Although media attention often lands on would-be workers going in the other direction, Americans are increasingly setting up shop in Mexico, attracted by the vibrant culture, warmer weather and lower cost of living. Indeed, data from Mexico’s National Institute of Migration, first reported by Bloomberg, shows that temporary residential permits are up 85% so far this year compared to the same period in 2019.
Part of this phenomenon is likely explained by the rise of remote work. Becoming a digital nomad has become an increasingly-attractive prospect for workers, as we charted back in 2021 — a trend that Mexico is well-placed to capitalize on. In fact, Mexican officials are actively working to attract remote workers, teaming up with UNESCO and Airbnb to style the country’s capital as the place for remote work opportunities afforded by the new normal.
Although the permit numbers are rising, they are still small in absolute terms. However, that’s likely a vast undercount of the true number of Americans working in the country. On a tourist visa, Americans can work for up to 6 months, as long as they are paid outside of Mexico. Flight data shows that more than 10m Americans visited Mexico in the first 9 months of the year, 24% more than in 2019.
According to Tripadvisor 4 of the 5 most-desirable vacation locations for Americans are in Mexico — now the country is topping remote-work lists as well.