Housing can be expensive, but some places pay for you to live there


We’ve all seen the headlines, “Get paid to live on this idyllic island…”. As people increasingly look for affordable accommodation, these offers could be tempting.

The latest scheme on offer is giving one lucky person the chance to live in Cancun, Mexico, getting paid $10,000 a month plus expenses while basically being on holiday for six months. The job title is CEO – Cancun Experience Offer – and the employee will be responsible for generating videos, social media posts and blog posts.

To give visitors to the Cancun.com website a taste of the city, the job will involve testing out all the best tourist attractions – climbing a pyramid, swimming with a shark, sleeping on beaches, eating and drinking the local cuisine.

The only other requirement will be that the employee must stay in Cancun uninterrupted from March to August 2018 – the perfect gap year opportunity. But relocating isn’t something to be taken lightly.

“The move itself could be one of the most stressful changes in life,” says Marjie Terry of Great on the Job. “Even if you’re super excited about the new position or company, moving is still complicated.”

Fake news

The reason Cancun and many other cities are offering these too-good-to-be-true job posts is often part of an aggressive marketing campaign to attract more tourists to the areas.

In one controversial case this year, Italian mayor Daniele Galliano of Liguria suggested a 2,000 euro bonus for relocation bonus as part of a “small village fund”, whose population was dwindling. The media ran with the idea and it went viral, becoming a promise to offer the fee to anyone who moved to the hamlet, and the council received 17,000 enquiries from around the world.

The mayor had to take to Facebook to put the issue to bed, saying: “The news has been reported incorrectly and reached a worldwide audience. Italy is a wonderful country but, like others, it is in economic crisis… Unfortunately it is not possible to find help for everyone. Thanks anyway for your interest.”

No free lunch

Despite the headlines implying that relocation is all one big holiday, it’s true there’s no such thing as a free lunch. Often the reason the local authorities are paying someone to live in a place is because no one else wants to.

For example, in Alaska, residents are paid around $1,000 a year just for living there, but there is a long list of requirements to qualify for the money, including being a resident for a full calendar year and having the intention to remain an Alaskan for life.

And in Queensland, Australia, a post marketed as the “best job in the world” – getting paid $100,000 explore Hamilton island while posting blogs, photo diaries and video updates – was described as “the world’s busiest job” by the previous employee. It started with him conducting 124 interviews in the first day as he was thrown in at the deep end, and visited 60 islands in six months.

“I’d always familiarise myself by going for a run around the island in the early morning,” said Ben. “Then during the day I’d do whatever the tourism board offered – and I’d be out for dinner with a GM. Then I’d come back start writing the blog, editing videos and would go to bed around 11pm or midnight.”

The Tourism Queensland chief Anthony Hayes denied the job was just a publicity stunt for the area.

“Yes this is part of a unique Tourism Queensland strategy to promote the islands of the Great Barrier Reef internationally, but candidates will have to go through a genuine recruitment process,” he said.

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Housing can be expensive, but some places pay for you to live there


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