A Guide to Canada’s Digital Nomad Visa

Canada’s newly launched digital nomad scheme will be music to any nomad’s ears. After all, Canada has consistently been a sought-after destination for relocation, and with good cause.

An ideal haven for remote workers, Canada boasts stunning landscapes and vibrant urban centres. In this captivating country, there’s plenty to see and do, especially for anyone who chooses to carry out their professional journey here.

While Canada doesn’t have a specific digital nomad visa, there are alternative options that can allow nomads to live and work in the country. So, for anybody contemplating this exciting move, here’s a comprehensive guide to Canada’s digital nomad initiatives.

What Is a Digital Nomad Visa?

A digital nomad is an individual who earns a living remotely through working online. Predictably, in today’s digital era, the global population of digital nomads has surged significantly. According to Demandsage, the count has reached a staggering 35 million worldwide in 2023.

Often the key to facilitating this lifestyle abroad is the Digital Nomad Visa, which permits remote workers to legally work outside their permanent country of residence.

Of course, not all countries provide such visas, and those that do may not explicitly refer to them as being for digital nomads. Each will also have varying legibility requirements so, when it comes to these visas, it’s safe that things aren’t always so black and white.

It is for this reason that thorough research of the options available to you is critical before even considering embarking on your digital nomad journey. One must always be safe, not sorry, when it comes to selecting the right destination for your new professional adventure.

Why Choose Canada as a Digital Nomad?

Canada is globally well-thought of as a destination to grow up, study, work, or simply travel in. After all, this is a country famous for its breathtaking landscapes, where activities such as skiing, hiking and wild swimming are available for the more adventurous, and, for those who prefer the comfort of the city, exciting cities are on offer to explore.

Beyond its obvious assets, Canada is a top destination for relocation for several reasons. According to NordLayer, Canada ranks 14th in the Global Remote Work Index 2023 in addition be being placed 3rd in economic safety globally.

Whilst the cost of living is comparatively higher than in other places (rent for a 1 bedroom flat in Toronto is around $2,243 for example, according to Wise), digital nomads may find this a price they’re willing to pay due to factors such as its excellent internet speed of 156 Mbps, plenty of co-working spaces and recreational activities that make sure you can have an enjoyable work-life balance.

Canadian Digital Nomad Visa Options

As mentioned, Canada doesn’t offer a specific digital nomad visa. However, there are still options available to digital nomads so that they can live and work in this beautiful country.

New Digital Nomad Visa

To begin with, let’s delve into Canada’s exciting news that a digital nomad visa will soon be available.

In July 2023, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser announced that digital nomads will soon be able to live and work in the country for up to 6 months in tech roles, according to Immigration.ca.

“We’re actually creating a pool of talent of people who will be able to stay in Canada in the long term,” said Immigration Minister Sean Fraser.

“When I think about the 10, 20 and even 30-year horizon, rather than the next few months or even the next election cycle, there’s no question in my mind that having more talent for tech entrepreneurs and professionals in this country is going to be a very good thing half a generation from now.”

This new Digital Nomad Scheme has been set up as a new initiative to attract international talent, specifically in the tech sector, to Canada’s shores. And, if they secure employment during their stay, they may extend their residency by applying for a temporary work permit or even a permanent residency.

To apply, applicants will need a valid passport and visitor visa or Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA), valid health insurance, and evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself, and any family members you bring, during your stay.

However, this scheme is not yet fully defined and operational. So, if that look of it takes your interest, be sure to keep an eye on any updates.

Startup Visa Programme

Canada’s Startup Visa Programme is a little different, and not specific to digital nomads. However, this does not mean it cannot be utilised by those pursuing the nomadic lifestyle.

Applying to this programme allows you to immigrate to Canada as an entrepreneur looking to launch a startup. Through this programme, not only does Canada increase its talent pool and get innovative businesses set up on its shores, but applicants get the opportunity to live in and launch a startup in this exciting country.

Any digital nomad who is looking to begin a startup may do so in Canada with this permit, given that they have an approved business idea and backing from an eligible organisation.

Open Work-Permit Stream

With an open work permit, digital nomads may work for any eligible employer that meets the programme conditions. While you typically need to pay for this permit and must comply with the strict restrictions, digital nomads may be able to work in Canada with an open work permit.

To see if you are eligible for an open-work permit, simply check the Canadian Government’s immigration website to see if your digital nomad lifestyle fits with this visa.

International Mobility Programme

Canada’s International Mobility Programme allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers on a Canda work permit. As long as the workers are open work permit holders, they may be hired by Canadian employers without the typical Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) fee being involved.

This immigration pathway is available to digital nomads who are hired by Canadian employers to work remotely in the country.