Do you want to come to Canada as a digital nomad?

Julia Hornstein
Published: October 13, 2023

In June, Canada announced the launch of the Tech Talent Strategy. Part of the strategy was to promote Canada as a destination for digital nomads. A digital nomad is a person who can perform their job remotely from anywhere in the world.

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Under current Canadian immigration rules, a digital nomad only needs visitor status to relocate to Canada for up to six months at a time while they perform their job remotely for a foreign employer.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) has said that in the coming months, they will collaborate with public and private partners to determine whether additional policies to attract digital nomads would be desirable.

IRCC expects that some digital nomads who initially enter Canada to work remotely will decide to seek job opportunities with Canadian employers. If they receive a job offer from a Canadian company, they can bring their skills to a Canadian employer by applying for a temporary work permit or even Canadian permanent residence.

What is the application process?

The Canadian government has not released much information on the application process. However, since these digital nomads only need visitor status to relocate to Canada for up to six months, they would simply need to enter the country as a visitor.

If you are a digital nomad or remote worker, you can apply for a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV). A TRV is required for foreign nationals who are not from a visa-exempt country.

Your application will need to disclose information that would convince the deciding officer that your remote work is not captured under Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulation’s (IRPR) definition of work.

The definition is as follows: “work” means an activity for which wages are paid or commission is earned, or that is in direct competition with the activities of Canadian citizens or permanent residents in the Canadian labour market.”

Essentially, the digital nomad or domestic worker would need to demonstrate that their remote work does not take an opportunity away from a Canadian or permanent resident. Standard application requisites would be included in an application, such as proof of financials.

On the other hand, if you are from a visa-exempt country, you can apply for an Electronic Travel Authorization (ETA). ETA- eligible applicants would disclose that they intend to work remotely for their employer.

In both situations, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) makes a decision at the Canadian border entry point and has the discretion to determine how long you can stay in Canada. If CBSA approves your entry, you may work remotely in Canada without having to secure a Canadian work permit.

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