Work From Anywhere In Space

GME Conference Panel with John Lee

Can you work from anywhere in space?

And if so, which planet would you choose to work from?

If one of your employees request to work from anywhere in space, how would you handle this from a talent mobility perspective?

These were some of the issues John recently spoke about during the Global Mobility Executive event in London a few weeks ago hosted by Siobhan Cummins with fellow panelists Nadine Goldfoot from Fragomen, Sola Osinoiki from Prosus and Kate Fitzpatrick from Mercer.

Intergalactic Global Mobility

It might seem a bit far fetched, but the world of work is changing faster than many of us ever expected and it might not be too long before we move global mobility from international experience to intergalactic experience.

So how could that future look? 

From a practical perspective, Sola Osinoiki talked about how space exploration has been look at how you can 3D print organs in space

There was also some reflections on the immigration status of astronauts which as you can imagine could be quite complex.

But then let’s say, just for a moment, that there was life on planets.  And those lifeforms did not want to wipe humankind out.  Would it be possible then to design Intergalactic Digital Nomad Visas?

Inter Planetary Digital Nomads

Barbados generated $100m of tourism revenue from their digital nomad visa way back in 2022 but what if, in 100 years from now, Venus generated $200 trillion of tourism revenue from their digital nomad visa?  Their 0% income tax rate would prove, like Barbados, quite attractive but then you’d have to make sure to bring your sunscreen with temperatures hitting 464°C.

For those space explorers looking for a ski workation, you might want to consider a trip to Neptune which is -200°C.  A good paid of thermals would be strongly advised.

AI Generated Photo of Working from Space
Image attribution: Generated with Dall-E mini by Craiyon

A trip to Mars will take about seven months and about 480 million km, but one of the issues would be what happens to your residency during your trip between Mars and Earth?  

Home Planet Tax Residency

From a tax point of view, the home planet would claim the residency but to complicate matters further, what happens if you go into hypersleep for the trip and you’re not actually conscious?  If you do need to trigger payroll withholding during hypersleep, Vialto and Certino have introduced some shadow payroll solutions that might be worth a look. But if you hypersleep trip is over 100 years then you’ll need to make sure the technology company exists by the time you arrive, unless of course time travel technology solutions are invented in the meantime.

Continuing along the tax conversation, another challenge is if your earth based entity buys a rocket for you assignee in Saturn, which has introduced the economic employer approach, there’s a risk that this will trigger permanent establishment, so that’s one to watch out for.

Permanent Establishment on Uranus

However rather than run away from Permanent Establishment risk, some companies are running towards it by setting up entities in Uranus which has a 0% corporation tax rate, but then nobody lives there yet, so we’ll have to see how that one plays out.

Galaxy Employers of Record

An emerging solution we’re seeing some companies explore are Intergalactic Employers of Record in Mars (see a recent Benivo show here to learn more). Many people are not sure how and when to use these, but one of the innovative ways companies have been using them is to park people in Mars using an Employer of Record while they’re waiting for the right work visa in Pluto.  Talent mobility leaders are leading the way in understanding when (and when not) to use Intergalactic Employers of Record.

In our Work From Anywhere White Paper earlier this year, it was clear that the world of global mobility still has a soft spot for excel with over half of respondents indicating they use excel to manage remote work requests.

Just think about this for a second.  That might be doable with 200 countries, but now imagine processing Double Taxation Treaty lookups in a universe with over 2 trillion galaxies? Needless to say, the need for technology automation would prove to be more and more pressing. 

For those of you who still have a soft spot for excel you’ll be glad to hear excel now has the ability to process 2 trillion rows which will no doubt come as a great relief to many.

In the meantime, for those of you looking beyond excel, feel free to reach out to us and we’d be happy to chat through how we see the future of work and talent mobility.

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John Lee Co-founder Work From Anywhere

John Lee

John is Co-founder of the Work From Anywhere team, a platform to help companies execute a hire or work from anywhere strategy.  John is a Chartered Accountant who speaks 6 languages and was previously the senior finance leader of a €4 billion division of FTSE-listed CRH Plc.  John and his family are passionate about travelling and his eldest daughter, Rosa, while only 5 years old has already travelled to 25 different countries.

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