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Emigrating to Canada from the UK

If you wish to live, work and study in Canada, our expert immigration lawyers can help you find the perfect visa for your needs.

Call us on 0333 305 9375 for immediate help & assistance with your situation. We’re here to help you in person, via the phone or online.


Emigrating to Canada

Canada is said to be one of the most beautiful and picturesque countries in the world, so it is little wonder that it attracts so many people emigrating from the UK each year.

There are several immigration routes to entering Canada. The most common two ways of staying in this country are work visas and family reunification. In both cases, a visa is required, meaning that applicants must meet specific requirements.

IAS has an in-depth knowledge of the processes involved in emigrating to Canada and, alongside our carefully chosen experts worldwide, we have the experience and the means to help you from the comfort of your current home in the UK.

Call us on 0333 305 9375 to find out more about IAS’ dedicated emigration services. One of our lawyers will be happy to assist you with your case and advise you on how to proceed to submit a succesful application.

Emigrating to Canada Through Family Reunification

If you have a family member who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident of Canada or a person registered in Canada as an Indian under the Canadian Indian Act, you could be eligible to join them on the basis of family reunification, otherwise known as family sponsorship.

The sponsor must live in Canada, unless they are a Canadian citizen who lives abroad and plans to return to Canada when their relative relocates to Canada AND they are sponsoring a spouse, common-law or conjugal partner OR dependent children who have no children.

It is important to note that there are slightly different rules around family reunification if the Canadian resident lives in Quebec.

Family Reunification Application Process

As of February 2023, it costs $1,080 to apply as an adult through the family sponsorship route, and $150 for those classed as dependent children. In most cases, you will need to pay $515 for a right of permanent residence and $85 for the biometric information to be taken.

Usually, the application process for family reunification is as follows:

  1. Get the application package. This includes all the forms which both you and your sponsor will need to complete and a full personalised document checklist
  2. Pay the application fees. This includes the application fee, biometrics fee and the rights of permanent residence fee
  3. Submit the completed application.
  4. Send all additional information. When the application is being processed, you will need to have your biometric information taken and possibly undertake certain medical tests

Emigrating to Canada as a Spouse/Civil Partner of Canadian Resident

The most common family reunification route is through being the spouse/partner of a Canadian resident.

In order to be eligible as the spouse, you must be at least 18-years-old and legally married to your partner.

A ‘common-law partner’ is someone of either sex who:

  • Is at least 18-years-old
  • Isn’t legally married to their sponsor in Canada
  • Has been living with their partner for at least 12 consecutive months and without any long periods apart

You will need to provide certain information to prove the common-law relationship such as rental agreements with both of your names on, and accounts from shared utility bills.

In certain circumstances, if your partner is not living in Canada at the time of the application, you could still be eligible to join them in Canada as the ‘conjugal partner’.

Emigrating to Canada as Dependent Child

You could be eligible to emigrate to Canada if you are the child of a Canadian citizen permanent resident or as the child of the spouse/civil partner who the Canadian resident is sponsoring. In most cases, you must be under 22-years-old and must not have a spouse or common-law partner yourself.

If you are 22-years-old or older, you could still be eligible to emigrate to Canada if:

  • You are unable to financially support yourself because of a mental or physical condition
  • You have depended on your parents for financial support before you were the age of 22

The sponsor must:

  • Be able to prove that they are not receiving social assistance for reasons other than disability
  • Be able to provide the basic needs of any persons they want to sponsor

If the sponsor is a Canadian citizen and they are living outside of Canada at the time of the application, they must show that they have a plan to live in Canada when the person they want to sponsor becomes a permanent resident.

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

Emigrating to Canada as Parent or Grandparent of Canadian Resident

You could be eligible to apply to emigrate to Canada as the parent or grandparent of a Canadian resident, whether you are related by blood or adoption.

Also, if you have divorced or separated from the Canadian resident’s other parent and entered a new relationship, your new partner can be sponsored too.

In this situation, the Canadian resident’s brothers and sisters or half brothers and sisters can only emigrate to Canada if they are classed as dependent children.

Emigrate to Canada as the Relative of a Canadian Resident

Certain other family members of a Canadian resident may also be permitted to emigrate to Canada through the family sponsorship route. If you are the uncle, auntie, brother or sister of the Canadian resident you could be eligible.

