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What is the Visa Process when Moving to Canada from the UK

By Quality Move Management Inc / October 21, 2019

Since certain events began transpiring a few years ago, we have seen an influx of Brits moving to Canada from the UK, in search of a fresh start. If not relocating, many Brits have at least been researching the relocation process and Canada visas for UK citizens.

Whether moving to Canada is a rushed decision to avoid Brexit or it is a lifelong goal of yours, there are many options and Canadian visas for British Citizens. 


International Experience Canada

If you are emigrating to Canada from the UK temporarily while the dust settles, you can apply for the International Experience Canada (IEC). 

You can apply for the IEC if you are between 18 and 30 years old, and it could enable you to apply for temporary working visas for two years. 

If your application for the International Experience Canada is accepted, you will enter a ballot with other applicants and random draws will be held throughout the year. If you are lucky enough to be picked in the draw, you can then apply for a temporary working visa. The conditions of the IEC and working visas are you must have minimum funds of $2,500 upon arrival, proof of adequate health insurance and a return ticket arranged. 


If you are a UK citizen moving to Canada over the age of 30, a permanent residency visa is your main entry route. Approximately 7,000 to 9,000 UK expats gain permanent residency status in Canada every year, and there is a multitude of options to help you do so, too. 

Skilled Workers and Professionals

The most popular route of entry when permanently moving to Canada from the UK over 30 is with a skilled worker visa. There are three options for the British moving to Canada under the skilled visa:

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

Provided you satisfy specific requirements and hold the relevant qualifications for each immigration program, you might be eligible to apply for any of the above visas on an Express Entry. 

Express Entry does what it says on the tin. It is an online system that the Canadian government uses to manage and fast track any applications for permanent residency for skilled workers. If your Express Entry application meets the minimum requirements, you could receive permanent residency within six months.  

Federal Skilled Worker Program

The Federal Skilled Worker visa allows people to immigrate to Canada based on their particular skill set or work experience. Eligibility for a Skilled Worker Visa in Canada requires:

  • A job offer; or
  • Be eligible to work in Canada; or
  • Be able to fund yourself and any dependents upon arrival in Canada financially
  • Have at least one years' full-time skilled work experience 
  • Meet language requirements in English or French
  • Possess a post-secondary certificate, diploma or Bachelor's degree
  • Plans to live outside of Quebec

Your work experience must be listed under the Canadian National Occupational Classification, and be Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or Skill Level B. Your experience must be full-time, which is 30 hours per week, the hours must be paid and have taken place within the last ten years. However, these limitations do not apply if you hold a permanent job offer before moving to Canada. 

It is essential to know that eligibility for the Skilled Worker Visa is also based on a points system. You need to have at least 67 points, and you receive points based on the following:

  • Your educational history
  • Your English or French language abilities 
  • Your work experience 
  • If you have pre-arranged employment in Canada
  • Adaptability to life in Canada
  • Your age

Federal Skilled Trades Program

The Federal Skilled Trades visa is for those who want to become a permanent resident in Canada based on if they are qualified in a skilled trade. Similarly to the Federal Skilled Worker visa, to apply for a Skilled Trades program, the profession under which you applying must be listed under a specific number of groups in the National Occupational Classification. 

To be eligible for the Federal Skilled Trades visa, you must be able to meet specified requirements;

  • Meet certain English language levels for reading, writing, listening and speaking
  • Have two years of full-time work experience in a skilled trade within the five years before your application
  • Satisfy job requirements for that trade that is set out in the National Occupational Classification
  • Have a valid job offer for full-time employment; or
  • Have a job offer for a total period of one year; or
  • Have a certification of qualification in that trade, issued by a Canadian territorial, provincial or federal authority

You will likely have to be assessed by the province or territory for your trade, and you might need additional training from a Canadian employer.

Canadian Experience Class

The Canadian Experience Class visa is for those who are currently working in Canada on a Skilled Workers or Trades visa and want to become a permanent resident. 

The immigration program requires you to have lived in Canada for at least one year before you apply, and it is an extension of Canada's Express Entry immigration system. 

Candidates submit an 'Expression of Interest' through creating an online profile, and any eligible candidates have their profile accepted into Express Entry pool and scored under the Comprehensive Ranking System.

The eligibility criteria for the Canadian Experience Class is as follows;

  • Have at least one-year full-time skilled work experience in Canada within the last three years
  • Work experience in Canada must be obtained on a valid work permit and must be classed as skill type 0, A or B under the National Occupational Classification
  •  Meet the required language levels needed for the job for speaking, reading, writing and listening ability 
  • Must not plan on living in Quebec
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