The digital age has brought along many technological advances and allows people worldwide to stay connected and in communication. A new trend is for workers to work remotely from home or work from anywhere they can access the internet. While many more businesses allow employees to work from home, some businesses allow workers to work remotely from anywhere. Plus, many freelancers, entrepreneurs and business owners want to become a digital nomad and work from anywhere. The flexibility and autonomy are unmatched and allow you to be there for all of life's special moments while still keeping employment.
Technology allows many people to work virtually anywhere that has an internet connection, and that has led to many digital nomads moving to other countries looking for excitement and adventure, while maintaining their employment and income source. In 2020, the growth rate for freelancers was 45% in Canada alone. While Canada does not yet have a digital nomad visa like many other countries implemented during the global pandemic to attract remote workers, there are several opportunities to work as a digital nomad in Canada.
The type of remote worker visa foreigners need to live and work in Canada depends on whether they want to stay in Canada for a short time or for a longer period, or even permanently.
Is There A Canadian Digital Nomad Visa?
Foreigners who work remotely from their home, a coffee shop or a co-working space in Canada are known as digital nomads. They can work from any corner of the world as long as they can keep up with the time difference and responsibilities of their job. While many digital nomads think all you need is a passport, there are other considerations since a tourist visa is only valid for a six-month stay in Canada and does not technically allow you to work remotely.
Although nearly 50 countries worldwide have implemented a digital nomad visa since the start of the pandemic, a Canadian digital nomad visa does not currently exist. But, there are many digital nomad visa alternatives and immigration programs in Canada that allow digital nomads to live and work in Canada as a remote worker.
Living in Canada as a digital nomad is popular for:
- spouses of foreign workers in Canada on a temporary work permit
- remote workers who want to experience living in Canada for an extended amount of time
- freelancers and entrepreneurs who enjoy travelling the globe and experiencing different cultures
Using a Self-Employment Visa
The self-employment visa program may be a good route to becoming a remote worker in Canada if you want to stay in Canada for over 6 months. If you want to permanently move to Canada with a remote job, there are programs that don’t require a Canadian job offer under the Express Entry system and are known as the Federal Skilled Worker Program and the Federal Skilled Trade Program. A Canadian immigration lawyer can help you determine if you meet the requirements to get accepted into the program, such as a minimum of two years of experience in your current field and be fluent in English and/or French.
While age is not a requirement, those between 18 and 35 have a higher chance of getting a self-employment visa. If you are moving with your family, you will all undergo a medical examination, biometrics tests and police certificates.
Temporary Work Permit
If you are hired by a Canadian business with a temporary work permit but are also a remote worker, you can move to Canada with a remote job. The fact that your job is remote should not have a negative impact on your visa or immigration application, provided you have a valid job offer form a Canadian employer and meet all the other requirements for your visa.
A Startup Visa
Another program digital nomads may qualify to use to become a remote worker in Canada is the startup visa program. The program is meant for entrepreneurs who are immigrating from another country. The requirements for the program are different from the self-employment visa, but some do overlap. You will need superior English and/or French language skills, which are a requirement that slightly overlaps with many of these programs.
As a remote worker in Canada on a Startup Visa, you also need an angel investor or other entity willing to invest in your business. Since it is a means for startup businesses who want to permanently live in Canada, you will also need to have the intention to start a business and provide employment to others.
Additionally, you must be able to support yourself when moving and living in Canada financially. There is no assistance for your moving or living expenses. Depending on your business, you may need to invest $200,000 or more into your startup.
Entrepreneur Provincial Nomination Programs
Many Canadian provinces have entrepreneur programs similar to the startup visa program, based on local labour needs and the local economy. Depending on the Entrepreneur Provinicial Nominee Program (PNP), there may be investing, hiring and other requirements. The net worth requirement is also another complication. Few digital nomads are willing to apply for this program, but it is available for qualifying circumstances.
As a digital nomad, access to the internet is vital. Canada has top internet services, so many remote technology workers - known as TechPats - want to temporarily live and work in Canada. Canada wants skilled tech workers, and TechPats often need legal assistance with intellectual property and other business needs.
Taxes for Digital Nomads
As a digital nomad, you typically must file taxes in your home country, even while working remotely in Canada. Canada does not require taxes for people who do not live, take up residence and are not physically in the country for 183 days in one year. If you are in Canada over 183 days, then you will need to pay Canadian taxes. Depending on specific cases, you may need to file taxes in both countries. You should discuss these concerns with a Canadian immigration lawyer.
Health Care While Working as a Canadian Digital Nomad
Travel insurance should not be the primary source of your healthcare needs while working in Canada as a remote worker. Your legal and residence status can change, and it is best to have health insurance that covers your needs regardless of where you are in the world.
Are You A Remote Worker Who Wants A Canadian Digital Nomad Visa?
Ackah Law is Here to Help
Canada has many opportunities for remote workers but does not have a digital nomad visa - yet. Depending on whether you want to stay in Canada for a short time or for a longer period, an experienced immigration lawyer can help you determine the best visa opportunity for your goals.
Ackah Business Immigration Law is a full-service immigration law firm for business and individual immigration and has offices in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Contact Ackah Law today at (403) 452-9515 or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.