To get working from home right there are a few simple requirements. A comfy chair, good internet and a steady supply of biscuits, maybe invest in a coffee machine and some printer toner. Oh, and miles and miles of palm-lined white sandy beaches…
The Caribbean Island of Barbados has just launched a brand new visa scheme aimed at Britain’s WFH community. At some point in the last four months of home working it must have occurred to everyone at least once that it doesn’t actually matter if you’re working from a bedsit in West London or if you’re on a sun lounger on a tropical island. Well now that day-dream has just come true.
The government of Barbados has launched their Welcome Stamp visa, designed for the new WFH reality. The 12-month £1,500 visa allows you to continue working your regular job back in the UK and you won’t be liable for Barbados income tax.
The weird thing is, we just crunched the numbers and it might actually be a viable idea. Like actually…
Firstly, the whole WFH thing is here to stay. Even with Boris’s exhortation to come back to the office from August 1st, it’s likely that many offices either won’t be willing to open early or that companies will be far more amenable to home working. But the real game-changer is that Barbados is surprisingly affordable. Here’s how it compares to your London rent…
Budget: £500 a month (sharing a 2 bed)
South Norwood vs Barbados
You’re looking for a flat share at not more than £500 a month. In London you’re limited. I put £1,000 (the cost for two flatmates sharing) into Rightmove and in the whole of London there are only two two-beds currently on the market.
Now I’m sure South Norwood is perfectly nice, you’re a short bus-ride from Croydon town centre after all. But for the same budget you and your housemate could nip to Barbados and rent a two bed townhouse just a minute’s walk from the beach and boasting a plunge pool, outside space and as an added bonus it’s nowhere near Croydon.
Price: £968 per month
Budget: £1,000 a month (1 bed)
Highbury vs Barbados
Ill-fitting non-matching furniture, sticky carpets and turquoise bathroom suites from the 1970s, all par for the course in London. Take this Highbury flat, just round the corner from Emirates Stadium, so ideal for watching the football louts tearing off every wing mirror on the street.
By comparison look at the one-bed equivalent in Barbados. It’s in a rainforest. Tree House looks like the perfect WFH spot, who couldn’t be productive surrounded by nature and dangled in a hammock?
Price: £930 per month
Budget: £1,500 a month
Earlsfield vs Barbados
Port Charles is a luxury marina development in the West coast of Barbados. It’s got a heliport, just to give you context. A one-bed condo, with a terrace overlooking the lagoon, sets you back £1,500 a month.
Orrrrr, how about Garratt Lane? Swap the aquamarine lagoon for the River Wandle, a shopping-trolley infested waterway, in this perfectly respectable one bed just close to the lawn mower repair shop on the road to Tooting. Spoke to the agent this morning, they’re gonna come back to me about my heliport question…
PRICE: £1,550 PER MONTH
Budget: £2,000 a month
Enfield vs Barbados
Two bungalows. One, in Enfield, the North London suburb that was home to the world’s first mass-produced dishwasher. With two beds and a bathroom, not to mention a hint of a garden, you could do worse than this rental that comes with all-IKEA furniture as standard.
Or take your £2,000 a month to Barbados and splash it on a 4 bed (three bathroom), property in Christ Church. Cavernous rooms and a garage aren’t even the best bit: it’s got a pool (the landlord covers all the running costs).
Budget: £2,500 a month
East Dulwich vs Barbados
Boasting laminate flooring throughout, this Victorian terrace in East Dulwich sits in a cul de sac just off Dog Kennel hill. With three double rooms, it’s a snip at £2,500.
Alternatively, you can opt for a spotless two level, 5,000 square foot apartment, overlooking the sea with a glorious view from the full length terrace, the flat is built into a cliff face. Like a Bond villain.
Budget: £3,000 a month
Barnes vs Barbados
Set in an area of Barnes dubbed, somewhat hopefully, by estate agents as ‘Little Chelsea’, this three-bed terraced house has a modern kitchen, wooden floors and a little garden. It’s perfectly lovely. But it doesn’t really compare to its Barbados counterpart…
A ginormous mansion, including two pools, beautiful marble floored rooms, air conditioning, a pool deck and all the trappings of luxury that would make it the ideal place for WFHing. Sure, it ain’t no Barnes, but Barbs is far far more attractive.