Moving from UK to Canada

Moving from UK to Canada

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Floydey

Original Poster:

116 posts

113 months

Tuesday 21st April
quotequote all
Hi All,

I've seen a couple of posts on here around emigrating and picked up a few hints/tips, but thought I'd pop my own up with a few questions if anyone is kind enough to offer some insights

I've got a young family, me, my wife, a 1 year old (16 months if you ask the wife) and another on the way later in the year. We've been looking at our options and after several months of discussions we are almost settled on relocating to Ottawa. Something about the quieter life (we live in a City now), the likelihood of a bigger home, more areas to explore, whilst still having some form of NHS and English speaking community.

We've got a couple of options -
(a) My current employer have facilities in Ottawa among other Canadian cities, and would be willing to sponsor me moving across but it would mean a slight career change and around 6 months of studying to gain a professional accreditation to support this
or
(b) my existing skills/experience are on the NOC list (I'm no expert, but looked it up), and personally I'd prefer to keep doing what I'm doing, but this would mean handling all the visas/moves/finances/etc. myself

I'm not set on either, but have also had no experience of living overseas bar a few months in the forces in the late 90's early 00's and an extensive travel background from my work, though this mainly tends to be East rather than West.

Has anyone already trod this path, and could offer some insight?
I'm sure there are plenty of other factors to figure, but we've been talking about this for coming up a year and it'd be good to start making real steps
TIA


RDMcG

15,888 posts

166 months

Tuesday 21st April
quotequote all
Give the state of the economy in the current CV crisis I would be inclined to go with existing employer. Gives you a head start here, and there is enough to do to get settled in..house move etc. Ottawa is a reasonably quiet place..lots of government stuff of course, plus a fair bit of technology. Small city, but very little violence or crime.

Rich_AR

1,534 posts

163 months

Tuesday 21st April
quotequote all
Fellow Brit here in BC, I moved over last year. Not quite my first rodeo of living abroad. I left the UK 10+ years ago and lived in a few countries since then.

I cannot comment on Ottawa but Canada in general is a brilliant place to live if you love the outdoors, wide open spaces and want to live in a bigger house than UK standards.

I recently bought a house in the mountains (in a ski resort actually) It's peaceful, amazing outdoors (as you'd imagine), awesome mountain biking and skiing, not forgetting the lovely fresh air.

As RDMcG said, I'd also stick with your employer to get you over here and then suss it out. My PR took almost 3 years to come through! So depending on your age, degree and CRS points it might be faster for you.


Edited by Rich_AR on Tuesday 21st April 23:06

Welshbeef

42,325 posts

157 months

Tuesday 21st April
quotequote all
OP given the lockdown we currently are working through why not do the study in all this spare non working time. Get the certificate - gives you options.

As for moving overseas I’ve worked with a few who have done it.
Feedback
1. USA Dallas (and a few other places I forget).
He had to move out first without wife and kids for 6 months flying back once a month or so.
The loneliness got to him, he was essentially living in a hotel to start and then quickly into a sort of complex nice big apartment is the best way I’d describe it with a lot of outdoor space incl a pool.
No one on his work did any socialising it was get to work do the job then home - a reason for this was the huge commutes they all seemed to be doing (hours each way).
He joined lots of sports clubs etc to try to “make friends” but it was so hard as groups/cliques all done. There wasn’t a pub scene /“locals pub”.
Anyway his wife and kids moved out they sold up from U.K. spent 5 years out there and then moved back to the U.K.

2. Boston
This guy loved it utterly loved it- but really disliked the tiny amount of annual leave given. He also didn’t like not having Xmas at Xmas instead at “fall”
He also put on huge amounts of weight as it’s cheap and lots of steak etc to eat.
Didn’t rate the beers at all weak and well not UK or German. Also no cider anywhere & him being a west country boy that was missed.
Still lives out there - 3 years and counting.

3 Bulgaria.
15 years ago very messy divorce and ended up not having any contact with his own parents or siblings or his own kids...
Anyway bought land built a house for very little, literally middle of nowhere. The sole job he could do that paid was Taxi driver but working massive hours 7 days a week which on the fare alone a 6 hour return trip £40 before taxes running costs (fuel barely different to U.K. when I’ve been there).
Seems to love it - but he is an extreme socialist.
He doesn’t speak the language nor has he tried

g35x

79 posts

142 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Hi Floydey

I moved to Toronto in 2001 from London and have been here ever since. Like RDMcG mentioned I would definitely immigrate with the support of your employer, I've seen many English speaking people arrive and struggle to re-establish their careers. Here is a quick list of pro's and con's from my perspective:

Pros
- housing is better value, Toronto is expensive but still significantly cheaper that London or NYC
- good work life balance, people here generally 'work to live' not vice versa (commutes are shorter and less painful)
- generally less materialistic than UK, more focus on quality of life
- great place to raise a family; good social integration, reasonable schools, low crime, no asbo culture

Cons
- jobs generally don't seem to pay as well here, people are often initially shocked at the compensation vs cost of living
- food, drink and eating out is generally more expensive; less options as well as most restaurants are part of large chains
- no pub culture, no locals, country pubs and beer gardens are pretty much non-existent here
- the roads are nowhere near as fun to drive as UK/Europe, and cars are generally expensive (esp 2nd hand)

I glad I made the move and would never return to the UK, but when I visit I miss the culture and history of the UK.

