Tag Archives: Canada

House hunting in Canada – what can you expect to buy

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Heidi G, Sunshine Yellow  Edmonton, Cloverdale

Heidi G, Sunshine Yellow
Edmonton, Cloverdale

Choosing Canada as your new home offers you a wide range of exciting lifestyle changes. One of the biggest will be buying a property in the city or town of your choice. As you’d expect the bigger cities tend to have the highest prices however, in Canada the annual weather, in particular the winter, dictates costs. On the west coast, which has milder weather house prices are higher than the colder east coast.

In June 2015 the average price of a house in Vancouver was  $922,000, which was a 12% increase year on year. Toronto was slightly cheaper at $639,000, whilst you could bag yourself a bargain if you move to Montreal which has house prices at $341,000.

Once you’ve chosen your location, based on your budget and requirements, you’ll need to find a money lender to help you purchase your home and a real estate agent to help you find your home.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recommend that you find a mortgage broker in the following way:

- Make sure they are a member of the Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals and are an Accredited Mortgage Professional (AMP) visit www.caamp.org

Remember as a newcomer to Canada you will need to prove your credit and work history. Your previous credit history may not be relevant to Canadian lenders, so you may need to start from scratch.

A reliable and trustworthy real estate agent is essential if you want to find the home of your dreams. They too can be found in a number of ways. Initially look around in the neighbourhood in which you’re wishing to buy. See whose ‘For Sale’ board is positioned outside homes you would like to live in and go from there. Alternatively talk to work colleagues, friends or your mortgage broker who may be able to help with a suggested contact.

You could also visit the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) website at www.mls.ca. It details all real estate agents and thousands of properties for sale across Canada. Alternatively The Canadian Real Estate Agent has a Find a Realtor section and allows you to search for professionals in your area.

You are likely to find a number of different properties for sale in the area you choose. Some terminology will be familiar to house buyers around the world, but others may be a little confusing.

- A condominium is similar to owning a flat or unit within a shared building. In these properties you own the living space but not the building or outside land.

- A townhouse sees you purchasing a home much like terraced housing. You have your own front door but the property is attached to other similar buildings.

- Semi-detached and detached homes either have just one other building attached to them (semi) or are free standing (detached) within their own plot of land.

Once you have found your dream home you will be expected to make an offer. A period of negotiation will then follow, in which the price will go up and down. When the offer is eventually accepted – the ‘Offer to Purchase’ – you’ll need to find a lawyer and request a home inspection report to check out your new property. House sales usually go through within a 30-60 day time frame and the day you sign the legal documents is called ‘Closing Day’. At this time you may also be expected to pay your legal and other fees.

For detailed information about how to purchase a home in Canada visit http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/66687.pdf and http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/odpub/pdf/66144.pdf

If you are considering a move to Canada PSS International removals can help. We are a family run company and our desire is to ensure your family receives a friendly, professional and stress free overseas move. We have specialised in international removals for over 33 years, so whether you are planning on sending a full or part household removal, excess baggage or a vehicle we recognise the importance of ensuring our customers receive the same level of care and attention that we would expect ourselves.

Contact us now for a free estimator’s survey.

Inheritance planning as an expat

 

Peter-Ashley Jackson  money makes the world go round

Peter-Ashley Jackson
money makes the world go round

 

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Moving your family overseas often comes with the need to plan for their long-term future and it’s essential to keep your financial affairs in solid, working order. It’s particularly important to think about how to guard them in the unfortunate case of death or injury.

Be mindful of the influence of local laws – especially when it comes to estate planning and wills. Advice taken locally is key to ensuring that your wishes are carried out when you die and it is often difficult to bypass your children when planning inheritance in comparison to the UK where civil laws operate.

As a basic example, the house that you and your family might have shared in Australia would be automatically passed on to any children and your surviving partner might still be able to use the house but would not be able to sell it without the children’s permission.

Many people find trust schemes a useful platform for estate planning in that they allow a parent to ensure their assets are only passed on to children at a certain age and when they are able to make financially independent decisions. However, UK trust law might not hold up in a civil law jurisdiction, which doesn’t recognise legal structures of this kind. Holding your wealth in an offshore location could also be a way of managing this issue and may help avoid any potential issues.

Some expats often find it difficult to manage their bank account abroad, particularly joint accounts, as in the unfortunate case of death; the survivor may not be able to access the funds.

