Canada's New Remote Work Visa Is Calling On Digital Nomads To Move Abroad

If you've always wanted to know what it's like to live in Canada but are held back because of visa-related concerns, the maple country will soon be offering a visa to digital nomads who want to put down their roots — at least temporarily.

Responding to Canada's labor shortage, especially skilled workers, the government has announced its plans to lower its barrier to entry in an effort to lure highly-skilled professionals and get them to stay. Canada's "digital nomad strategy" aims to encourage professionals working for foreign employers to come to Canada, and even seek employment from Canadian companies. "We expect that some digital nomads who initially enter Canada to work remotely will decide to seek opportunities with Canadian employers," the Canadian government wrote in a news release. "When they receive a job offer from a Canadian company, they would be able to bring their skills to a Canadian employer by applying for a temporary work permit or even permanent residence." Even if they don't end up finding permanent employment in Canada, at the very least, those workers "spend money in communities in this country," the immigration minister at the time, Sean Fraser, explained to CBC News.

It should be noted, though, that the scheme is mainly targeted towards folks in the tech industry, but any remote worker should be able to apply. Don't expect to spend years in Canada, though, as the visa is reportedly only valid for half a year at most. And you definitely don't want to overstay your visa.

Canada's remote work visa has a validity of six months

It should be noted that Canada is already pretty welcoming to immigrants. Programs like Express Entry for Skilled Workers offer a more streamlined way for workers to move to and work in Canada. This new digital nomad program is even more enticing, offering people who land a job with a Canadian employer a fast and easy way to remain in the country beyond the six month visa. What's more, a representative for the Immigration Refugees and Citizenship Canada told Business Insider that they have also "begun consulting provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders on whether allowing a stay of longer than six months would be beneficial and what sort of criteria would need to be met."

Canada hopes to launch its digital nomad visa initiative by the end of 2023. However, Masha Sutherlin, the director of global corporate legal and mobility at digital HR platform Deel, told CNBC that when the program launches, you may expect a long wait time. "Just because a country announces a visa or program for digital nomads, doesn't mean they've figured out how to process these applications in a timely manner," she noted. "Digital nomad visas are brand new, and a lot of countries underestimated the resources they'd need to process the high volume of applications they attract.

Other countries you can explore as a digital nomad

If you're waiting for Canada to work the kinks out of its digital nomad visa process, you can explore other countries for the time being. There is a growing list of nations welcoming digital nomads with open arms, although many of them have a minimum salary requirement.

If you want to temporarily live in Europe, Greece is offering digital nomad visas with a validity of up to one year, with a possibility of turning it into a residency permit, but your minimum monthly income needs to be €3,500 or roughly $3,900. Spain, on the other hand, has a slightly lower minimum monthly income requirement, only €2,334 or around $2,600. If you want to explore Asia and the Middle East, Malaysia is offering digital nomads a one-year pass, and your annual income has to be at least $24,000. Meanwhile, Dubai's virtual working program allows digital nomads to stay up to one year, and your monthly salary has to be at least $3,500.

Should you decide to work in any country that offers a digital nomad visa, you should keep in mind that you must not work for a company affiliated with that country. Otherwise, your application can potentially be rejected, and you'll end up wasting time, effort, and money. With the increasing number of nations launching remote working programs, though, you shouldn't find it tough to find a country that you'll thrive in, at least for a little while.