Happy to field any specific questions !

RDMcG

15,888 posts

166 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Let me add to that offer. Live in downtown Toronto and have lived in Montreal. Came here in the mid seventies so familiar with the place.

Happy to give you a sense of the place. Obviously right now the real estate market is at a standstill due to CV and I expect prices will fall so in the short term might want to rent and keep an eye on the market .

Floydey

Original Poster:

116 posts

113 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Thanks for all the replies

Whilst not my preferred route, I think from the sounds of things the company sponsored route will be the 'safest' way to get across, I've set some time aside to get going with the relevant training so hopefully can wrap things up this year (though they have said if I'm 'in training' they'll still have me over sooner, pre Covid-19).

I think the observations we've made echo most of what's being said, so hopefully no massive shocks;

We'll likely expect to earn a little less, but in terms of property get a bit more (we've got a 3 bed terraced in Bristol at £300k mark, looking at Ottawa outskirts for CAD $500k we'll hopefully be able to pick up something detached, with garages and possibly an acre or two)

We live close to the centre and often need to drive 30-60 minutes to get anywhere with a decent amount of greenery, the draw of the outdoors and in particular big lakes and so on is a massive plus for us

Whilst we are partial to the odd pub lunch, with the young family we often find ourselves only eating out when it's an occasion so I don't think these will be too much of a miss, but the view of being less materialistic and more around the quality of life is exactly what we'd be looking for so it's great to hear

I think our next plans are probably going to circle around getting across for a visit. We were due to head to the Canary Islands then probably Germany late summer (family) but all those are seemingly cancelled, so frees up the cash for flights/hotels.

I think one key thing that may sway things is the wellbeing of my better half. She's always struggled with integrating quickly and is the type who normally needs to thaw before letting barriers down. I have slight reservations the lack of a social scene coupled with a new move could cause some early problems - I think a way to mitigate this would probably be through an ex-pat community. I've heard there are plenty out there (my office in Ottawa has something like 10% natives and 90% imports!), does this sound there/thereabouts?

Thanks again all


Welshbeef

42,325 posts

157 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Remember one thing
Going somewhere on holiday always always is better than living somewhere you simply never see the negatives and are in holiday mode and rightly so.

Also coming back is hard - as in moving back.

Also visiting family or family visiting you or friends is extremely costly and whilst the idea oh you can stay with us for free in Canada what you’ll find is if it happens it’s a one off or never transpires.
We have that literal example in the U.K. where friends moved from here to Cornwall - initially trip/S but then life gets in the way and it’s now coming up for two years and COVID-19: counting too.
If that’s fine then great.

What about the welfare state healthcare schooling- impact on kids losing all their friends /starting again. That’s hard for them.

Is there a Canadian state pension
Are dentists free or private

Etc.

I’m sure the lovely posters above can answer all this for you but ask ask ask then ask some more/play devil’s advocate.


(Another plus for a PH on the news yesterday (sadly the shootings in Canada) they had a clip of a petrol station and if I’m correct it works out to be about £0.40-0.50 per ltr of petrol & no diesel at the forcourts.

Rich_AR

1,534 posts

163 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Welshbeef said:
Remember one thing
Going somewhere on holiday always always is better than living somewhere you simply never see the negatives and are in holiday mode and rightly so.

Also coming back is hard - as in moving back.

Also visiting family or family visiting you or friends is extremely costly and whilst the idea oh you can stay with us for free in Canada what you’ll find is if it happens it’s a one off or never transpires.
We have that literal example in the U.K. where friends moved from here to Cornwall - initially trip/S but then life gets in the way and it’s now coming up for two years and COVID-19: counting too.
If that’s fine then great.

What about the welfare state healthcare schooling- impact on kids losing all their friends /starting again. That’s hard for them.

Is there a Canadian state pension
Are dentists free or private

Etc.

I’m sure the lovely posters above can answer all this for you but ask ask ask then ask some more/play devil’s advocate.


(Another plus for a PH on the news yesterday (sadly the shootings in Canada) they had a clip of a petrol station and if I’m correct it works out to be about £0.40-0.50 per ltr of petrol & no diesel at the forcourts.
Welshbeef - Curious, where have you lived other than the UK?

Canadian state pension - Yes and various other retirement options as well (e.g RRSP)
Dentist - Free up to a certain point. Additional work covered by insurance.

Plenty of diesel over here in BC. Petrol has dropped around 40% in the last few weeks.