When it comes to securing your Will – if of UK origin, it should be accepted almost everywhere in Europe. However, it can be a good idea to exclude your foreign property from the main Will and have a separate Will drafted up in local form for dealing with the property in that country. Without a Will, your home will not necessarily be passed on to your loved ones in the way you would hope.

It is also worth bearing in mind that inheritance laws vary worldwide and are often highly complex, but with proper planning it is possible to pass on a legacy to your family without incurring a crippling tax bill.

In many countries inheritance tax is charged on an estate when someone dies. The important thing for expats to remember is that inheritance tax is based on your domicile and/or your residency. If you are domiciled or deemed domicile in the UK, you could be liable for UK inheritance tax on all of your assets worldwide, even if you live in another country.

Claiming back tax before you leave the UK can be very advantageous, even though completing a tax refund application can be a daunting task for anyone. However, PSS International Removals can happily refer you to one of our tax-back agents who will prepare and submit a claim on your behalf.

This will ensure that all of the information and evidence is provided correctly to the HMRC who can also review tax payments dating back 6 years and claim back any over payments at the same period. Furthermore, our tax-back agent is based in the UK and can offer a free, no obligation initial consultation. Please click this link to complete a form for more information or for our partner to contact you.

 

Canadian Immigration. A new perspective?

Anyone looking at emigrating to Canada over the last 5-6 years’ would not be condemned for thinking that all the cards were stacked against them; limited eligible occupation lists, tedious processing times and an antiquated application system.

It appeared that in general, the only way to get to Canada was through a validated job offer or obscure Provincial Nominee programs that required rural settlement.

Image by Mike Wilson RCIC

Image by Mike Wilson RCIC

Well hold on to your hat, Canada has now entered the 21st century with the bright and shiny ‘Express Entry’ online application system.

Why the sudden change in tack and is Express Entry all it’s cracked up to be?

Borne out of the need to reduce unmanageable waiting lists, and political emphasis on attracting residents rather than temporary Workers, EE is designed to process applications within 6 months and is open to all candidates subject to eligibility, without occupation lists (but still of a certain skill level).

Of course the downside is that previous entry routes under Temporary Work Permits and validated job offers are being squeezed to make way for the anticipated extension of new Permanent Residents. The old LMO has been replaced with the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) which Canadian employers are charges $1000 per candidate (successful or not) and far stricter regulations.

Study permits which used to have dedicated Permanent Residency programs, do not have guaranteed anymore.

The devil’s in the detail

Any interested in moving to Canada may be under the impression that EE is part of the application program, on closer inspection this is not the case. Express Entry is merely an ‘expression of interest’ where your profile score is ranked against all other profile scores; minimum scores are regularly ‘invited to apply’ every few weeks via a draw system.

Fundamentally the old Federal Skilled Worker Program (FSW) remains the same apart from the exclusion of the occupation list – you still have to score 67 points out of 100 to be eligible under FSW or other Immigration Programs, to have a profile.

It’s rather like sending off your CV for a job offer you’ve seen; Express Entry doesn’t mean that you’ll be invited for interview, or even get the job.

Mike Wilson RCIC

Image by Mike Wilson RCIC

The system is designed so that Canada can fine tune their intake every week or two; some concerns have been raised that ultimate decisions are made in a back room far away from transparent selection criteria. Who checks the checkers’?

Be careful of what you wish for

Another fundamental change in emphasis is the fact that anyone profile selected and invited to apply for Permanent Residency only has 60 days from notification, to submit a full application, all documentation and forms – a heavy task without preparation. Imagine being away on holiday for two weeks and your ITA comes through; by the time you’re back and ready to start, you could be down to 30-40 days!

Approach, but approach with caution

Understanding Express Entry will lead you to the Promised Land – possibly. Having a profile doesn’t mean that the hard work is done. Points can change over time (age/ language ability/ education/ work Experience) – how will your points change and will you have a high enough ranking to get an ITA?

Presently, this is an unknown as no one can be sure where the minimum points within Express Entry will settle down to; some think between 400-430, some to below 400. What is certain though, is that a validated job offers or Provincial nomination will usually guarantee an invitation to apply, so exploration of your options is essential in conjunction with regular profile updates as your profile information MUST match your full application.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss

So in a way nothing has changed but everything has!

Canada has set targets that will increase Permanent Residents (up to 285,000 per year) probably at the expense of Work Permits. Whether this will take a year or two to filter through, as CIC and the Provinces tackle bloated lists, and applications submitted from previous years, is yet to be seen.

