Canada Unveils ‘Digital Nomad Strategy’ and Additional Initiatives to Attract Global Talent
Canada recently unveiled a strategy to attract global talent in the form of a “Digital Nomad Strategy” and additional initiatives. The strategy, announced by Immigration Minister Sean Fraser, targets so-called “digital nomads” in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields, as part of Canada’s effort to win the “global race” for high-skilled workers1.
The new Digital Nomad Strategy aims to encourage highly skilled workers in the tech sector, even those employed by foreign companies, to live and work in Canada for up to six months. This offers digital nomads the opportunity to live in Canadian communities, contribute to their economy, and potentially receive job offers that would allow them to stay and work in the country longer1.
In addition to this, Canada is launching a new dedicated pathway for permanent residents that specifically targets employees and workers in the STEM sector. The vision is to develop a stream for highly talented people from around the world who will be able to come to Canada and work for tech companies, irrespective of whether they have a job offer or not1.
As part of the strategy, from July 16, there will be a new stream allowing 10,000 H1B visa holders in the United States to come and work in Canada1. This move is aimed at capitalizing on the expertise and skills of these visa holders to foster growth and innovation in Canada.
Canada is also revising its startup visas program, which creates pathways to permanent residency for entrepreneurs who create companies that will hire Canadians. The program has previously underperformed due to design flaws, but the government aims to revamp it to reach its full potential1.
However, the strategy does not come without challenges. There has been a significant backlog in immigration applications due to the pandemic, which has created delays and hurdles in the immigration process1.
In addition to the Digital Nomad Strategy, Canada is also implementing significant measures to aid temporary foreign workers (TFWs). TFWs who hold valid work permits but no study permits will now be allowed to enroll in an educational institution without a limit on the length of the study program. This move aims to help TFWs develop their skills and seek better employment opportunities, all while contributing to Canada’s labor market1.
The initiatives are welcomed by many, including Nick Schiavo of the Canadian Council of Innovators, who believes that easing the pathway for highly skilled technology professionals will allow Canadian companies to hire more swiftly and move at the pace of business1.
Overall, these changes in Canada’s immigration strategy reflect the country’s shift towards embracing global digital nomadism and its determination to attract top-tier talent to bolster its technology sector.