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Moving to Canada From the UK

Ashleigh Williams

Written by Reviewed by Dave Sayce

8th Jun 2023 (Last updated on 8th Jun 2023) 10 minute read

Canada is the world’s second-largest country. It’s a beautiful and welcoming country to consider moving to from the UK. It has a diverse culture with English and French being the predominant language. With its high standard of living. It’s easy to see why many Brits choose to make the move each year.

If you’re thinking of moving to Canada, there are several things you need to take into consideration. This guide covers everything you need to keep in mind, from the best visa to apply for to property prices and shipping costs.

  1. Why Are People Moving from the UK to Canada?
  2. Types of Canada Visas
  3. Permanent Canadian Residency
  4. Canadian Citizenship
  5. Cost of Removals to Canada from the UK
  6. Property Prices
  7. Work
  8. Cost of Living
  9. Healthcare
  10. Education
  11. Importing a Vehicle
  12. Culture
  13. Is it Worth Moving to Canada from the UK?

Why Are People Moving from the UK to Canada?

There are many reasons why people are choosing to move from the UK to Canada. Fortunately, Canada has a free healthcare system that’s reliable and of a high standard. This is important for most people looking to relocate.

The quality of living and the standard of life is particularly high and one of the best in the world. People in Canada are generally open and welcoming, especially when it comes to immigrants which makes moving easier.

Education has a lot of government investment. It provides top-quality education services to learners. Canada is a country that’s very multicultural and accepting of different religions, races and cultures.

Around 531,584 residents in Canada currently are British expats, emphasising the country's popularity.

Types of Canada Visas

To move to Canada permanently, you will need to apply for a Canadian Visa. There are several options to choose from depending on the purpose of your move. Visitor Visas are available for temporary visits and are typically valid for up to 6 months.

Here are some options to consider when looking for permanent residency visas:

  • Student Visa and Study Permits - These visas are suitable for those looking to study in Canada for a specific period. It covers the length of the study.
  • Business Immigrant Visa - For people looking to invest in the country’s economy.
  • Permanent Residence Visa - These visas provide permanent residency in Canada. Some popular options include the Spousal Sponsorship Program and family sponsorship.

For more information on the visa process and residencies, visit VisaGuide.World.

Work Visas

There are many work visas to choose from, including Canada Express Entry Program Visas. This covers:

  • The Federal Skilled Worker Program (points-based system)
  • The Canadian Experience Class
  • The Federal Skilled Tradesperson Program.

These visas have specific requirements that need to be met. This includes work experience and whether your skill sets meet any shortages in the country. Plumbers and aircraft mechanics are favoured, for example.

There are also Provincial Nomination Programs (PNP) for low-skilled workers looking to help the economy in Canada. These economic immigration programs are popular options. If you meet the requirements, you are more likely to be approved.

Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA)

To enter Canada by aeroplane, you will need to have an Electronic Travel Authorisation (eTA). This will need to be applied for before travelling via the Government of Canada website. It will cost $7 (£4.20).

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Permanent Canadian Residency

To be accepted for permanent Canadian residency, you must apply and be nominated by the territory you want to live in. Once accepted, you can then apply to your local Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

Some of the documentation you will need to supply includes, but is not limited to:

  • Valid passport
  • Birth certificate
  • Relevant visas and permits
  • Proof of funds
  • Medical report

The Government of Canada website will help you to determine the best visa option for you and here you can download the necessary forms. You can keep track of your application’s progress, estimated visa waiting times and how much you will need to pay.

Students and workers with temporary visas can apply through the Canadian Experience Class. There are criteria that need to be met such as English language ability and work experience.

Permanent Residency Card

When you have been accepted for permanent residency, you will be given a Permanent Resident (PR) Card. This will allow you to have access to social benefits, including free healthcare, and the ability to work and study in the country. It also opens the door to applying for Canadian citizenship.

When your PR Card expires, this can be renewed. You will receive this within 180 days of immigrating to Canada from the UK.

Canadian Citizenship

To become a Canadian citizen, you will need to meet the following requirements:

  • Have spent 730 days in Canada within 5 years
  • Have a Permanent Residency Visa
  • Have a Permanent Residency Card
  • Proficient English and French language skills
  • Filed taxes correctly

In addition to this, you will need to pass a citizenship test and interview to be approved. The test covers aspects such as the history, laws and economy of Canada. Canada recognises dual citizenship so British citizens won’t have to renounce being a British national.

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Cost of Removals to Canada from the UK

Canada is 3,606 miles away from the UK. As a result, international removal costs tend to be more expensive due to the distance that needs to be travelled.

According to our research, shipping goods to Canada will cost around £2,972. This is based on the average cost of shipping a 40ft container. This is equivalent to the contents of a 3-bedroom house.

If you require extra services such as packing, you can expect to add at least £250 to the shipping total. Overall costs are based on the type of shipping used, distance travelled and the number of items being shipped.

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Property Prices

While there isn’t a significant difference, purchasing and renting properties in Canada is more expensive compared to the UK.

To purchase a property in a Canadian city centre, you can expect to pay $8,928.38 (£5,362.10) per square meter. In the UK, properties in city centres cost around £4,442.80 per square meter.

Purchasing a property outside of a Canadian city centre is slightly less expensive. This will be around $6,486.24 (£3,895.49) per square meter. In the UK the equivalent is £3,343.62.

