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Canada Digital Nomad Visa Alternatives

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in How To Move To Canada

Canada Digital Nomad Visa Alternatives

Canada's new digital nomad visa is expected to launch by the end of 2023. Canada is looking for ways to attract tech workers and other skilled foreign workers from around the world, and one of their plans is to let people with jobs in other countries work in Canada for up to six months as remote workers, also known as digital nomads. If a remote foreign worker gets a job offer while they're in Canada, they can stay and work there. For remote workers and digital nomads, access to the internet is vital. Canada has top internet services, which is why so many remote technology workers - known as TechPats - want to temporarily live and work in Canada.

Until the launch of Canada's digital nomad visa, there are alternative options for remote foreign workers and TechPats to live and work in Canada.


Alternatives to Canada Digital Nomad Visa

If you want to move to Canada now, here are 3 alternatives to a Canada Digital Nomad Visa. An experienced immigration lawyer can evaluate your case and situation to advise you on your best options to live and work in Canada as a remote worker.

1. Working Holiday IEC Visa

The Working Holiday IEC program is an international agreement with Canada and 34 other countries for young adults aged 18 to 35 to work and travel abroad for up to 2 years to gain work experience and improve their English and French skills.

Facts About Canada's Working Holiday IEC Visa:

  • To apply for a Canada IEC Working Holiday Visa, you must first create an account on the IRCC website and submit your application during the application period, which typically opens in the late fall or early winter. If your application is successful, you will be invited to apply for a visa. You can book your visa appointment at any time, but it is best to book early in the year to increase your chances of getting a visa.
  • To be eligible for the IEC program, you must be between the ages of 18 and 30-35, depending on your nationality. You must also have no criminal convictions in the past five years. The cost of the IEC work permit is CAD $161, plus CAD $85 for the biometrics appointment and other fees. You will also need to show that you have CAD $2,500 in support funds, unless you are a citizen of the United States. You are also required to have proof of health insurance for the entire duration of your working holiday visa.
  • The processing time for the IEC Working Holiday Visa is typically 6 weeks. Processing starts once you have submitted all required documents, including biometrics. The duration of the IEC work permit is 12-24 months, depending on your nationality.

2. Visitor Visa

Foreigners on a Visitor Visa to Canada can now apply for a work permit that lasts for two years if they have a valid job offer from a Canadian employer while they are in Canada on a Visitor Visa. This exemption has been extended until February 28, 2025, according to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Previously, a foreigner in Canada on a Visitor Visa who received a valid job offer was required to leave Canada to apply for a work permit. IRCC changed the Visitor Visa requirements to address Canada's ongoing labour shortage.

To qualify for a work permit from within Canada on a Visitor Visa, foreign nationals must:

  • Be a visitor in Canada with valid status on the day you apply.
  • Have a job offer from a Canadian employer that is supported by a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or is exempt from an LMIA.
  • Submit an application for an employer-specific Canadian work permit by February 28, 2025.
  • Meet all other standard admissibility criteria.

3. LMIA Exempt Visa

Most jobs for Express Entry require your employer to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). However, some jobs are exempt from this requirement.

You may be exempt from LMIA for Express Entry if your current temporary job is LMIA-exempt. Your employer does not need an LMIA if:

  • You have been working full-time for the employer on a work permit for at least one year (or the equivalent amount of part-time work).
  • You have a valid job offer from the employer.
  • You have a valid work permit that is exempt from an LMIA under an international agreement, a federal-provincial agreement, or the "Canadian interests" category.

Jobs that may qualify for LMIA exempt visas include:

  • International agreements like CETA, UK CANADA, CUSMA or GATS, and non-trade agreements. This can include professionals, traders and investors.
  • Agreements between Canada and a province or territory. This includes “significant investment” projects.
  • Jobs exempt from an LMIA for "Canadian interests" reasons include those that provide a significant benefit to Canada in social, cultural or economic terms. This can include jobs in the following categories:
    • Self-employed engineers, technical workers, creative and performing artists, etc.
    • Workers transferred within a company (intra-company transferees with specialized knowledge), especially those who will bring their skills and experience to benefit Canada.
    • Workers under the Mobilité francophone program.
    • Workers under reciprocal employment agreements, which allow foreign workers to get jobs in Canada when Canadians have similar opportunities in other countries.
    • Workers in general categories, such as professional coaches and athletes working for Canadian teams.
    • Participants in the International Experience Canada program, a work abroad program for youth and young professionals.
    • People in exchange programs, such as professors and visiting lecturers.
    • Jobs designated by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
    • Academics, including researchers, guest lecturers, and visiting professors (sponsored through a recognized federal program).
    • Jobs that promote competitiveness and public policy.
    • Medical residents and fellows.
    • Post-doctoral fellows and people who have won academic awards from Canadian schools.
    • Charity and religious work (excluding volunteers).

Learn More About Canada Digital Nomad Visas and Other Immigration Initiatives:


Are You A Remote Worker Who Wants To Live and Work In Canada?

Ackah Business Immigration Law and Evelyn Ackah, an award-winning immigration lawyer recognized for her exceptional skill in preemptively resolving immigration issues, has established a strong reputation for her unwavering commitment to assisting clients in realizing their aspirations of living and working in Canada.

Ackah Business Immigration Law has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver to help clients move to new opportunities in Canada. To get in touch with Ackah Law, contact us at (587) 404-5692 or send an email directly to contact@ackahlaw.com.

Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

Founder/Managing Lawyer

Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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