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Wanted: Digital nomads

Remote working art

They will come … if you open the door, and Canadian Immigration Minister Sean Fraser plans to do just that. At a tech conference in Toronto on Tuesday, he announced two plans to make it easier for highly sought-after specialized workers to move north — which looks like a talent raid on the United States.

Fraser announced that Canada will make it possible for “digital nomads” to work in Canada for up to six months – even if their employers are elsewhere. He also announced plans to invite H-1B visa holders in the US to work in Canada for up to three years. This means highly skilled foreign workers who have already been vetted by the US government will have the option to move to Canada, where they and their immediate family members will be welcome, an apparent attempt to lure educated workers north.

The news made headlines in India, the source of many skilled STEM workers in both Canada and the United States. Fraser also promised to lay out details later this year to open Canada to “some of the world's most talented people” with a third stream for specialized workers.

While American politicians face political upheaval over immigration thanks to highly partisan views over what happens at the US-Mexico border, Canada is trying to capitalize on its more open attitudes toward newcomers to attract skilled workers. Trudeau’s government has successfully boosted immigration without much political blowback – in fact, in the first three months of the year, Canada welcomed more than 145,000 immigrants, the highest number since 1972.


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