A closer look indicates that Federal Skilled Worker PRs will be in the region of 20-30,000 this year as initial ITAs will be concentrated on applicants in jobs, in Canada, under a temporary status.

No more occupation lists, but the fundamentals of a Federal Skilled Worker application remain the same (all be it online and government fees only payable by Credit card). A pre-qualification database of those wishing to apply for a Federal Economic Immigration Program that has its own intricacies and Cul-de-sacs, but in essence still the same emphasis on Language skills, education and work experience.

Express Entry? Let’s see if the train leaves the station and arrives on time!

A personal viewpoint by Mike Wilson RCIC

Canadian Immigration Consultant, based in the UK

www.canadaimmigrationsolutions.com

enquiries@canadaimmigrationsolutions.co.uk

 

How to live a healthier life abroad

"Fruit Stall in Barcelona Market" by By en:User:Daderot. - First uploaded to en:wiki on 5 Apr 2005.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg#/media/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg

“Fruit Stall in Barcelona Market” by By en:User:Daderot. – First uploaded to en:wiki on 5 Apr 2005.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg#/media/File:Fruit_Stall_in_Barcelona_Market.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

For those of you in search of greener grass, the transition overseas can at times prove testing. With this in mind, planning ahead is vital to ensure that your time spent abroad will be fun, rewarding and healthy! PSS International Removals are here to help with some top tips to abide by.

Before leaving, educate yourself about the correct type of food, the right amount of exercise and an advisable standard of living you should be adhering to. Read the right books and magazines but always consult with a nutritionist if you feel that they might be able to help you further.

When it comes to exercise – don’t overdo it. Pushing yourself too hard when you’re just beginning is never a good thing. You have to ease your way into a new regime, so pushing your body too much at first will not only drain you physically, but could cause you unnecessary pain and injury. Exercise doesn’t always have to involve an exhaustive gym workout either. It could even be as simple as a short run along the beach or a few press-ups at home but the key thing is to raise your heart rate – wherever you may be and however much time you may have.

As expats, you are unlikely to have the time to prepare fresh food, at least at the first stages, meaning you may rely on ready-made meals. Go back to basics. No matter where you are in the world, there are always local markets selling the simplest, freshest ingredients. Always drink between 8-10 glasses of water a day. Water aids digestion and increases your memory and concentration. It also keeps your skin well nourished so don’t ignore its hidden strengths.

Working a busy expat job in a humid climate can mean that your sleep patterns and body clock will become disrupted. Always try and achieve a minimum of 6-8 hours of sleep a night, do not sleep with the TV on and avoid reading your favourite book before bedtime. These habits will only serve to keep your mind busy and awake throughout the night. Plan a bedtime routine to get your body clock set to sleep at a certain time. Listen to relaxing ambient or classical music, try experimenting with meditation and dim your lighting to relax your mind and rest your body.

Your home away from home should always be a sanctuary. Minimise your time spent in front of a laptop or computer and socialise with your colleagues away from the office and with your friends and family whenever possible. If you have children, engage in activities other than gathering around the television before, during or after dinner time. Engage with them using real toys instead of tablet apps or computer games. Open your windows, breathe in the fresh air and bask in natural sunlight as much as possible. Also try buying a few plants to improve the air quality.

Living in a new country can mean that some of the things you’re used to may not be as readily available as they might be back home. With this in mind, look into various food substitutes  and plan your meals accordingly. You may even have to learn to become comfortable with substitutes not only when it comes to food, but with regards to your exercise schedule as well. Since gym memberships can be expensive and time consuming, you may have to accept something as simple as completing regular household chores to keep your body active.

Don’t disregard the importance of your mental health as well. After all, a healthy body does lead to healthy mind so avoid reacting to stress as much as possible. Always take short breaks from your work for at least 20 minutes a day and aim to divert your mind completely from things that may make you unhappy or distract you.

Despite what many people might think, smoking and drinking are not effective stress relievers. Sure, they might distract you from your problems for a brief period of time, but in the end they will only serve to create more stress and ruin your body. Maximize your free time, do what makes you happy and surround yourself with good people. A healthy lifestyle can be achieved by anyone, anywhere in the world. You just need the right information, a positive frame of mind and to accept that it’s not really as difficult as you think it might be.

Moving to a new country is not as easy or controllable as moving domestically. Although international movers do their best to minimise issues, problems can occur on route through shipping, at destination with customs officials and anywhere in-between.

