Canada’s new digital nomad program has entered the global chat.
Canada has recently launched an innovative Digital Nomad Program to attract skilled workers and combat the ongoing tech labour shortage. This program aims to lure H-1B visa holders from the United States and remote workers worldwide to work in Canada.
With over 30 countries worldwide creating similar Digital Nomad Programs, including Spain, Portugal, Croatia, Georgia, and many others, Canada is looking to make its imprint on the global stage by designing a program that helps enshrine the country as a world leader in a variety of emerging technologies.
Why is Canada doing this now?
The pandemic undoubtedly changed everything concerning how we work and live. Even in the years prior, with Canada losing top tech talent to our neighbours to the south and overseas, the Canadian government realized they needed to up the ante in the global talent race by actively targeting skilled foreign workers who can work remotely. This new program will directly address the tech labor shortage that has been a slow drain over the last few years.
Here are a few of the key reasons why:
- Create a talent pool for the long-term: The ultimate goal is to lure highly-skilled workers who will stay in Canada long-term and strengthen our workforce.
- The country’s tech industry is facing a severe labor shortage: This program aims to address that.
- Reversing brain drain: We’ve all seen this before. Highly educated people leave the country to work elsewhere for greater financial opportunities.
The Importance of Attracting H-1B Visa Tech Workers from the U.S.
Did you know Canada loses about 0.7% of its population to the U.S. annually?
According to Randstad Canada, these skilled workers in tech and finance move to the United States seeking higher-paid opportunities they aren’t getting in Canada.
The Canadian government has set up this new work permit stream to target H-1B visa holders in the United States specifically. The program allows experienced tech workers with a foreign employer to live in Canada for up to six months, live and spend money in communities in this country. If they receive a job offer while living in Canada, they have the ability to continue to stay and work here.
A recent Forbes article states that:
“During the first six months living in Canada, American expats working for U.S. companies are only subject to taxes in the U.S., thanks to Canada’s so-called “183 days rule,” which allows foreign expats working for foreign employers to stay six months in a given year without paying Canadian taxes.”
What’s Involved in This Program?
Canada’s commitment to digital nomads showcases its openness to embracing the changing work landscape and providing a welcoming environment for remote professionals. The application process is straightforward, and participants can benefit from a two-year stay in Canada while continuing their remote work.
“This visa measure will remain in effect for one year, or until the Canadian government receives 10,000 applications. Only the applicant will count towards the 10,000 caps, not any additional family members.”
- The initial digital nomad visa will support stays for up to six months long. However, digital nomads can also “apply for a temporary work permit and stay in Canada for an additional three years” if they land a job with a Canadian employer.
- Participants must have a stable income, be employed by a foreign company, own a business, and demonstrate that their work is primarily conducted outside Canada.
- Spouses and dependents of participants also have access to work permits.
- The application process is straightforward and can be completed online. However, there might be delays in volume.
- The program has a validity of up to two years, allowing participants to experience Canadian life.
- Participants must earn a minimum income of $30,000 per year.
- Workers can obtain an open work permit not tied to a specific employer.
This removes much of the red tape that typically slows down Canadian immigration.
Canada’s Digital Nomad Visa Will be a Gamechanger for the Tech Space
Canada’s Digital Nomad Program presents excellent opportunities for remote workers seeking stability, a high standard of living, and access to quality healthcare in a new country. It outlines that the program allows eligible individuals and their families to obtain work permits, providing participants access to social services so workers and their families can explore the diversity and beauty of Canada during their stay.
What About Health Insurance?
While Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has rolled out several ways to help make Canada a destination of choice for digital nomads, the new program doesn’t go into specifics to determine what tax scheme will be in a place or the criteria someone must provide about proof of private health insurance. To attract new talent to come and live and work here, a Canadian employer needs to have some kind of provincial healthcare replacement ready for workers and their families.
Book a call and talk to us today to ensure your cross-border strategy is ready to handle this new wave of tech talent.