Everything You Need to Know About Emigrating to Canada

Moving to Canada

The draw of Canada for people looking to emigrate from the UK is easy to understand. Maybe you’re ready for a new start away from the UK, or you’d prefer to live in a country with stunning vistas, mountains, and wide, open spaces – or maybe you’re just tired of Brexit. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking to move to the Great White North from the UK, there’s plenty you’ll need to know ahead of time – so we’ve put together a step-by-step guide on emigrating to Canada. From the best cities for expats to settle down to the different permits and visas you’ll need to know about, here’s our guide to successfully emigrating to Canada.

And remember, if you need to sell your house quickly in order to move to another country and you can’t risk being caught in a long chain, Good Move can help you sell your house quickly for cash – so you can start your new life in Canada sooner rather than later.

In this article:

Apply for residence

Moving to any new country is a complicated process – but the good news is that Canada is one of the easier countries to move to, thanks to their more relaxed immigration laws.

There are plenty of different ways to emigrate to Canada, and several different programs and visas you can apply for. While there is no age limit for emigrating to Canada, some of the visas require you to be under a specified age.

International Experience Canada program

If you’re between 18 and 30, you can apply to the International Experience Canada program for a Canadian work permit – there are three different categories for this:

  • A Working Holiday permit: Allowing you to work and travel in Canada for one to two years – you don’t need to have a job in place before applying.
  • Young Professionals permit: This allows you to gain work experience in Canada for 1-2 years, but you’ll need to have a job offer in place before applying.
  • International Co-op Internship: If you’re looking for an internship related to your field of studies, you can apply for a internship lasting between 6 months and 2 years.

Permanent residence and Express Entry

If you’re over 30, the main option is permanent residence. This mostly comes via the Express Entry route, which is intended for federal skilled workers who are looking for new job opportunities. The criteria for permanent residency, are, as you’d expect, more strict than the IEC program, but if you see your life moving permanently (or at least in the long term) to Canada, then it’s a good idea.

Unless you already have a job offer in place, only certain careers and roles are wanted in Canada, and it depends what jobs appear on their shortage list – you can find the full current list online, but most professional occupations will be included, and managers are always in demand.

Your education, prior work experience, and knowledge of French will be tested to give you a score out of 1200. You can get a higher score and enhance your chances of being granted residency via a Provincial Nominee Program, which allows provinces and territories to nominate families or individuals to settle in their area, based on what the province is looking for. These vary by region, and they might have set restrictions based on career requirements, French language ability or other criteria.

There are other ways of moving to Canada, such as temporary work permits, or sponsorship from a family member or spouse if they’re also a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.

How to get a job in Canada

To apply for a work permit in Canada, you need proof that you’ve got a job offer from an employer – a Labour Market Impact Assessment is the required qualification. This proves both your offer and also that you do, in fact, have the necessary skills and qualifications. Some jobs don’t require you to have a work permit – check the official list on Canada’s immigration website to see if your job needs one.

Cost of emigrating to Canada

Applying for permanent residency has a cost – you should expect to pay around $1000 Canadian dollars in total per person, including a processing fee, a right to permanent residence, plus any extra for dependent children. You’ll also need to pay a biometrics fee of around $85 per person. All things considered, the cost to move to Canada is actually remarkably low, as these costs also include your visa and biometrics documents.

Remember to factor in additional costs if you’re moving to Canada to work – you’ll need an employment visa costing around $550, and a standard work permit which costs $155 per person.

Moving your belongings to Canada

You’ll also need to factor in the costs of emigrating to Canada – if you want to move your belongings to another country with you, you’ll need to employ an international removals company. Before you choose, make sure you do plenty of research and find a reputable, recognised company – the last thing you want is for all of your worldly possessions to arrive damaged, hopelessly late, or – worst of all – not arrive at all. Shipping your possessions by container can take up to two months, and there will be customs checks upon arrival – so make sure you plan for being without your goods for a while and organise practicalities.

Prepare for the weather

Depending on where you move to in Canada, you might be in for much more extreme weather. While parts of Canada are actually quite similar to the UK, there’s a lot of variety across the country – hardly surprising, considering that Canada covers almost 10 million square kilometres. To give you an idea of the variety in climate, Canada’s most southern point is in line with California – but the most northern regions extend into the Arctic Circle. Generally, you can expect vastly colder winters – and plenty of snow!

The best cities for expats

If you’re looking for somewhere to live in Canada, there are plenty of vibrant cities to choose from. Here are a few of the best-rated options for expats, with plenty to offer from culture to high earning potential.

Vancouver, British Columbia

Vancouver is a beautiful city, nestled in a bay next to the North Shore Mountains. Aside from the stunning surroundings, Vancouver is also a bustling, diverse city – one of the most multicultural inn Canada, which makes it an ideal settling spot for expats. It ranks highly for culture, healthcare and education, with a strong economy that’s great for jobseekers.

Edmonton, Alberta

With strong links to the gas and oil industries, Edmonton is one of the most prosperous cities in Canada, with a high average income and affordable housing. Located close to the Jasper National Park and the Rocky Mountains, there’s beautiful scenery and a good sports scene.

Toronto, Ontario

The largest city by population in Canada, Toronto is a busy, metropolitan city that’s home to lots of UK expats. With great culture and lots of museums, festivals, and the annual Toronto International Film Festival, there’s no shortage of things to do. However, it’s the most expensive city to live in in Canada – but for certain industries, it’s a natural pick, with lots of industrial, financial and tech firms based in Toronto.

Ottawa, Ontario

More than 17,000 UK expats live in Canada’s capital city – perhaps because of its reputation for offering higher than average salaries, plus the close access to some great skiing opportunities nearby to the city. It’s got less hustle and bustle than Vancouver or Toronto, but plenty of culture and lovely green spaces.


If you’re hoping to make a fresh start in a beautiful country by emigrating to Canada, you’re in for an exciting new adventure. With plenty of cultural touchpoints in common with the UK, a welcoming and diverse population, and lots of opportunity, it’s no surprise that so many UK expats decide to make their home there. If you’re planning on emigrating to Canada, and need to sell your house quickly to avoid getting caught in a long chain, we can help. For more helpful financial advice and tips, check out more posts on our blog.

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