To make your move abroad as easy and stress-free as possible, PSS International Removals can deliver services such as motor vehicle shipping, baggage shipments and shipping services to any international destination, with the most popular including Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa, USA and UAE.

Get in touch with PSS to find out how we can help: http://www.pssremovals.com/

 

Get Packing with A 10% Discount for Students on Excess Baggage

 

"Graduating students" by Sasikiran 10 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graduating_students.JPG#/media/File:Graduating_students.JPG

“Graduating students” by Sasikiran 10 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Graduating_students.JPG#/media/File:Graduating_students.JPG

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

10% off your Excess Baggage order here: https://www.pssremovals.com/facebook 

As a student you may have arrived to study in a new country with nothing more than a rucksack of clothes, your laptop and some favourite foods. Skip forward a year and you’ve suddenly found yourself with excess baggage that includes a guitar, a desk and a stash of course books – all of which you want to take back home with you.

Not much of a problem if your parents are coming to collect you and they can throw it all in the back of their car but more of an issue if home is several thousand miles away.

With budgets squeezed and airlines limited on what they can and can’t take the easiest and cheapest option could be an international removal service such as PSS, especially as we are now offering a 10% discount to students (code – students2015).

While taking an extra suitcase on an airplane may sometimes be the best option, especially if it’s fairly small, shipping home your cello or a few boxes of keepsakes needs specialist care and consideration.

At PSS we can tailor our Excess Baggage service to fit your requirements. If you need your belongings quickly, and have a bit more money to spend, you might like to consider the express airline rates. If however, money is tight and you’re not in any hurry, our sea freight delivery service may suit you better. Whatever your budget, we have a delivery option to suit you.

We can also offer you great deals on packing options. Whereas some companies may insist you have a standard size box or crate, regardless of what you have to pack, PSS have different shaped cartons for different shaped options.

We can also give you separate quotes if you have more unusual objects to send on. Want that snowboard shipped back? How about the trumpet you can’t be parted with? PSS can do it. These items will be priced individually and quotes are dependent upon their weight.

With the offer including free cartons and packing materials as well as free delivery and collection service for customers inside the M25, and just a small charge for outside delivery and collection outside, PSS really do have a student’s best packing interests at heart.

For more information go to: https://www.pssremovals.com/excess-baggage PSS International Removals have specialised in shipping excess baggage and luggage to a number of worldwide destinations such as Australia, South Africa and the USA for over 32 years. We handle thousands of baggage consignments each year ranging from shipments as small as 1 carton to larger shipments of 20 cartons. Our vast experience and expertise in moving baggage consignments is just one of the reasons why we are known as the UK’s 1st choice for sending baggage overseas.

Excess Baggage services

"Belber Crocodile Trunks and Luggage" by Sandrine Z - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Belber_Crocodile_Trunks_and_Luggage.jpg#/media/File:Belber_Crocodile_Trunks_and_Luggage.jpg

“Belber Crocodile Trunks and Luggage” by Sandrine Z – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Belber_Crocodile_Trunks_and_Luggage.jpg#/media/File:Belber_Crocodile_Trunks_and_Luggage.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

10% off your Excess Baggage order here: https://www.pssremovals.com/facebook 

Leaving one country and returning home to another can bring with it a whole host of complications especially if you have acquired a selection of keepsakes that you just can’t leave behind. A suitcase or bag may have been all you required for the trip over but now you’re looking at boxes and cartons to send back all the books, clothes and kit you can’t live without.

Taking this excess baggage with you could be pricey but PSS International Removals specialises in making it easy and affordable, shipping goods to a number of worldwide destinations such as Australia, South Africa and the USA.

Discovering how much the shipment will cost is simple and all you need to do is fill in the free quotation form at https://www.pssremovals.com/excess-baggage

It’s an easy step-by-step process. You’ll be asked to use the online luggage calculator and select which cartons you think you’ll need.

Each container option is helpfully listed with its measurements beginning with an economy carton which is 46x46x46 cms and 3.4 cubic feet in volume. You’ll also have the choice of tea cartons, book cartons and bike cartons. These all vary in shape and size.

More unusually shaped objects can also be accommodated and popular belongings such as skis, snowboards, guitars and golf clubs can also be sent on to you. You’ll be asked for the weight of these items before you can receive a final costing.

