Moving to Canada From UK
If you are thinking of moving to Canada, you are in good company. It is estimated that up to 9,000 British nationals become permanent residents of Canada each year. Canada has so much to offer UK citizens who are looking for a fresh start, not least the stunning landscape, modern progressive cities, easy access to the United States, a thriving economy, and an extremely high living standard. Also, did you know Canada has the longest coastline in the world at 243,000 km which is spread out across 52,455 islands; it has more lakes than the rest of the world combined (it is estimated there may be two million lakes in Canada); and it has the largest source of fresh water in the world? In short, Canada does not do things by half. In this article, we will explain how you can move to Canada from the UK from an immigration standpoint, including the most popular routes, and the main eligibility criteria.
Assessing your immigration options
Unless you are already 100% sure you know which immigration route you will be using to move to Canada, it is recommended that you make yourself familiar with the range of options available. Speaking to an immigration lawyer will ensure you understand the specific options open to you and your family, based on your background, current situation, and future plans. They may recommend a visa stream which you had not previously considered or you were not aware of. Canada provides a wide range of immigration routes, including:
- Express Entry – for skilled workers
- Student and post-graduate – for international students who wish to study at a Canadian education establishment. This can later lead to securing employment and permanent residency.
- Self-employed Persons Program – for those with relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics
- Provincial nominees – whereby migrants are selected by a province or territory
- The Atlantic Immigration Pilot – allows immigration to Canada by graduating from a school or working in the Atlantic region (NE) of the country (this includes New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, or Newfoundland and Labrador)
- Start-up visa – enables those wishing to create an innovative new business to migrate to Canada
- Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot - a community-driven program which creates a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in a participating community
- Family sponsorship – Allows Canadian citizens and those settled in Canada to sponsor their relatives, including their spouse, partner, children, parents, and grandparents.
- Quebec-selected skilled workers – a specific scheme for skilled workers who wish to live and work in Quebec
In addition to the above, there are also routes for caregivers, workers in the agri-food business, and for refugees. One of the most popular routes for UK nationals moving to Canada is the Express Entry Program.
What is the Canadian Express Entry Program?
The Canadian Express Entry Program is designed to assist skilled migrant workers to move to, live, and work in Canada. The program is split into four sub-programs:
- Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSWP) – this route is for skilled workers with foreign work experience in a managerial job (skill type 0), professional job (skill level A), or technical job and skilled trade (skill level B)
- Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP) – the FSTP is for those with at least two years work experience in a specific trade – these include industrial, electrical and construction, maintenance and equipment operation, supervisors and technical jobs in natural resources, agriculture and related production, chefs and cooks, and butchers and bakers
- Canadian Experience Class (CEC) – this is for skilled migrants with Canadian work experience (typically one year in the past three years).
- Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) – enables the provinces of Canada to nominate and select particular skilled workers which fulfil their local needs. If an applicant is selected by a province, they are required to live and work in that province as a condition of their permit.
How do I apply for the Canadian Express Entry Program?
Express Entry Program applications are completed online. The process is split into two stages; expression of interest and application. Individuals register interest by creating a profile of their skills, education, and employment history. Based on the answers provided, each person is given points, and if these are sufficient, they will be invited to apply. This system allows the federal government and local provinces to control the type of skills and experience of migrants who are given permission to live and work. Once invited to apply, migrants can then submit an application for permanent residence.
The Canadian immigration authorities state that they process most application for Express Entry permanent residence within six months or less, but only if all of the necessary documentation requested is provided.
Which family members can I bring to Canada with me?
If you are applying for permanent residence in Canada, you can bring your dependant family members with you. Dependant family members include:
- your spouse or common-law partner
- your dependent child
- your spouse or common-law partner’s dependent child
- a dependent child of a dependent child
The immigration rules state that your dependant family members must either arrive in Canada at the same time as you, as the main applicant or later, but not before. You will not be able to include other family members on your application, including your parents, grandparents, brother or sister, uncle or aunt, nephew or niece, or other relatives, rather they would need to make an application in their own right.
The Canadian immigration system provides a number of possible routes which will allow you to reside and work in Canada permanently. The greater your level of skills and experience in a professional occupation or trade, the greater your chances of being invited to apply, and then having your application approved. If you are unsure which visa to apply for, speak to an immigration law solicitor who will be able to advise you, and if you require, handle the application process on your behalf. We wish you all the very best with your Canadian adventure.