A new start in Canada! Deciding to emigrate to Canada can be one of the most liberating life choices you make, whatever your age or motivation to do so.
If you’ve thought long and hard about it and decided to move, you are not alone and are in good company – with some 200,000 others who arrive here every year to start a new life.
Arriving from overseas, there are many things you will have to consider and here is a brief précis of what you’ll need to know.
Of course, you’ll need a visa first of all and this should be the thing you consider before anything else, as it can take the most time. Also, if you can’t get a visa, it will make everything else virtually impossible.
Getting a Canadian visa The Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website has full details of how to apply for a skilled workers’ and professionals’ visa.
You’ll need to state your age, employment and level of education and other details to prove your worth to Canada. In order to qualify you’ll need to score 67 points or more.
Your occupation – if it’s in an industry the government needs more workers in, this will help your cause.
Your level of education can earn you more points.
You’ll also need to have enough money saved to show you can support yourself and any family members moving with you. The amount you’ll need will depend on how many of you are moving and if you have a job offer in Canada.
You may have to take a medical exam to prove your health.
Canada is a bilingual country, as almost 25 per cent of Canadians speak French. Being able to speak French will increase your visa score and will be especially useful if you’ll be living in Quebec, where it’s most widely spoken.
There are also separate visas for people joining family in Canada, for anyone with the work experience needed in each province, or even for investors or people looking to start a business.
You can start your application to see how many points you might score on the Canadian Citizenship and Immigration website or by using the calculator on workpermit.com.
Once your visa has been approved, the next steps are to consider finding somewhere to live and sorting out other really important matters like healthcare and financial matters like banking, pensions and insurance.
You should think about setting up a bank account and transferring money into it straight away, as banks in other countries might make it slower or more difficult for you to access your money in the event you haven’t been able to set up your bank accounts before you leave.
You should also remember that credit ratings are not always transferrable country to country – so if you’re leaving the UK or US to live in Canada, you’ll have no credit rating at all for at least six months. Therefore it’s essential you have access to some funds in a bank account to help you on your way.
How to emigrate to Canada without any financial hassle This is advice based on my experience on planning a move from the UK.
You’ll need to open a bank account in Canada – most British banks, for instance, won’t let you keep your account with them if you move abroad, and if they do the service will be slower, pricier and less accessible if you use it from Canada.
If you open an account with a Canadian bank, you’ll have a home to transfer your money to – the Government of Canada website has some advice on choosing your account.
Transferring your money to Canada Before you move you’ll need to transfer some money to live off initially as well as your savings and pensions in the long run.
Just using your existing bank can be slow and costly compared to using a specialist transfer service. You can find the best provider and read some tips on picking the best one with money transfers to Canada.
The credit rating you’ve built up in the UK won’t transfer over to Canada, so it may be difficult to get any credit for at least six months.
This means you need to make sure you have enough of your own money available to cover your costs when you get there.
It could be worth getting a fee free credit card you can use abroad before you leave the UK to make sure you have access to extra funds if you need them.
However, do also check local banks in Canada as many do offer credit cards to newcomers.
Your pension If you’re planning to retire in Canada, you’ll still be able to have your private and state pension paid to your new Canadian bank account.
However, your state pension won’t go up each year as it would if you stayed in the UK – the amount paid each year will remain the same – you can find out more on the Pensions Advisory Service website.
Finding accommodation One of the first things you’ll need to organize is where you’ll live. The Government of Canada’s website has some tips on renting or buying a house or apartment, setting up your utilities and buying furniture.
Healthcare Canada’s healthcare system is similar to the NHS, so all citizens and permanent residents are entitled to free health care but you will need to register with the Canadian Government.
You can apply for a health insurance card as soon as you arrive as long as you can prove your identity and permanent resident status; for more information, visit the Government of Canada website.
Paying tax Once you’re a permanent resident in Canada, you’ll need to pay your tax there rather than in the UK. Income tax should be taken from your wages by your employer. You may also have to file a tax return in Canada – check the Government of Canada’s guide for details.
You’ll also need to contact HM Revenue & Customs and complete their P6 form when you leave the UK. You can get this form and find out more about UK tax when you move abroad at hmrc.gov.uk.
Whilst there might seem a lot of daunting things to organize and set up, moving away to live in another country such as Canada can offer a wealth of new opportunities and exciting experiences. So whilst it’s good to be aware, it’s also important to remember that there will be wonderful times ahead of you too.
– Julie Reyna
• For more info and tips, visit http://www.money.co.uk/article/1010423-how-emigrate-to-canada-without-any-financial-hassle.htm.
Posted: Jan 4, 2015