Once you’ve completed the initial forms you’ll be asked to input your destination and the date you intend to leave before getting a quote. If you are happy with the price you can then checkout and pay. If you’d prefer to receive a quote from one of PSS Removals’ many expert advisors you can do so by calling freephone 0800 988 3711 or by Free Mobile 0333 321 2822.

Once your quote is agreed and paid for, PSS will arrange to have your luggage collected and will also give you an estimated time of arrival in your new destination. The size and weight of the package will determine how the goods are returned, either by ship or air, and this too will dictate how long it takes for them to arrive at the new destination. If you don’t have your new address confirmed you can inform PSS at a later date by phone or email.

There really is nothing simpler. This is a popular service with individuals moving home after completing a working visa, study or travel in the UK.

PSS International Removals has specialised in shipping excess baggage and luggage to a number of worldwide destinations such as Australia, South Africa and the USA for over 32 years. We handle thousands of baggage consignments each year ranging from shipments as small as 1 carton to larger shipments of 20 cartons. Our vast experience and expertise in moving baggage consignments is just one of the reasons why we are known as the UK’s 1st choice for sending baggage overseas.

What you need to know about moving to Canada

"Peyto Lake-Banff NP-Canada" by Tobias Alt, Tobi 87 - Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peyto_Lake-Banff_NP-Canada.jpg#/media/File:Peyto_Lake-Banff_NP-Canada.jpg

“Peyto Lake-Banff NP-Canada” by Tobias Alt, Tobi 87 – Own work. Licensed under GFDL via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peyto_Lake-Banff_NP-Canada.jpg#/media/File:Peyto_Lake-Banff_NP-Canada.jpg

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Despite the fact a British speciality food shop recently stopped selling famous UK goods including Marmite and Irn-Bru because they contained ‘unapproved ingredients’, Canada is still the second most popular destination for British expats, behind Australia.

It is also the world’s second-largest country, and was colonised by the British and French in the 15th century, meaning that today it is officially bilingual, with almost a quarter of citizens speaking French. But this isn’t the only reason Canada is popular – the spirit of the kind and generous people, the outdoor lifestyle, the breath-taking scenery, the snowy winters and hot summers all contribute to its magnetic pull.

Most Canadians are fortunate enough to have access to high quality healthcare and for those with a healthy sense of adventure; there is an incredible variety of regions to explore. Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and world-class ski resorts including Whistler and Calgary are just the tip of the iceberg.

Canada is a vast expanse, where locals and tourists alike can holiday in the country every year without getting restless. A trip to see the northern lights in Newfoundland and whale-watching off Vancouver are also experiences you are never likely to forget.

Interestingly, when it comes to the Canuck language, ‘suckers’ are lollipops; ‘noodles’ means pasta; a ‘loonie’ is a dollar; a ‘parkade’ is a multi-storey car park; a ‘gas bar’ is the petrol station and ‘hydro’ means electricity. Ice hockey, known simply as ‘hockey’ in Canada, and lacrosse are the country’s national sports. Mail is never delivered on Saturdays and some famous Canadians include Pamela Anderson, Leonard Cohen, Avril Lavigne, Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey – alrighty then!

Most Canadian emigrants usually require the ‘skilled workers and professionals’ visa, but in order to be successful in obtaining one, you’ll have to prove your worth and unique skillset to the economy. You will be scored on criteria including age and occupation, with 67 points needed to be considered for entry. Failing that there are visas for entrepreneurs and investors, for people who have skills that are needed in a specific province, and family visas for those joining a spouse or family member. For further information, take a look at the Canadian Citizen and Immigration service’s Visa Wizard to see whether you’re eligible.

You must be able to show you have sufficient income to support yourself and any dependants you might have before entering the country, unless you’ve already arranged employment in Canada. And you will also need to pass a medical exam.

A UK state pension is payable, but unfortunately you will not get annual increases in benefit once you have ceased to be resident in the UK. This means your benefit will stay at the same rate as when you left the UK.

You’ll also only need routine vaccinations, though Hepatitis B is recommended, as well as rabies if you are likely to be involved in any activities that might bring you into direct contact with bats, carnivores and other mammals.

Should you decide to emigrate to Canada you’ll be made to feel welcome. The country has one of the highest per capita immigration rates in the world. In fact, according to the Canadian immigration service the country attracted between 240-265,000 new permanent residents in 2013 alone.