A Canadian resident can sponsor one relative, related by blood or adoption, if they have not already adopted one of the following family members:

  • Aunt
  • Uncle
  • Spouse
  • Common-law partner
  • Conjugal partner
  • Son or daughter
  • Parent
  • Grandparent
  • Orphaned brother or sister
  • Orphaned nephew or niece
  • Orphaned grandchild

Also, the Canadian resident must not have any relatives from the list above who are Canadian citizens, permanent residents or registered Indian under the Indian Act.

Canada Family Sponsorship Financial Requirements

If you want to emigrate to Canada through the family sponsorship route, the sponsor will need to provide evidence of their finances to demonstrate that they meet the income requirements.

Ultimately, they need to be able to prove that they have enough money to support themselves and the people they wish to sponsor.

The income which they need to have depends on the number of people they wish to sponsor.

The sponsor will need to provide details of their income for each of the three taxation years before the date of the application.

In 2022, the minimum income requirements for the three taxation years before the date of an application were as follows:

Number of people being sponsored2021202020192018
2 people $32,898$32,270$41,007$40,379
3 people$40,444$39,672 $50,414$49,641
4 people $49,106$48,167$61,209$60,721
5 people $55,694 $54,630 $69,423$68,358
6 people $62,814 $61,613 $78,296$77,095
7 people $69,934$68,598$87,172$85,835
More than 7 people. For each additional person, add$7,120 $6,985 $8,876$8,740

Emigrate from UK to Canada Through Employment

The other main route for emigrating from the UK to Canada is through employment. If you are classed as a skilled worker, you will be able to emigrate to Canada through the Express Entry.

The Canadian government choose skilled workers based on their skills and ability to contribute to the Canadian economy.

To prove that you are eligible for Express Entry, you will need to provide certain information. It is recommended that you begin the process of collating your information before you begin the official profile (more below).

There are three economic immigration programmes under the Express Entry route:

  • Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Federal Skilled Trades Program
  • Canadian Experience Class

The Canada National Occupation Classification

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is a list of all the occupations in the Canadian labour market, categorised according to skill level and skill type.

The main job groups include:

  • Skill Type (0): This is for management jobs such as shore captains, restaurant managers and mine managers
  • Skill Level A: Professional jobs which typically require a degree, such as doctors, dentists, architects, IT professionals
  • Skill Level B: Technical jobs and skilled trades which usually require apprentice training or a college diploma such as plumbers, chefs and electricians
  • Skill Level C: Intermediate jobs which usually require high school and/or job-specific training. This includes workers such as long-haul truck drivers, food and beverage servers and industrial butchers
  • Skill Level D: Labour jobs which usually give on-job training such as cleaning staff, fruit pickers and oil-field workers

Different Economic Immigration Programmes

CriteriaFederal Skilled Worker ProgramFederal Skilled Trades ProgramCanadian Experience Class
Language skillsEnglish or French to CLB 7 standardEnglish or French to CLB 5 standard for speaking and listening and CL4 for reading and writingEnglish or French to CLB 7 standard if your NOC is in 0 or A category, or CLB 5 standard if your NOC is in B category
Level of work experienceCanadian or foreign work experience in one of the following NOCs: 0, A or BCanadian or foreign experience in a skilled trade under key groups of NOC BCanadian experience in 1 of these NOCs: 0, A, B
Amount of work experienceOne-year continuous work experience within the last 10 years. Can be combination of part-time, full-time or more than one jobTwo years within the last 5 years (either combination or full-time or part-time work)One year in Canada in the last 3 years (either combination of full-time or part-time work)
Job offer?Not required, but more selection criteria points awarded for having valid job offerValid job offer of full-time employment for a total period of at least 1 year or a certificate of qualification in that skilled trade issued by Canadian provincial, territorial or federal authority No required
EducationSecondary education required. More selection criteria points awarded for higher educationNot requiredNot required

What is the Express Entry Profile?

The Express Entry profile is where you give information about yourself and any dependents who will be joining you in Canada.

Canadian immigration officials will consider your profile and if they deem you to be eligible for the Express Entry, you will be accepted into the pool of candidates.You will be ranked in the Express Entry pool according to a points-based system.

Your score will be based on the information which you provide in your profile. Invitations to make permanent residence applications are given to the candidates with the highest scores in the pool.

When you receive your invitation, you must complete an online application form. It is important to note that you must submit a permanent residence application within 60 days of your invitation.

