Digital nomad visas expand as Spain, Canada vie for global talent

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MADRID – Considering remote working from overseas? Join the growing segment of untethered persons.

In the United States alone, 17.3 million Americans, 11 per cent of the workforce, now identify as digital nomads.

That is an increase of 2 per cent from 2022, according to the August 2023 report from US workforce management company MBO Partners.

Another 70 million are either planning to become digital nomads over the next two to three years or are considering it. 

Consequently the list of attractive destinations cutting red tape and offering remote work visa schemes is getting longer.

It includes more locations in the Global North, as industrialised nations are often described. That’s because the competition is for long-term talent, not temporary tourists.

As of 2023, Spain’s residency visa is open to “international teleworkers”, which allows digital nomads to live in the country for a period of up to a year while they work remotely for an employer based outside of Spain. You can apply at a Spanish embassy or consulate in your home country.

If you are already in Spain on a tourist visa, you can submit an application for a residency card as a digital nomad that will be valid for three years, and renewable for two.

Spain’s one-year remote work visa is open to non-European Union citizens.

The requirements include an income of at least double Spain’s minimum wage – more than €2,600 (S$3,800) a month – no criminal record and private health insurance.

The processing period takes 20 days.

Canada, which has long welcomed digital nomads for stays of up to six months while on a visitor visa, announced it is working on a new “tech talent strategy” to attract foreign workers by the end of this year.

The government is consulting with provinces and territories to find ways to promote Canada to digital nomads.

Ottawa is working on allowing startups to apply for work permits of up to three years. 

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