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IRCC (Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada) provides clarification on the criteria for foreign nationals intending to come to Canada as digital nomads

Canada as digital nomads

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In a policy update released on January 30, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has provided clarification on specific details pertinent to individuals interested in working as digital nomads in Canada.

According to IRCC, a digital nomad is defined as a person “who can carry out their job duties remotely from any location in the world.”

IRCC further emphasizes that digital nomads are individuals who “require only visitor status to move to Canada for a maximum duration of 6 months at a time, during which they can fulfill their job responsibilities remotely.” Additionally, these digital nomads may engage in work either “for a foreign employer” or be self-employed, working independently or providing services to clients located outside of Canada.

Can digital nomads apply for a work permit?

IRCC outlines that foreign nationals have the option to initially enter Canada to engage in remote work as digital nomads using a visitor visa. However, they are allowed to pursue a work permit “if they secure a Canadian employer after their entry.”

IRCC also emphasizes that if a digital nomad expresses the intention to seek employment with a Canadian employer, it is important to advise them that obtaining a work permit is a prerequisite before commencing work for such an employer.

As indicated by the policy announcement, if a digital nomad identifies a Canadian employer willing to hire them, the subsequent step involves applying for a work permit.

Do I need any additional documentation to enter Canada as a digital nomad?

Foreign nationals entering Canada under visitor status as digital nomads do not need any supplementary documentation, but they must still demonstrate to the immigration officer that they intend to depart at the conclusion of their authorized stay.

Can family members of a digital nomad work or study in Canada?

As per the policy announcement from January 30 by IRCC, family members of digital nomads who plan to work or study in Canada are eligible to do so and are encouraged to apply for a corresponding work permit or study permit.

Canada’s tech talent strategy

On June 27 of the previous year, IRCC unveiled a tech talent strategy with the aim of drawing global tech expertise to Canada, recognizing the sector’s significance to the Canadian economy.

In addition to positioning Canada as an appealing destination for digital nomads, the strategy comprised several initiatives, including a forthcoming innovation stream within the International Mobility Program (IMP), which was anticipated to be introduced by the end of 2023 but has not been announced yet.

The innovation stream is designed to be exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) process, intending to facilitate employers and workers in supporting Canada’s tech industry priorities.

Furthermore, IRCC introduced a streamlined work permit for H1-B specialty occupation visa holders, reaching the cap of 10,000 permits for the year on July 16, 2023.

The department also committed to enhancing existing tech programs such as the Global Skills Strategy, which enables Canadian employers hiring foreign workers in specific information technology roles to benefit from expedited LMIA processing.

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