Only 21 travellers visited under previous rules
The British Overseas territory of Montserrat shut its borders to travellers at the start of the pandemic in March 2020.
When it reopened in April 2021, it was only to those who were prepared to sign up to its remote worker scheme, necessitating the abovementioned minimum salary for the main applicant and a minimum length stay of two months.
Unlike other digital nomad visa schemes launched during the pandemic, Montserrat’s was hard to get accepted onto – just 21 people from seven families made the cut.
“They’re very selective in who they let in,” David Cort, a sociology professor at the University of Massachusetts who signed up for the scheme for three months with his wife and daughter, told the New York Times.
“I was told that they actually turned people down.”
But from 1 October, the island is dropping its eligibility criteria, allowing in all vaccinated tourists with no minimum stay required.
However, they must still undergo a five-day quarantine and take a PCR test on day four of their visit to be released.
Unvaccinated travellers will be allowed in only if they apply for the remote work visa, which entails a two-week quarantine on arrival.
The previous visa-only scheme helped keep Montserrat almost free from coronavirus – as of 15 September, just 33 people had tested positive throughout the entire pandemic – but some locals think it could have been made available to more tourists.
“I don’t think that was the best choice,” Andrew Myers, who owns a scuba shop, said of the decision to set the minimum salary requirement so high.