Moving to the UK from Canada

If you are contemplating moving to the UK from Canada, you are in excellent company. According to analysis by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), total long-term immigration to the UK for the year ending June 2023 reached 1.2 million. Figures also show that between July 1st, 2022 and June 30th, 2023, 94,576 people emigrated from Canada to another country, with the majority coming from Ontario and British Colombia. Thankfully, for those considering immigration to the UK from Canada, there are a wide range of visa options available, many of which lead to permanent settlement (indefinite leave to remain) after living here for several years (normally 5 years). In this article, we will cover everything that you need to know about emigrating to the UK from Canada from an immigration perspective.

Moving to the UK from Canada - Benefits

There are many excellent reasons to consider immigration to uk from canada. While it wouldn’t normally feature as a reason to move to the UK, the weather here is much warmer than large swathes of Canada. The Gulf Stream means that while we are at a comparable latitude to Canada, we don’t suffer the extremely low temperatures seen across Canada. This is because the Gulf Stream whisks warmer water and air from the tip of Florida, along the eastern coastline of the US and Canada, and across the Atlantic, providing a climate that is much warmer than it would otherwise be.

Other reasons to consider relocating to the UK from Canada include the rich culture and heritage, the fact we speak English, the ease of access to Europe, the vibrant job market, the excellent business opportunities, and the pretty villages and towns; the list is almost endless.

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Other UK visas for Canadian citizens

Several other UK visas available to Canadian nationals include the following:

  • Global Talent visa – for leaders and potential leaders in the areas of academia or research, arts and culture, and digital technology. Holders can stay for up to 5 years and apply to settle permanently after 3 or 5 years, depending on their area of leadership.
  • High Potential Individual (HPI) visa – this route is open to those who graduated from McGill University, the University of British Columbia, or the University of Toronto. Holders can work, look for work, be self-employed, and bring their partner and children. Visas are normally granted for 2 years, at which point you will need to switch to a different visa type (it cannot be extended and does not qualify for permanent settlement)
  • Innovator Founder visa – for those who wish to establish a new, viable, and scalable innovative business in the UK. Holders can stay for up to 3 years and then renew or apply for permanent settlement.

Canadians coming to the UK have a wide choice of immigration visas available to them, including the Ancestry visa, Skilled Worker visa, Youth Mobility Scheme visa, Student visa, Global Talent visa, High Potential Individual (HPI) visa, and the Innovator Founder visa. The visa you choose will depend on factors such as what you intend to do here, your age, whether you have dependants and your ancestry. Here is a summary of each visa, including who they are for, the main eligibility, and the benefits to holders.

Ancestry visa

Canadians coming to the UK have a wide choice of immigration visas available to them, including the Ancestry visa, Skilled Worker visa, Youth Mobility Scheme visa, Student visa, Global Talent visa, High Potential Individual (HPI) visa, and the Innovator Founder visa. The visa you choose will depend on factors such as what you intend to do here, your age, whether you have dependants and your ancestry. Here is a summary of each visa, including who they are for, the main eligibility, and the benefits to holders.

  • Your grandparent must have been born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man before March 31st 1922, in what is now Ireland, or on a ship or aircraft that was either registered in the UK or belonged to the UK government.
  • You must be 17 years or older
  • You must have enough money to live in the UK without claiming public funds and
  • You must intend and be able to work in the UK

If your Ancestry visa is granted, you will be able to work and study in the UK and bring your partner and children with you. Ancestry visas are normally granted for 5 years, at which point you can, if you wish, apply to settle permanently.

Skilled Worker visa and Health and Care Worker visa

The Skilled Worker visa and the Health and Care Worker visa are the most popular UK work visas for foreign nationals who wish to work in the UK. Holders of either visa can work in the UK for up to 5 years and then either renew their visa or apply for permanent settlement.

To apply for a Skilled Worker visa or Health and Care Worker visa, applicants must:

  • Have a job offer for an eligible occupation from an approved employer with a sponsor licence (your employer will give you a Certificate of Sponsorship) and
  • Meet the minimum salary requirements

There is normally an English language requirement, however, citizens of Canada automatically meet this criteria and do not need to provide any evidence of their English language proficiency.

Youth Mobility Scheme visa

Another very popular visa available to Canadian citizens is the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa. While this does not provide a route to permanent settlement, once in the UK, YMS visa holders can switch to a different type of visa that will qualify for indefinite leave to remain and then citizenship a year later.

The UK YMS visa is open to Canadian nationals who are aged between 18 and 35 and have at least £2,530 in savings to support themselves while in the UK. If your YMS visa is granted, you will be able to stay for up to 24 months to work, study, and even set up a company or be self-employed.

Get in touch with our immigration experts for help with your move to the UK from Canada

What is the cost of living in the UK?

The life and living costs in the UK are generally lower in the UK compared to Canada. Rent and consumer prices are approximately 6% lower and groceries are around 20% lower in the UK by comparison. Before making the move to the UK, it is always advisable to put together a budget based on your expected UK salary and living costs to determine how the cost of living here compares to Canada. It is also important to include the overall cost of moving to UK from Canada, including removal costs and flight costs.

Moving to the UK from Canada checklist

Before you make the move from Canada, we recommend that you complete the following checklist:

  • Do you understand all of the UK immigration options available to you? If not, speak to an immigration Solicitor in the UK who will explain your visa options to you.
  • Have you researched the cost of living and how this compares to your expected salary in the UK?
  • Have you worked out the total cost of moving from Australia to the UK? This includes the flights, removal costs, and the cost of visas and healthcare surcharges for you and your family.
  • If you plan to get a work visa, have you secured a job? You must have an offer of a job with an approved UK employer before you apply for your visa.
  • Are you planning to sell your property and possessions, sell everything, rent your house, or put your items into storage in case you return?
  • Do you know where you want to live in the UK and is this commutable to your new job?
  • Is there any property to rent in the area where you want to live and is this affordable?
  • If you have children who will be joining you, have you spoken to any schools in the area where you intend to live?

What is the Self-Sponsored Route?

Self-Sponsorship offers an excellent alternative to Canadians who wish to live the UK. Rather than gaining employment and applying for a work visa, Canadian citizens can set up their own company without the need for a UK sponsor. The self-sponsorship options provides an direct route to permanent settlement in the UK and eventually citizenship.

Final words

These immigration visa options only cover some of the routes available to Canadian citizens who want to emigrate to the UK. To discuss your immigration options for relocating from Canada to the UK and understand which is the best visa route for you and your family, speak to an immigration solicitor in the UK who will be pleased to advise you. Whether you are emigrating to the UK as a non-Canadian National, an Canadian citizen, or planning to join UK family members, we can help you.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Moving From Canada to the UK

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Moving From Canada to the UK

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