Unfortunately, this rise in popularity is occasionally exploited by scammers so a specialist removals company such as PSS International Removals and their partners can safely guide you through the tricky business of applying for a Canadian visa. Although you’ll generally find the visa application process greatly improved by obtaining a job offer, PSS works closely with a number of visa specialist partners to ensure that you receive a successful migration. If you would like one of our partners to contact you and assist with your visa application process, please complete this form.

 

Some useful expat blogs worth reading during the Christmas break

By Muffet [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Muffet [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

Australia is currently the most popular destination with British expats, followed by Spain, the USA and Canada. New Zealand also has one of the highest proportions of expats with a growing 230,000-strong community making up 5% of the country’s total population. With so many Britons living abroad it’s unsurprising that many have set up expat blogs or forums to communicate with friends and family back home as well as other British expats around the world.

If you might need some more resources to read up about what it might be like to be an expat abroad; or maybe you are already living overseas and need some new perspectives and inspiration, one of the best places to start is BritishExpats.com – with expats from all over the world asking questions concerning topics such as food, car rentals, pensions, child and family issues amongst many others. For a whole host of blogs from all across the world just visit Expat Blog, a site that currently hosts well over 5,000 blogs written by expats. Below are some of our favourite blogs from around the world, dedicated to expat life.

British expats in the USA seem to be very adept at keeping their blogs up-to-date and packed with interesting stories. From Sheep to Alligators is a one such example, featuring the exploits of a British expat who swapped the North Of England for sunny Florida. Stories such as ‘British TV vs American TV’, ‘how I watch BBC iPlayer in USA’ and ‘Living in the USA: My Culture Shock Top 10’ are prime fodder for those looking to move abroad or those who can already call themselves expats.

For those considering a move to Australia, Poms in Oz is a very popular forum with a strong British contingent, dedicated to people migrating to Australia. Many of the community are expats based in Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland, with migration issues always one of the hot topics covered.

You can also find large groups of British expats on Meetup, a website dedicated to organising events and meeting new people. Two examples are the Sydney British Expats Meetup Group and the Melbourne British Expats Meetup Group, both responsible for arranging a host of events that will appeal to British expats in Australia.

One of the best British expat blogs in Spain is called rather imaginatively A Brit In Spain – an honest depiction of the simple life in Spain is its main appeal. MySpain is also a popular choice consisting of discussion area with advice on moving abroad.

Should you be looking for a selection of great UK expat blogs then A Lady In London is a blog about life in London, but also covers travel to other countries, recommending hotels, foods and a variety of destinations around the world. Bringing Up Brits deals specifically with the trials and joys of having a family in a new country. The Fly Away American blog covers things to see and do in the UK, advice on travelling both within the country and around the world, and how to deal with homesickness whilst the Life of an Expat Parent covers pregnancy and parenting as an expat, as well as expat life in general. Angloyankophile covers everything from book reviews to fashion finds as well as the best parts of several cities – including London and Oxford – offering a refreshingly bright, upbeat viewpoint of the expat experience. What are your favourite expat blogs? If you’re a Brit who has recently moved abroad, maybe it will be your blog we feature in the near future!

Considering a move to Canada?

By HordeFTL at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By HordeFTL at English Wikipedia (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For useful articles and tips on moving to other countries and life as an expat, please like the PSS International Removals Facebook page and follow the Twitter profile

We are delighted to announce that we are now working with Canada Immigration Solutions (CIS), a UK-based Canadian Immigration consultancy.

Michael Wilson, a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant will be able to offer online assessments, personal consultations and full representation to all of our clients if required.

Canadian Immigration is changing from 2015 onwards, with a brand new ‘Express Entry’ system in place. This is the largest overhaul of the immigration process in a generation. It’s great news for potential applicants from the UK and will offer the following:

• Timelines for Permanent Residency are estimated around 6 months
• Express Entry for ALL potential applicants
• Applicants will be ranked by Job offer/ Provincial Nomination and Human Capital score
• Applicants will be ‘invited’ to apply through an Immigration stream
After a number of years with various restrictive and narrow immigration streams, Canada is finally increasing its immigration quota for skilled workers and economic applicants and it is expected that over 285,000 new Canadian Permanent Residents will be processed in 2015.

PSS International Removals and their partners can safely guide you through the tricky business of applying for a Canadian visa. Although you’ll generally find the visa application process greatly improved by obtaining a job offer, PSS works closely with a number of visa specialist partners to ensure that you experience a successful migration. If you would like one of our partners to contact you and assist with your visa application process, please complete this form.

