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Canada vs UK Citizenship

Deciding between Canada vs UK citizenship is not easy. Both countries offer incredible benefits to citizens, including permanent residency, attractive job prospects, and excellent educational opportunities.

To get professional support with this difficult decision, or to find out more about each immigration process, contact IAS on +44 (0) 3316300929 or +234 13438882.

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Overview of Canada vs UK Citizenship

People choose to emigrate to the UK or Canada for various reasons. The thriving economies, free healthcare systems and diverse communities attract immigrants from all over the globe.

The citizenship processes of both countries are relatively demanding. Some people find it much easier to navigate the Canadian immigration system, whereas others have an easier time liaising with the UK Home Office.

When an individual becomes a British citizen or a Canadian citizen, they do not have to give up their original citizenship (unless their country of origin forbids dual citizenship). They can hold a Canadian or British passport along with their original passport.

Eligibility Criteria for Canadian or UK Citizenship

Overall, it could be argued that it is easier to acquire citizenship in Canada. The Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) provides a list of Canadian citizenship requirements:

  • Pass a citizenship test
  • Prove that they have lived in Canada for 3 of the last 5 years
  • Take an oath of citizenship
  • File taxes in Canada
  • Be a permanent Canadian resident
  • Demonstrate good language skills

The Home Office has different requirements depending on the specific route to citizenship. The main UK citizenship requirements are:

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain status or EU Settled Status
  • Proof of passing the Life in the UK test
  • Evidence of English language skills
  • Good character, for example no history of immigration or financial crime, or other serious criminal convictions
  • Proof of residence in the UK for the last 5 years (3 years for applicants with a British citizen spouse or civil partner) and spending a sufficient amount of time in the UK within this time period

Please note that the requirements listed above for Canada citizenship and UK citizenship are not set in stone for every candidate. Requirements may vary depending on the resident permit/status of the applicant and their personal circumstance.

Application for Canadian or UK Citizenship

For Canadian citizenship, foreign nationals must complete forms CIT 0007 (document checklist) and CIT 0002 (citizenship application). Other forms that may be necessary include CIT 0464, CIT 0177, IMM 5476 and IRM 0002. There is an application fee of $630 for adults and $100 for children.

Applications must be submitted on the IRCC website. If an applicant is not eligible for the online application, they may send a paper application to the IRCC’s case processing centre in Sydney (Nova Scotia).

Following the application submission and payment, there will be a citizenship test and interview that determines the candidate’s suitability for living in Canada. Successful candidates will be contacted after 4-6 months and offered Canadian citizenship.

Similarly, the British citizenship application involves submitting an online form and paying an application fee (£1,580). Candidates are asked to schedule an appointment at a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services service point.

The appointment involves providing biometrics information, attending an interview and completing a British citizenship test. Most applicants receive a final citizenship decision within 6 months.

Canada vs the UK: Which Country is Better for Immigration?

There are unique benefits and drawbacks of emigrating to the UK and Canada. While neither option is better in all areas, most people find that one of the two countries is more suited to their personal circumstances.

Canada vs the UK: Employment

In terms of employment, the UK’s statistics are superior. The unemployment rate in Canada is 5.2%, while the UK’s statistic is 3.6%.

It is notoriously difficult for immigrants to secure employment in Canada, as Canadian employers tend to prefer applicants with experience working in Canada. This is not the case in the UK, which makes for a more diverse job market.

Another benefit of emigrating to the UK is the secure employment regulations. Canada shares some benefits with the UK, such as sickness benefits and employer insurance.

However, there are only 2 weeks of paid vacation available for Canadian employees of 2 years or fewer, whereas most UK employees get 28 days of annual leave.

The UK’s employment situation also has its drawbacks. Although the unemployment rate is the lower of the two countries, it is increasing. The average salary is also lower, at £2,277.12 compared to Canada’s £2,753.95 (converted to GBP). 

Another difficulty of emigrating to the UK is the fact that the British citizenship process is longer than the Canadian process. People moving to Canada can secure permanent residence before leaving their home country, but this is not a possibility in the UK.

Canada vs the UK: Cost of Living

There is debate surrounding which country has a lower cost of living. Recent studies have suggested that the UK is currently the more expensive country, with a Numbeo cost of living index score of 69.87 (Canada scored 63.70).

Certain elements of life in the UK can be cheaper than in Canada, such as accommodation and food. However, transport, petrol and entertainment are more expensive.

On average, Canada taxes its residents more than the UK, with a total tax wedge per person of almost 40%. It is possible to live in Canada and pay less tax than in the UK, as both countries adjust their taxation according to salary.

