas), Tulsa (Oklahoma), Topeka (Kansas), and the Shoals (Alabama).
In addition to these town and city programs, many countries are also making a big effort to attract digital nomads and remote workers to live in them and contribute to their economies. By contrast however, they typically do this by offering visas for remote workers as well as tax incentives.
Austin, Texas (USA)
Austin is the capital city of Texas in the American south and is regarded as one of the best places to live in the USA. It has a warm climate, and although it’s inland it’s not far from the sandy white beaches along the coastline of the Gulf of Mexico. It has a booming population of close to one million, a number of large businesses headquartered there and is home to one of the largest universities in the USA.
Perks of living in Austin, Texas
For digital nomads, Austin has a lot to offer. It has a bustling entrepreneurial sector and hosts the famous annual SXSW event which celebrates innovative film, media and creative pursuits.
Austin also has a vast range of coworking spaces like WeWork, Vuka, MELD Coworking and Galvanize. And Austin has affordable houses and is renowned for its cultural scene — in addition to its many nature parks and reserves, which makes it great for families.
Financial incentives for relocating to Austin
To attract digital nomads, business owners and remote workers to the city, Austin has created several attractive benefits. These include a relocation incentive that gives businesses a wage reimbursement of up to 3% per employee each year and a property tax reimbursement of up to 50%.
This incentive package is suited to larger companies that will create at least 75 jobs over 10 years. A requirement is that you shouldn’t have a significant presence in the City of Austin when applying.
Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA)
Tulsa is the arts and culture centre of Oklahoma and is surrounded by rivers and hills, making it a great city to live in if you enjoy nature and the outdoors. It also has a large population of just over 400,000 and growing tech, finance and aviation sectors.
Perks of living in Tulsa, Oklahoma
Tulsa is known for its great diversity of people and cultures, the cost of living is much lower than the national average and the housing costs are some of the lowest in the country. For remote workers and digital nomads there are also a range of great coworking spaces across Tulsa including The Root Coworking, The Bridge, and 36 Degrees North.
Financial incentives for relocating to Tulsa
The city created the Tulsa Remote program which gives remote workers a grant of $10,000 for relocating to the city. You can either receive the money as a one-off payment after you buy a home in Tulsa — or you can receive it as a $2500 payment upon relocation with $500 a month for 12 months and $1500 after completing the program.
To date, the city has welcomed over 1000 program participants. It aims to help newly relocated people to settle in by providing a community building in the form of events and meetups to connect you with local people and organisations. The program also offers free desk space in a local coworking space downtown. And they have curated housing options to make your move easier.
You must be over 18, be eligible to work in the USA, be a full-time remote worker, and must be able to relocate immediately.
Topeka, Kansas (USA)
Topeka is the capital of Kansas and a relatively small city with a population of just over 126,000 people. The winters can be cold and the summer and spring can get quite warm and humid. Topeka is surrounded by lots of rivers and park areas so it’s a good place for outdoor enthusiasts and nature-lovers.
Perks of living in Topeka, Kansas
The cost of living here is quite a bit lower than the national average with very affordable homes, it offers good quality education (including Washburn University), it offers a high quality of life, has a growing arts and culture scene, and it’s really green (it has over 100 parks and gardens dotted across the city).
Being relatively small, there aren’t as many coworking hubs in Topeka as in other large cities, but there are a few like Gather and Allwork.Space Topeka. There’s fast internet so working from home is a good option too — and there’s lots of free wifi around the city.
Financial incentives for relocating to Topeka
The city recently introduced the Choose Topeka program which awards up to $15,000 to people who relocate there and who either work remotely with their employers being outside the county — or who receive a full time job with an employer on-site.
Remote workers relocating to Topeka who are approved for the Choose Topeka program, may receive up to $5000 if renting in the first year — and up to $10,000 if buying a new home. And if you move to an area that is within the Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches delivery zones, you will also get a $1000 bonus from them.
As a remote employee, your employer must be located outside Shawnee County. Once approved for the program, you need to move to Topeka for your full-time position and either buy or rent a home that will be your primary residence. You also need to be eligible to work in the US to apply.
The Shoals, Alabama (USA)
The Shoals is a creative community comprising several cities in Northwest Alabama — including Florence, Muscle Shoals, Sheffield, and Tuscumbia. Located along the banks of the Tennessee River, the Shoals has a pleasant climate with warm summers and cool winters.
If you’re keen to call your “sweet home Alabama” and you’re a remote worker who also wants to experience the small town lifestyle surrounded by nature, then the Shoals might be for you.
Perks of living in Shoals
The Shoals has affordable real estate and cost of living and it also has low property taxes which means residents can save more by living here than other nearby areas.
There’s a university in Florence which has attracted quite an international student community – and many remote workers have also opted to relocate to the Shoals.
It’s also a creative hub, with many cultural and musical talents and opportunities — including several recording studios, fashion designers, music and art festivals.
There aren’t too many coworking options like Studio 22 in Florence, but there’s fast internet, a variety of cafes and restaurants — and you might like to work from home given the beautiful surroundings.
Financial incentives for relocating to Shoals
The Shoals program incentivises entrepreneurs and remote workers to move there by offering reimbursements of up to $10,000 that are linked to your salary. The more you earn, the more you stand to be reimbursed, starting from $6000 for people earning between $52,000 and $62,399 annually to $10,000 for those who earn over $124,800 a year.
You need to be over 18 years and eligible to work in the USA. You also need to earn a minimum of $52,000 a year and be a full-time remote worker or self-employed outside of Colbert and Lauderdale counties. Furthermore, you need to be able to move to the Shoals community within 6 months of your application.
Successful applicants get paid a quarter of the reimbursement amount on relocation to Shoals, a quarter after living and working in The Shoals for 6 months — and the last half is paid upon the completion of the program.
If you’re a remote worker or a digital nomad, then it may be worthwhile considering a move to one of these towns or cities, given the attractive financial incentives they offer.
Being a remote worker or digital nomad often means you can work from anywhere in the world, and if you’re eligible to live and work in the US, then you may like to consider making Tulsa, Topeka, the Shoals, or Austin your new home. Not only do you stand to gain financial rewards, but you can also save on the cost of living and can often live a lifestyle that offers more in the way of a work-life balance.