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Immigrating to Canada from the UK

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 Are you looking to move to Canada from the UK? You’re not alone. Canada is one of the most immigrant-friendly countries in the world.  There are plenty of immigrants from the UK in Canada. Why do UK expats flock to Canada, and what do they need to know to become successful permanent residents?

Why Canada attracts UK expats

If you’re moving out of the United Kingdom, Canada is a logical destination. A lot goes into an individual’s decision to move to another country, but here are some common reasons why the British may prefer moving to Canada:
  • It is primarily an English speaking country.
  • Canadian culture is relatively similar to most British cultures.
  • The government and people are receptive to immigrants, especially those who speak English or French.
  • The space and rural expanses appeal to those from the comparatively cramped Europe.
  • You can find many like-minded expats from the UK in Canada.

What immigrants need to do

If you are moving to Canada, you’ll probably want to get permanent residency. Permanent residents get access to Canada’s famous healthcare, so there is a real advantage to applying.

Apply for a visa online or at your local Canadian consulate. There are several visa plans to choose from, but most UK citizens will qualify for the skilled worker visa. Most Canadian visas require:
  • Evidence that you will contribute to Canada’s economy
  • A passed test certifying proficiency in English or French
  • A criminal background check
  • Updated routine vaccinations
  • Proof that you have enough savings to support yourself or your family if unemployed (roughly £6,970 per person)

Things for UK expats to know when moving to Canada

The UK and Canada are similar culturally, but there are a few key differences to consider. Culture shock is always a risk when moving overseas, and even if the destination seems ideal, there are sometimes shocking differences in the subtleties of the culture.

Here is a quick list of things that the British may be surprised to encounter in Canada:
  • Canadian English has a unique accent.  The accent is similar to an American accent with a few alterations to some vowel sounds. However, most Canadians would not consider their accent “American.”
  •  Call them Canadians. Canadians, even though they may contend it is unfair that Americans claim the whole continent with their nationality, they still would never call themselves “American.”
  •  Hockey really is a national obsession, it is not just a stereotype.
  •  Canadians call it “soccer” rather than “football.”
  •  Canadian spelling does not strictly follow U.S. or British rules. It takes a little from both. Canadians use the British “ou” in colour and honour, but use the American “z” for words like “generalization.”
  •  A British pound is worth a bit more than a Canadian dollar. Currently one pound is worth over $1.83 Canadian.
  •  Canadians mostly use the metric system of measurement, with the notable exception of weight. Height is often measured in imperial feet and inches, as well. 
  •  UK state pension is payable in Canada but it does not increase year to year because you will be out of the UK. 
Finally, most Canadians may speak English, but their English is a little different from the UK. There are a few Canadian words that will be lost on the average UK expat:

Canuck: A Canadian person, may be considered offensive if said by a non-Canadian
The States: America or the U.S.
Poutine: A specific dish of fried potatoes, cheese curds, and gravy
Hydro: Refers to electricity rather than water, short for hydro-electric
Suckers: Lollipops
Loonie and Toonie: Nicknames for the Canadian one and two dollars, respectively
Gas bar: Petrol station

Despite the minor language and cultural differences, Canada is a perfect place for UK expats. After you secure your visa, contact an international mover that serves Canada. It won’t be long until you move to one of the most international countries in the world.


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on January 20, 2015 - Moving Expert
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