Moving to Canada

Canada is one of the most popular destinations for expats moving from Britain, but such a significant move abroad requires planning and research. Find out important information about moving internationally and starting a new life in Canada.

Moving to Canada

From the Rocky Mountains of B.C to the Old Quarter of Montreal, the bustling financial district of Toronto to the quaint fishing villages of Newfoundland – Canada is a country home to a diverse, multicultural landscape. If you are considering moving to Canada, you can expect welcoming attitudes, a great quality of life, and plenty of opportunity in the Great White North.

If you have decided on an international move to Canada, the best time to do so is during the spring or summer, as ice, snow and cold temperatures can make the physical move tough in the winter. We can help you find a professional international removal company to ship your belongings to your new home in Canada.

Why Canada?

There are many reasons why thousands of people move to Canada each year, including exceptional (and free) health care, a great education system, a strong economy and housing market, and national pastimes that include hockey, ice skating and just about anything else that can be done in the snow!
 
Of course, one of the biggest preconceptions about moving to Canada is that freezing temperatures affect the country all year round – but that’s not the case. Throughout most of Canada, the temperature in the winters does tend to plummet, but the infrastructure throughout means that life can carry on pretty much as usual.

How to get a Canadian Visa

Immigrating to Canada independently - without sponsorship or security of a job - is based on a points system. You can achieve a maximum of 67 points, accrued through six criteria. The higher your points, the better the chances of you receiving a visa.

The selection factors are: 

  • Education (25 points) – The academic level and time spent in full-time education will determine how many points you’re awarded.
  • Language proficiency (24 points) – Being fluent in English or French will help you achieve a maximum of 24 points.
  • Work Experience (21 points) – The number of years spent in employment, along with your occupation, are the factors considered.
  • Age (10 points) – Moving to Canada aged 21-49 will see you awarded the full 10 points.
  • Arranged Employment (10 points) – If you pre-arranged a job in Canada, this will help you score maximum points.
  • Adaptability (10 points) – This looks at your spouse or common-law partner’s ability to adapt in Canada, based on things like work and education.

If you already have a job lined up in Canada then the type of visa you’ll need will be dependent on your type of employment. There are four types of work visa: 

  • Work Permit Visa – A temporary visa, this is issued when you are moving with employment already procured in Canada. You may have the option to apply for PR (permanent residency) following a stay of two out of five years in Canada.
  • Entrepreneur Visa – If you are planning to move and are already self-employed, you could be allowed entry based on your specific expertise or business type.
  • Self-Employed Visa – If you are planning a move and want to become self-employed in Canada in the future, this is the visa for which you need to apply.
  • Investor Visa – If you have proof of funds that you plan to invest in Canadian business, you may be granted entry based on your willingness to bolster the economy and promote job creation.

You can also apply for a Family Class Visa, which enables you to be sponsored by a Canadian relative to gain entry to Canada. There’s also the Spouse visa, where a husband, wife or common-law partner can sponsor your move.

You will likely need proof of funds to immigrate, the amount will vary depending on the number of family members moving.

If you are unsure about the criteria or how to get a Canadian visa, consult with an immigration lawyer before submitting your application. 

Working in Canada

It’s a that you need to be able to speak French to live and work in Canada, an officially bilingual country. Although French is primarily spoken throughout Quebec, elsewhere you will be fine with just English.
 
If you are planning to work when you arrive at your new home in Canada, there are numerous agencies and organisations that support newcomers in finding employment in Canada, and the job market is varied and prosperous. 

Property in Canada

Canada weathered the global credit crunch well, and the economy has remained robust as a result, as has the housing market. The average price of property in Canada is around $522,601, but you’ll find the price you pay for a property differ across the country. 

  • Vancouver: $812,823
  • Calgary: $499,212
  • Edmonton: $370,801
  • Toronto: $800,519
  • Ottawa: $353,262
  • Montreal: $320,798
Property can be very expensive in and around major cities like Vancouver and Toronto so you may want to live a little further into the countryside if you’re on a smaller budget.

Shipping Costs to Canada

Between furniture, clothing, crockery, toys, entertainment systems and other household items, the number of things that need to be shipped can quickly add up.

While moves across Europe can largely be done over land, crossing the Atlantic is a larger, more expensive, job.

You can use international shipping cost calculators online that determine the most cost-efficient way to ship your items to Canada. Generally, shipping costs are determined by the distance travelled, and the volumetric weight of the goods being transported.

One way to get an idea of how much your move will cost is by determining if you will need a 20ft or 40ft container. If you are taking most your things, you may be required to hire an ‘exclusive use’ container, which is more expensive than shipping in just a compartment.

It’s important to make sure that the international removal company you’re using for your house move abroad to Canada is a reliable, professional, firm with the sufficient insurance before entrusting them with your belongings.

Our article on the questions you should ask your International Removals Firm will inform you of the key information you need to find out from your shipping company, so you can be sure you’ve got the service you need for your move to Canada.

One obvious way to reduce your costs is to re-evaluate what you really need to take with you. If there is anything that you don’t use or you just don’t want anymore, you can donate them to a charity like DEBRA

Take into consideration your future surroundings when deciding what to bring and what to leave. For example, the climate in Vancouver is generally wet and mild year-round, so you could elect to leave heavy-duty winter clothing or skis to create more space in your container, and save money.

Cost of living

The cost of living varies greatly across Canada depending on where you are moving to – for example, the costs in Vancouver and Toronto are high compared with areas in Calgary and Quebec.

Research the cost of living in your area before you move to make sure you are prepared financially, although you should find prices in Canada lower than in the United Kingdom

Currency and taxes

Canada uses the Canadian dollar (£1 = $1.70 at the time of writing), including in the French province of Quebec. The Federal Tax rate is 15% on income up to $44,701. You will also need to pay a Provincial/Territory tax rate, which varies depending on where you live.

GST (general sales tax) and HST (harmonized sales tax) are Canadian sales taxes levied on goods and services. These are not included on the price of items, and so you need to factor these in before you pay. Tipping is customary in Canada, the recommended rate for which being 15%.

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