Canada Express Entry Required Documents and Fees

Once you have received the invitation to apply, you will need to upload certain documents to your profile.

The system will provide a personalised document checklist when you have completed the permanent residence application form.

When you have completed the online application form and uploaded your documents, you will be notified of the fees which you will need to pay.

Permanent residence application fees (all in Canadian dollars):

  • Application: $1,365
  • Application without permanent residence fee: $850
  • Include spouse/partner: $1,365
  • Include spouse/partner without permanent residence: $850
  • Dependent child: $230

When Will I Receive a Decision?

Canadian immigration officials will assess your application to ensure you meet the eligibility criteria and that you have submitted all necessary documents.

After your applications has been assessed, you will be contacted through your online account about the next steps in the emigration process. One of the requirements is providing your biometric information (fingerprints and photo). You will be notified of where you need to go to provide your biometric information.

You might be requested to provide additional documentation or to possibly attend an interview if immigration officials deem it to be necessary.

In most circumstances, a decision will be reached on your application within six months, and you will be kept updated throughout on your application’s progress.

Can Direct Family Members Join Me if I Emigrate to Canada?

Certain relatives can join you in Canada if you want to emigrate through the Express Entry route. They will be able to live, study and work in Canada on the basis of their relationship to you.

If you wish to act as the Canadian sponsor of your relative/s, there are a number of requirements which you must fulfil. One of the main requirements is being able to demonstrate that you have the financial means to support yourself and your family member in Canada.

In most cases, you will be able to sponsor the following relatives:

  • Spouse/partner
  • Dependent child
  • Parents of you
  • Grandparents of you

Can Other Family Members Join Me if I Emigrate to Canada?

As a permanent resident, you will usually be able to sponsor other relatives in certain circumstances too.

Your can sponsor an orphaned brother, sister, nephew niece or grandchild if the following applies:

  • They are under 18 years of age
  • They are related to you by blood or adoption
  • Their mother and father have passed away
  • They are single (not married or in a common-law or conjugal relationship)

If you have not sponsored any relatives, you will be able to sponsor one relative of any age who is related to you by blood or adoption.

In order to be eligible to sponsor a relative, you must not have any other relative who is a Canadian citizen, permanent resident or registered Indian under the Indian Act.

Canada Study Visas

If you intend to study at a Canadian educational institution, you must apply for a study permit. This will allow you to live and study in Canada for the duration of your course or program.

To be eligible, you must:

  • Have been accepted by a school, college, university or other educational institution in Canada
  • Prove that you have enough funds for your tuition fees and living expenses
  • Provide a police certificate to demonstrate that you have no criminal record.
  • Be in good health.

Nevertheless, you may not require a study permit to go to school in Canada if:

  • Your course or program lasts least than 6 months
  • You are a family member or staff of a foreign representative to Canada
  • You are a member of a foreign armed force

Emigrating to Canada Through Investment

Canada offers a wide range of investment-based immigration programs which can lead to permanent resident status.

This includes:

  • The Quebec Immigration Investor Program (QIIP), for those who have a personal net worth of $2 million and two years of management experience.
  • The Quebec Entrepreneur Program, for foreign investors with a personal net worth of $10 million.
  • The Quebec Self-Employed Programs, which are aimed at ambitious individuals with a mid-range personal net worth who intend to establish and operate their business in Canada.
  • The Federal Immigrant Investor Venture Capital (IIVC) Pilot Program, for investors who have a net worth of $1.6 million and are willing to invest at least $800,000 for five years.
  • The Federal Start-Up Visa Program
  • The Investor Program, suited for high net worth individuals who wish to make a passive investment with no obligation and establish their business in Canada.

If you wish to investigate the Canadian business visa which fits your needs, you can seek the professional advice of one of IAS’ immigration lawyers.

Call us now on 0333 305 9375 to find out more about how we can help you to emigrate from the UK to Canada as an investor.

What are the Other Routes Towards Permanent Residence in Canada?

Aside from the family reunification and skilled worker emigration routes, there are other routes which enable you to emigrate from the UK to Canada and gain permanent residency in the country.

