Anna Ambroszkiewicz has a Polish passport but says the whole world is her home. She organizes her life so that she can live in different parts of the world for short periods of time. So she’s a “digital nomad”.
“You can go hiking during the day and go to work in the afternoon or evening,” says Ambroszkiewicz, a travel blogger now based in the small town of Bansko in Bulgaria’s mountainous region.
Ambroszkiewicz was intrigued when he heard that the Canadian government would issue a visa specifically for digital nomads. She has heard about Canada’s rich natural beauty from other digital nomads, she says.
“I really want to go to Canada. I want to go snowboarding in Canada.”
But a few things prevent her from packing to the Great White North. “I don’t think there’s much you can do about Canadian prices.”
A digital nomad is someone who does not have a fixed location and makes a living by working primarily online from a remote location of their choice. A digital nomad usually doesn’t stay in one place for months or he for more than a year.
Two weeks ago, Immigration Minister Sean Fraser introduced a series of measures to attract top talent in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math). As part of a broader strategy, Fraser said the federal government will issue special visas for digital nomads.
“[The digital nomad strategy]will allow people with foreign employers to come to Canada, work for up to six months, live in the country’s communities, and spend money in the country’s communities. , if they receive a job offer while they are here, we will allow them to stay and work in Canada,” he said.
But he didn’t go into too many details about how the program would work, such as taxes and whether nomads would be able to buy property.
A Canadian Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Service (IRCC) spokesperson told Global News that the agency is currently in the process of launching policies to promote Canada as a “destination of choice for digital nomads”. .
Global News confirmed that the IRCC is working with state and territory governments and other stakeholders to determine whether it would be beneficial to allow digital nomads to stay longer than six months.
They are also trying to determine the criteria that must be met in order to be considered for a digital nomad visa application, such as providing proof of private health insurance and meeting minimum income levels.
“In addition, we are evaluating whether other changes are necessary to ensure a clear process for applying for work permits from within Canada should digital nomads later decide to seek employment with Canadian employers. ‘, the spokesperson said. He said.
However, if Canada aims to bring digital nomads into the country, it will need to overcome several challenges.
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For example, what tax regime should apply to digital nomads?
Currently, if a visitor to Canada stays in Canada for 183 days, the traveler is classified as staying in Canada and is considered a Canadian resident for tax purposes.
Canadian Certified Public Accountant (CPA) Vice President John Oakey said international tax treaties are aimed at minimizing double taxation between the country of residence and the country of source of income.
Therefore, if someone has lived in Canada for less than 183 days, the Canadian government can only tax income derived from Canadian sources. But if digital nomads live here for more than six months, they will be obligated to pay the Canadian government all their global income.
“If they extend the person’s stay beyond 183 days, the person will be considered a resident of Canada and may raise tax issues. “Their original place of residence was Canada,” Oakey said.
Self-employed digital nomads like Ambroszkiewicz must pay taxes to the Canadian government if income from travel blogging is considered a source of income from Canada.
Since the income of persons in such positions cannot be withheld in the same way as for Canada-based employers, they must file their own taxes or be prepared and equipped to pursue undeclared taxes with the Canada Revenue Agency. must be arranged.
The government has also yet to clarify whether digital nomads will be allowed to own property in Canada.
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The Prohibition of Non-Canadian Purchase of Residential Property Act has recently placed restrictions on foreign buyers looking to purchase residential property in Canada.
Oakey said potential digital nomads should seek professional help and see if the government includes them in the list of people exempt from the law.
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As more Canadian communities struggle to secure housing for their residents and more people around the world look for more affordable housing options, the question of real estate and where to live is a pressing issue. It is possible that
Digital nomads Dominic Klopacek and Josephine Kramer are two examples. The couple met while backpacking through Europe and together they run a travel blog called Red White Adventures, named after the flags of both Denmark and Canada.
The couple have spent time traveling in Europe and are now also based in Bansko, Bulgaria. Their one-bedroom apartment costs about $425 in Canadian dollars, but Klopacek said the average rent in his hometown of Calgary this year was $2,008. July 2023 National Rent Ranking Report at Rentals.ca.
While the two were drawn to cheap housing abroad, there are also concerns that digital nomads could drive up real estate and rental prices in some Canadian communities.
Tofino, British Columbia is a popular tourist destination on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island.
But locals are now concerned about rising rents, arguing that digital nomads aren’t right for them.
“In fact, there is such a severe housing shortage for workers that it is very difficult to find a place to live, especially in the summer. I think it will be,” Jen Dart, executive director of the Tofino Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, told Global News.
Can Canada Attract Digital Nomads?
Canada is working to develop a plan for digital nomads, but some may still be reluctant to participate.
Life’s reliance on cars in Canada is factoring in, along with concerns about reliable public transportation options. Klopachek said it makes no sense for nomads to buy a car if they intend to live in the area for a short period of time.
“Here in Europe, we used to take buses everywhere.
What the program ends up with will determine whether it works for both the community and the Digital Nomads themselves.
Ambroszkiewicz said long-term visas would become more attractive to “slowmads”, herders who spend relatively long periods of time in each location.
Kramer said: “I think this new visa will be interesting. I think it will make Canada even more attractive to people knowing that nomads are welcome. It’s a big thing to think about.”
But Canada’s greatest advantage, she says, is its amazing natural beauty.
“Most people who come to Canada end up falling for Canada.”