Moving Back to Canada
Moving Back to Canada

Moving Back to Canada from the UK


Introduction

Returning to Canada from the UK would seem to be a pretty straightforward move. After all, Canada is a former English colony, we share a common national language, and both countries are progressive and modern societies.

Whether you considering moving to Canada from England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, or from the Republic of Ireland, there are many similarities. But there are also many differences between the UK and Canada. This resource is designed to help you understand some of the differences in order to help you decide two things:

  1. If the move back to Canada makes sense for you, and...
  2. How to make it a smooth and happy return to Canada if you do decide to move back.

Most of the questions I have received from Canadian expatriates living in the UK have come from indecision around whether it makes sense to move back given their particular situation. Unlike their American counterparts who generally want to know the "hows" of moving back, Canadians living in the UK are more focused on the "should I move back?" question.

Let's start by looking at the commonalities and differences from the context of consideration of a move back to Canada:

Some of the commonalities between Canada and the UK:


Some of the differences between Canada and the UK, in the context of a potential move back:


How does this help you understand whether to move back to Canada?


Perhaps the following three questions can help you gain some clarity on moving back, and whether it makes sense for you:

  1. Are you deeply embedded in the UK culture and society? If yes, removing yourself from the UK culture and trying to establish yourself in Canada will be a shock...and perhaps an unhappy shock that could take years to come to terms with.

  2. Canada is a vast place. It is not a "hop, skip, and a jump" away from Paris, per my example above. While the UK is more costly to live in than Canada, wages and salaries in Canada are much lower, on average. This makes it harder to live an easy-flowing international lifestyle. If you live an urban, sophisticated, European-connected life in the UK, are you willing to give up that geographic accessibility and lifestyle to live in Canada?

  3. How are you oriented? Toward creating your own life and culture or toward fitting into another? If you are a free thinker and love creating your own life amid tremendous physical, mental, and social freedom, Canada is for you. If you want to instantly plug into a culture that fits who you are and that gives you a sense of personal security, the UK is perhaps a better choice (assuming the UK culture is the one you want to plug into!)

Resources for returning to Canada from the UK

Moving your belongings

Unless you plan to bring a few suitcases and boxes with you by air, a 20' or 40' container works well. The sea route between the UK and North America is direct and well-serviced by shipping companies, making a move to eastern and central Canada (Toronto, Ottawa, etc.) a pretty standard and modestly priced move.

What to bring:

Due to shipping costs, low-value items and those that won't be of use in Canada (appliances that run on 220v) are not worth shipping.

Some general items that are worth shipping to Canada with you:

What not to bring:


Taxes


As mentioned above, Canada and the UK have a tax treaty and so you won't have major problems sorting out your taxes when you move back to Canada.

If your situation is complicated I recommend getting professional advice from a tax accountant in Canada who specializes in international taxes.

Foreign Exchange


This may be a bit tricky. The UK economy is very different than Canada's and the currencies will not move in a predictable pattern between each other. Here is a 4 year graph of the GBP-CAD exchange rates, created using data courtesy of CanadianForex.ca:



As of the latest upate of this chart, the GBP has generally returned to 2013 levels vis a vis the CAD due to BREXIT impacts, indicating that this is not a particularly good time to convert your funds to CAD if you are planning on moving back soon and plan on moving your money to Canada permanently. It is anticipated that ongoing fluctuations will be the norm for some time as BREXIT negotiations impact real and perceived implications for people and organizations.

Some foreign exchange considerations:



Your ideas, considerations, and experiences?

Canadians living in the UK considering moving back to Canada: Please share your ideas, thoughts, and experiences relating to returning to Canada from the UK. This is a new page and your input will really help others who are considering the move as well. I will post them here as help for others. Along with a credit to you will be a big thank you on behalf of the many people you will be helping!

Thank you!

Paul Kurucz
Canada


This page up to date as of September 2017



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Have questions?


I offer professional support to help you prepare for a smooth and easy return to Canada so you can feel confident and organized!


Paul Kurucz

Paul Kurucz - Canada


A happy client:

Hi Paul,

Just to update you - we landed and sailed through customs! So thank you so much for all of your advice...It was a thoroughly pleasant experience...

... this is to say thank you for everything. Your advisory has been so incredibly helpful and saved us considerable time and removed room for error.

With best wishes,

Caroline

Paul's professional support




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