  • Start-up visa. For entrepreneurs looking to start their own business in Canada. You must have a qualifying business, a letter of support from a designated organisation and be able to demonstrate that you have enough money to settle in Canada
  • Atlantic Immigration Pilot. For skilled foreign workers and international graduates who want to work and live in one of Canada’s four Atlantic Provinces: Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia or New Brunswick
  • Provincial nominees. For those who have been nominated by a Canadian province or territory
  • Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot. This is for skilled workers who wish to work and live in a smaller community. The Rural and Northern Immigration pilot is a community-driven program which is designed to spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities.
  • Quebec-selected skilled workers. For those who hold a Quebec Selection Certificate from the Government of Quebec and wish to become permanent residents of Quebec
  • Caregivers. The Home Child Care Provider Pilot and Home Support Worker Pilot scheme enables those who qualify to become permanent residents in Canada
  • Self-employed Persons Program. For those who are self-employed. In order to be eligible, you must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics. You must be willing to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada
  • Agri-Food Pilot. A pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations. (The scheme will be running until May 2023)

What is Canada Electronic Travel Authorization?

You will need an ETA (Electronic Travel Authorization) if you are travelling to Canada by air from a visa-exempt country. This permit is mandatory whether you intend to visit Canada directly or only to pass through in transit.

You are exempt from requiring an ETA if you:

  • Have already obtained a valid visa to enter Canada
  • Are entering Canada by land or sea
  • Are a member of the Armed Forces on official duty
  • Are a member of a flight crew
  • Are a Canadian citizen or dual citizen, or permanent resident
  • Are a US citizen

Seeking professional help to emigrate to Canada

If you wish to relocate to Canada, IAS’ experienced immigration lawyers can assist you and your family, or your business.

We offer a wide range of comprehensive emigration services to help you identify the best route to visit, study, work or live in Canada.

One of our immigration professionals will evaluate your case and guide you through the best route to enter Canada. We will also help you build a strong portfolio of supporting document, and complete your application forms.
Most importantly, we will liaise with the Home Office and the IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada) until your case is solved, and to avoid any delay in your application process.

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Frequently Asked Questions

International visitors travelling to Canada to visit, study or working may need a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV).

Based on your circumstances, you can apply for one of the following non-immigrant visas:

  • Canada Visitor Visa
  • Canada Student Visa
  • Canada Work Visa
  • Parents and Grandparents Super Visa

To find out more about your options to emigrate to Canada as a British citizen, you can get in touch with our professional immigration lawyers.

To apply for a work permit in Canada, you need a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) number from an employer. In other words, you must first get a job offer from a Canadian business.

The LMIA also provides proof that you have the qualifications and the skills needed for that role and confirms that your employer hasn’t found any Canadian available to do it.

Usually, applying from a Canada work permit from the UK requires up to five weeks. This depends on your circumstances, such as if you are travelling with your family.

Don’t forget that you will also need a Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN) to get the job.

Applicants between the age of 18 and 30 who wish to move to Canada may be eligible for the International Experience Canada Program.

This will allow you to get a temporary working visa in Canada for up to two years. However, you must first meet specific requirements, such as have at least $2,500 to sustain yourself financially, proof that you have health insurance and a return ticket to the UK.

Several UK citizens are interested in moving to Canada. Nevertheless, the Canadian government usually do not encourage people to retire in the country.

One of the best options is to move to Canada before you retire. By doing this, you can have some time to work and achieve permanent residency before changing your status.

However, it must be noted that your UK state pension will not receive the benefit of the “triple lock” guarantee, meaning that the pension payment will remain static at the point at which you leave the UK.

The Canada Super Visa allows eligible parents and grandparents to visit their family in this country for up to two years without the need to renew their status. This is a multi-entry visa, which is valid for up to 10 years.

Applications for this permit must be submitted from outside Canada. Besides, applicants must demonstrate your eligibility and obtain medical insurance from a Canadian insurance company that is valid for at least one year.

Get in touch with IAS’ immigration lawyers to find out more about our services for Family Visas Canada.

All international visitors, unless exempted, must obtain a visa before arriving in Canada. All UK visitors in Canada require a Tourist Visa when they appear at a port of entry.

To apply for a Tourist Visa, you must submit your application to the responsible Canadian visa office in your region.

You may also need to attend an interview, where the visa officer will enquire about your reasons for visiting Canada and your willingness to leave the country when the visa expires.

Most importantly, you must demonstrate your overall eligibility to be admitted to Canada.

Based on your circumstances, a Canadian Tourist Visa for British visitors may be for single entry or multiple entry use.

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