Floydey

Original Poster:

116 posts

113 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
These are exactly the sort of things that I probably wouldn't have thought of til further down the road, but ideal to get them out now (especially whilst I have time for research)

My firm do have private healthcare and pension/etc. But I'm not sure what the policy for inter-company movement would be, I know its a whole new contract, t&cs and so on.

A big factor will be the house we have in the UK, we plan to keep and put up for rent - we should realistically be looking at 125%-150% of our mortgage as rental depending on where the fallout lands later this year. I haven't even looked yet at moving money between the countries, and where I would have to declare/pay tax on the rental income - anyone already doing/done this?

And for Canada, I think (rightly or wrongly) I read somewhere I couldn't get a mortgage for the first year or so, need to build up credit history and so on, is this similar to the UK?

Rich_AR

1,534 posts

163 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Floydey said:
These are exactly the sort of things that I probably wouldn't have thought of til further down the road, but ideal to get them out now (especially whilst I have time for research)

My firm do have private healthcare and pension/etc. But I'm not sure what the policy for inter-company movement would be, I know its a whole new contract, t&cs and so on.

A big factor will be the house we have in the UK, we plan to keep and put up for rent - we should realistically be looking at 125%-150% of our mortgage as rental depending on where the fallout lands later this year. I haven't even looked yet at moving money between the countries, and where I would have to declare/pay tax on the rental income - anyone already doing/done this?

And for Canada, I think (rightly or wrongly) I read somewhere I couldn't get a mortgage for the first year or so, need to build up credit history and so on, is this similar to the UK?
Your company will probably sign you up on its health insurance plan. They might also offer tax return support for the first few years (mine did) but there are plenty of companies here to assist with tax, including overseas revenue.

You can get a mortgage. Some lenders even have mortgages for newcomers with little or no deposit. I got a normal mortgage within 5 months of been here. I suggest you keep track of all your transactions, where the money came from etc. Lenders here want to see this. Get a credit card soon as you arrive, use it, pay it off to build up credit. Some lenders might also want to see your UK Equifax report as well.



Edited by Rich_AR on Wednesday 22 April 17:33

RDMcG

15,888 posts

166 months

Wednesday 22nd April
quotequote all
Canada has quite good public health care and you qualify for it three months or so after immigrating officially. Standard of care is good. Dental is private however, but most good employers have a dental plan and a supplementary medical plan for drugs etc. This is not the US. You may well have to wait for optional procedures but serious stuff is treated quickly.

No second amendment in Canada so right to bear arms. Gun violence is a fraction of the US per capita, despite the killing spree this week. Vast majority of shootings are Gang on Gang and are drug-related.

State pension is not great...tops up at about $12 k or so, so you need to negotiate pension on the way in.
There are several ways to contribute and get a tax deduction for private pension investments. Look up RRSP and TFSA.

Currently gasoline as about CAN .80/litre- about 2 quid an imperial gallon for regular.

g35x

79 posts

142 months

Monday 27th April
quotequote all
"I have slight reservations the lack of a social scene coupled with a new move could cause some early problems - I think a way to mitigate this would probably be through an ex-pat community. I've heard there are plenty out there (my office in Ottawa has something like 10% natives and 90% imports!), does this sound there/thereabouts?"

In the UK most of my socializing took place after work with my work colleagues, in Canada most of my socializing happens with my neighbors. This might be a factor of having kids and growing up around other families but the after work drinks thing just isn't as ingrained as it is in the UK.

Picking a neighborhood to live in that reflects the kind of community you want to be part of is key, as you point out there is a lot of immigration into Canada so you won't find that many born and bred Canadians in the major cities. That being said most immigrants such as myself consider themselves to be very much Canadian.



RDMcG

15,888 posts

166 months

Monday 27th April
quotequote all
g35x said:
"I have slight reservations the lack of a social scene coupled with a new move could cause some early problems - I think a way to mitigate this would probably be through an ex-pat community. I've heard there are plenty out there (my office in Ottawa has something like 10% natives and 90% imports!), does this sound there/thereabouts?"

In the UK most of my socializing took place after work with my work colleagues, in Canada most of my socializing happens with my neighbors. This might be a factor of having kids and growing up around other families but the after work drinks thing just isn't as ingrained as it is in the UK.

Picking a neighborhood to live in that reflects the kind of community you want to be part of is key, as you point out there is a lot of immigration into Canada so you won't find that many born and bred Canadians in the major cities. That being said most immigrants such as myself consider themselves to be very much Canadian.
Agree,..choice of neighbourhoods matters.if you have kids then best to go somewhere with good schools in your neighbourhood ( you generally don't have much of a choice unless you go private), and also where there are some parks and playgrounds. Typically the people in the nabe will be similar.
I am past that and live in a very old part of Toronto where I know lots of people in the area. Most of them do not have young children either by choice or because kids have grown up. It is very friendly and avoids the snobbishness of some other parts of the city. On the other hand the schools in my area are poor. Each to his own of course.