Here are the rental costs for Canada and the UK:

Type of PropertyCanada (PCM)UK (PCM)

1 bedroom property

$1,633.58 (£981.09)


3 bedroom property

$2,687.58 (£1,614.10)


Popular destinations to live in for British expats include Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.

More affordable places include New Brunswick and Newfoundland. More expensive areas include cities like Hamilton, Ottawa and Victoria. Quebec, British Columbia and Ontario are also worth considering.

* Data taken from Numbeo statistics


When working in Canada, you will need to have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). You will need to apply for this after receiving your visa or permit. The SIN allows you to legally work and access the country's benefits, such as healthcare.

The average salary in Canada is $65,773 (£39,582.96) according to Dundas Life. This is higher than the UK average of £25,971. While the cost of living may be similar in both countries, the higher salaries in Canada are a driving force for emigrating from the UK.

Some of the most common jobs in Canada are in the following industries:

  • Nursing
  • Trades
  • IT
  • Engineering
  • Retail

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Cost of Living

The cost of living in Canada is only 0.5% more expensive than in the UK. However, as salaries in Canada are typically higher than in the UK, living in Canada will allow you to have more disposable income.

Here are some cost of living examples for each country:

Cost of Living ExamplesCanadaUnited Kingdom

Public Transport Pass (Monthly)

$106.34 (£64)


Utility Bills (Monthly - One Person)

$120.13 (£72.30)


Gym Membership (Monthly)

$52 (£31.30)


Taxi (5 Miles)

$21.93 (£13.20)


Inexpensive Restaurant Meal for 2 People

$81.08 (£48.80)


1 Cinema Ticket

$14.34 (£8.63)


Beer (0.5L)

$3.22 (£1.94)


Chicken Breast (1kg)

$14.47 (£8.71)



$4.69 (£2.82)


* Data taken from LivingCost.Org


The healthcare system in Canada is one of the best in the world and offers free healthcare to everyone living in the country. In many ways, it’s similar to the UK’s NHS. Their system is run through Medicare and is accessible in all provinces.

Each of the 13 provinces and territories have their own insurance plans. As a result, what’s covered through government funding and taxes will vary slightly.

While Medicare is a free service, it doesn’t cover everything. Around two-thirds of Canadian residents have private medical insurance according to CommonwealthFund. This is often provided through their employer. This helps to cover any additional costs that may incur and aren’t covered by free healthcare.


The education system in Canada differs from the UK as each province has its own education system. It’s useful to look into each system when moving to have a better understanding of this.

Even so, there are some similarities. Education is mandatory between the ages of 6-18 (16 in some territories). In the UK, education is compulsory between 5-16 (4 in Northern Ireland). The schooling system is split into three stages:

  • Kindergarten/Pre-elementary - ages 4-5 (not compulsory)
  • Primary education - 6-12
  • Secondary education (Junior high school and high school) - 12-14 and 14-18

Some of the top-performing schools in Canada include Fulford Academy and Rousseau College. There is a good mixture of both public and private schools. In addition to this, there are several French-speaking schools such as Toronto French School.

Canada is home to some fantastic universities. There are over 100 universities in the country to choose from. This is not too dissimilar to the UK, which has 160 universities. Some of the best options include:

  • Universities of Toronto
  • University of Alberta
  • The University of British Columbia
  • McGill University
  • McMaster University

University tuition fees in Canada cost around $6,463 (£3,886.20) per year for Canadian Residents according to TopUniversities. This is a lot cheaper than UK universities which average around £9,250 per year.

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Importing a Vehicle

It’s possible to import a vehicle to Canada, but it will need to comply with Canadian standards and import requirements to be approved. The vehicle will be inspected upon arrival and should be cleaned before shipping.

You will need to provide vehicle, tax, insurance and shipping documentation. Check the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and Transport Canada websites for more information.

When driving in Canada, you will need to check the specific rules for each province as these do vary. In most provinces, you can drive using your UK driving license for 6 months.

After this time you will need to apply for a Canadian driving license. Some provinces may require you to have an International Driving Permit (IDP).


The culture in Canada is open and welcoming. The main influences on Canadian culture are French, American and British. The co-official languages in Canada are English and French. While the majority of French Canadians live in Quebec, French influences can be found throughout Canada.

The country is known for being tolerant, and respectful. Canada is one of the most multicultural countries in the world. Immigration is one of the main factors that has allowed the country to become so diverse, with over 7.5 million immigrants.

There is also a big focus on community and family life. Ice Hockey is the most popular sport in Canada. As Canadian life is not too dissimilar to UK life, British people tend to settle in quite easily.

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Is it Worth Moving to Canada from the UK?

It can certainly be worth moving to Canada from the UK. If you’re looking for a higher quality of life in one of the world’s most attractive countries it’s a great option.

Here are some pros and cons to consider before you make your final decision to move:


  • Fantastic and free healthcare system
  • Higher quality of life
  • Great Economy
  • High-quality education systems
  • Safe country to live
  • Multicultural society


  • Weather can be particularly cold in the winter and is more extreme than in the UK
  • House prices and rental markets are more expensive overall when compared to the UK
  • The dollar is lower than the pound

All costs listed in this article are correct at the time of writing. Costs may vary slightly and this is just an estimated number.

Ashleigh Williams

Having written book reviews and content for For The Love of Books for over five years, Ashleigh now creates advice articles for Compare My Move, focusing on all things home-related.

Dave Sayce

Reviewed by Dave Sayce

Owner & Managing Director, Compare My Move

Dave Sayce is the owner and managing director of Compare My Move and has over 10 years of experience in the house removals industry.

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