In addition, please click this link to find out more about achieving Canadian Permanent Residency in 2015.

Life in Canada

The magical land of maples, Mounties and manners!

 

"Lake Louise Canada Banff" by Guenter Wieschendahl - Own Work--Eigenaufnahme. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lake_Louise_Canada_Banff.JPG#/media/File:Lake_Louise_Canada_Banff.JPG

“Lake Louise Canada Banff” by Guenter Wieschendahl – Own Work–Eigenaufnahme. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Lake_Louise_Canada_Banff.JPG#/media/File:Lake_Louise_Canada_Banff.JPG

“We are genuine and authentic, honest and are leaders to the world on so many fronts. I believe heavily in the words to our anthem “with glowing hearts” and “True North strong and free.”

-          Kaillie Humphries, the first woman to win gold in the bobsleigh at consecutive Olympics

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Canada has plenty to boast about. Not that boasting is something Canadians do comfortably. It’s no wonder Canada ranked first choice migration destination amongst British and Irish visitors to recent Working International Expo’s.

So why do we love it? It has a strong, stable economy that escaped the recession, along with a great education system. The landscape is fantastically diverse and beautiful, having provided the backdrop for many famous films, for example, Twilight, Brokeback Mountain and Titanic. It also has lots of fresh air, literally – Canada’s air quality was ranked 3rd best in the world!

Considering the appeal of the country, here are a few things you may be interested to know should you be planning a move there.

 

Life in Canada

 

Healthcare:

Each Canadian citizen and permanent resident is entitled to health insurance in Canada. The system is fair and created to cater for peoples need for healthcare, giving them access to doctors and hospitals, as opposed to focussing on their ability to pay for it.

 

Schooling:

Education is free of charge in Canada for every child starting at the age of four or five. Children can legally drop out of school once they are sixteen, however, all children are encouraged to stay in school until the age of eighteen.

 

Pension:

The UK state pension is payable in Canada. However, once you are no longer residing in the UK you will not receive the annual increases. Your benefit will stay at the same rate as when you left the UK.

As a worker in Canada, you and your employer are subject to social insurance laws. There is a three pillar pension system when you retire, it is at that point you will establish your pension entitlements after analysing the pillars.

 

Immunisation:

You only need routine vaccinations. For those looking to get stuck in with activities that might bring you into direct contact with bats, carnivores and other mammals, both Hepatitis B and rabies vaccinations are recommended.

 

Weather:

Canada is the second largest country in the world. It can take a week to drive from one part of the country to the other, and it falls within six different time zones. Therefore, it is no surprise that the weather in Canada varies depending on the location. Ontario has notably cold winters and Manitoba is the coldest winter province with average daily temperatures of -25.1 C. Areas such as Victoria in British Colombia tends to have the most temperate weather all year round and experience the hottest summers. However, Canada definitely experiences four different seasons. You will see sun, you will see snow.

 

Working in Canada:

 

“This is a country where people are given a chance. We don’t have a class structure like so many other countries in the world. If you are willing to work hard, this country welcomes you.”

 -       John Sleeman, founder and chairman of Sleeman Breweries

To work in Canada any educational or professional accreditations gained outside of Canada will need to be assessed. These assessments can be made by your employer or an appropriate provincial or territorial regulatory body.

An Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) of your complete educational credentials outside of Canada is used to validate your achievements. This process will then make your application to immigrate as a Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) eligible.

 

Wages:

Here’s a list of hourly wages in Canada to allow you to compare you profession in the UK.

Canadian Wages 1
Here’s a list of weekly wages in Canada for a variety of professions. Mining and oil/gas drilling are particularly well paid sectors to enter should you have the relevant skills.

Canadian Wages2

 

Holiday entitlement:

Most Canadian employers offer 10 – 15 days holiday each year.

Canada has ten national holidays. They are; New Year’s Day, Good Friday, Easter Monday, Victoria Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Thanksgiving Day, Remembrance Day, Christmas and  Boxing Day.

Most Canadian provinces have a further day’s holiday additional to the national holidays. Residents of Alberta enjoy two days’ provincial holiday and those living in Newfoundland are particularly lucky, with six days of provincial holidays.

 

How can we help?

If you are at the stage where you are planning your move to Canada we have more in depth information on the documentation you will require, what you can and can’t take and what happens when you arrive on our international shipping and removals to Canada page. We also offer a FREE pre-move survey carried out by our friendly experts.