The Hustle

Everyone wants to pay you to leave the Bay Area

More localities are rolling out stipends for remote workers. But good luck getting one.


June 23, 2020

Thinking of moving to greener pastures? A who’s who of overlooked cities will Venmo you a little something something if you pick them.

Over the last year, Topeka, Tulsa, northwestern Alabama, and the entire state of Vermont have lured tech workers with stipends of $5k to $10k.

And now that Big Tech is embracing remote work forever, more communities are tossing their checks into the ring. Last month, Savannah, Georgia announced it will dish out up to $2k for moving expenses to a select class of remote tech workers.

Meet your municipal patrons 

These locations have a few things in common: Many have seen their populations fall, and they’re betting that ponying up a bit of cash will widen their appeal.

The startup MainStreet offers $10k to Bay Area workers who will move into its brick-and-mortar offices in Sacramento or Salt Lake City.

The offers are even going international:  The tiny country of Estonia is handing over ~1.8k digital nomad visas to freelancers and remote workers.

But you’d have better luck getting into Stanford

In its first year, Tulsa Remote — a program offering a $10k stipend — accepted only 1% of its 10k applicants.

One reason: Despite the hype, these remote-work programs remain tiny.

At their current size, these programs won’t solve the population woes of the localities offering them — or make big-city expats rich. But considering how much moving companies are making right now, a few extra Gs is nothing to sneeze at.

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