For example, a Canadian resident earning $40,000 would be taxed at 15%, whereas an employee on the equivalent salary in the UK (£23,887.22) would be taxed 20%.

There is financial aid for immigrants in both countries. The UK has a range of public funds that some immigrants are entitled to.

Anyone who cannot claim these funds may be entitled to Jobseeker’s Allowance, discretionary Council Tax reductions, and other support, including from charities.

Canada offers many benefits including goods and services tax credit, additional provincial/territorial benefits, disability payments, and Canada Child Benefit. 

Canada vs the UK: Healthcare

Both Canada and the UK have free healthcare. In Canada, this is provided through insurance premiums and additional taxes. The majority of Canadians participate in the free universal healthcare system, which is known as Medicare.

Although healthcare is free in the UK, there is a greater number of people paying for private healthcare than there is in Canada.

Yet, the majority participate in the NHS, which is mostly free at the point of delivery (it is funded by taxation).

For an immigrant in the UK, it is free to access most primary care services, such as the Accident and Emergency (A&E) department, family planning services, diagnosis and treatment of some infectious diseases, and compulsory psychiatric treatment.

Other costs can be covered by the Immigration Health Surcharge, which is an annual payment of £624 made by most visa holders. 

In comparison, Canada offers free urgent medical care to immigrants. Non-urgent care is only free of charge for Canadian citizens, permanent residents, some international students and employees, and refugees. Anyone else is encouraged to purchase health insurance to cover medical costs.

Canada vs the UK: Education

Free education is provided to children in both countries. From the age of 18, there are fees for studying at a college or university.

The education system in the UK is one of the best in the world. It ranks second in the World Population Review ‘Countries with the Best Educational Systems’, while Canada is not far behind, in fourth place. 

The average annual tuition fee for an international college student in Canada is $36,100. The UK’s university fees tend to be between £10,000-£26,000, although certain degree subjects, such as medicine, can be more costly.

Canada vs the UK: Immigration in 2023

The future of immigration in Canada and the UK is not certain. What we do know is that it is rising in both countries, which means policies will be adapted to fit with the changing circumstances.

The general plan in the UK is to reduce net migration, although there is no confirmed migration target at the moment. However, it is likely that immigration policy will change accordingly, which may mean stricter eligibility requirements and fewer opportunities to switch visas.

In contrast, Canada is hoping to increase net migration, in an effort to boost the economy following the retirement of the Boomer generation. It is already becoming easier for international students, skilled workers and refugees to get a Canadian passport.

There are certain factors that make immigrants more eligible for Canadian or UK citizenship. If you contact us at +44 (0) 3316300929 or +234 13438882, we will ensure your application is as attractive as possible to the Home Office (UK) or the IRCC (Canada).

Get in touch with our expert lawyers for assistance on your immigration application.


Want to Become a Canadian Citizen or a British Citizen?

The UK and Canadian citizenship processes are not always easy to understand, and they change regularly. However, IAS lawyers are up to date with immigration law in both countries.

We can advise you on how to become a permanent resident, and then how to become a citizen.

In the UK and Canada, you need to meet the permanent residency criteria first, which usually involves living and working in the country for a set period of time.

Get in touch with us on +44 (0) 3316300929 or +234 13438882 to find out how you can settle in the UK or Canada and the visa options available. 

Get in touch with our team today to learn more about our professional services.

We offer immigration advice sessions as face to face appointments at all of our UK offices, or via the phone.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The big cities in Canada are often recommended for immigrants due to their thriving international communities and job opportunities.

Popular choices include Toronto (Ontario), Calgary (Alberta), Vancouver (British Columbia) and Halifax (Nova Scotia).

Popular British cities for immigrants include London, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol and Birmingham. 

However, smaller cities and towns should not be dismissed as potential destinations for immigrants. You could consider Plymouth, Belfast, Nottingham or Cambridge.

Canada’s intense weather conditions are not for everyone, particularly people who are accustomed to a mild climate. There are regular warnings of extreme cold, ice storms, and heatwaves (depending on the season).

That being said, there is not one single type of weather in Canada, and it varies significantly between each province.

While parts of Canada are known for their harsh seasons (particularly cold winters), British Columbia has a similar climate to the UK.

The UK’s climate is temperate. There are very few dangerous weather conditions, with flooding being the most likely.

However, as the country is not prepared for harsh weather, living in the UK can be difficult when the seasons change. For example, hot summers with limited air conditioning, or cold winters that lead to expensive energy bills.

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