3 Ways Canadians Can Work in the UK

Are you a Canadian citizen interested in moving to the UK to work and live? We’re talking about England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. The great news is, with a valid Canadian passport, you can! There are a few different ways that Canadians can work in the UK, so let’s get right into it.

In order to work in the UK as a Canadian, you need a work visa. This visa gives you the legal right to work and stay in the country for an extended period of time. There are three main visas that allow Canadians to work in the UK. These are the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, Ancestry Visa, and General Work Visa.

1. Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

You may be familiar with the term Working Holiday, and that’s exactly what this visa is. The Youth Mobility Scheme is an agreement between Canada and the United Kingdom that allows youth between the ages of 18 and 30 to live and work in either country for up to two years. Canadians can work in the UK, and UK citizens can come to Canada. This agreement is part of a Canadian Government program called International Experience Canada. It provides Canadian youth with opportunities to live, work, and travel abroad. Through this program, Canadians are able to live and work abroad in over 30 countries!

The Youth Mobility Visa costs £244 and is available to Canadians beginning on their 18th birthday until their 31st birthday. If you turn 31 while you are living in the UK on this visa, that’s okay. You can stay until your visa expires.

You can only get this visa once in your lifetime. It’s best to use the Youth Mobility Visa if you are planning an extended trip, not a short holiday. You may enter the UK on this visa as many times as you like, meaning you can travel around Europe while you’re living in the UK. If you are studying in Canada, you could even work in the UK for a summer, then return the following summer. This is a popular option for participants of our UK Camp Job program.

On this visa, you can work in most jobs (with the exception of professional athletes, doctors and dentist’s in training). You can also study most courses (with a few exceptions as well).

Interested to work in the UK with the Youth Mobility Visa? Check out our complete guide for Canadians applying for the Youth Mobility Visa here.

Did you know Canadians can work in Ireland too? Learn about the Working Holiday Visa in Ireland for Canadian citizens.

2. Ancestry Visa

The Ancestry Visa is available to Canadians over the age of 17 who have a grandparent that was born in the UK (or in Ireland before 1922). You must be able to prove their place of birth and how you are related to them via the following documents:

  • Full birth certificate of your grandparent(s) born in the UK
  • Full birth certificate of their child (your parent) even if they were born in Canada
  • Marriage certificates for your grandparents and parents (if they were married)
  • Your own full birth certificate

Note to Canadians with any documents in French: These documents must be translated by a certified translator before being submitted in your application.

Where the Youth Mobility Visa can only be used for yourself, you can use the Ancestry visa to bring family over to the UK. While in the UK on this visa, you can work and study too.

This visa costs £516 and is valid for five years. You can apply to extend your visa and even settle in the UK permanently if you like.

3. Work Visa

This is the trickiest visa to get and is awarded on a points-based system. Points are assigned based on a variety of factors like your sponsor employer, age, skills and qualifications, earning potential in the UK, your savings, and level of English.

There used to be two tiers of visas. Tier 1 was for Highly Skilled Workers. These were individuals who held a Master’s Degree or higher. Unfortunately, this Tier 1 Visa is no longer available.

The Tier 2 visa is still available and is called the General Work Visa. You can only apply if you’ve been offered a skilled job in the UK. Your employer must be on the list of licensed sponsors and provide you with a certificate of sponsorship in order to sponsor your move to the UK.

The fee for this visa ranges between £464 and £1,220 depending on whether you are inside or outside the UK, are bringing family members, or are working in an occupation with a shortage of workers or not. You can stay in the UK on this visa for up to five years.

A Note About UK Healthcare

Healthcare in the UK is publicly funded and its services provided by the government. The healthcare system is called the NHS which stands for National Health Service.

As part of the application for any of the above work visas, you are required to pay for your healthcare upfront. This fee is called the healthcare surcharge. Depending on the visa you are applying for, and the duration of your visa’s validity, you will either be required to pay for the entire duration (two years in the case of the Youth Mobility Visa), or a portion of the duration. You are required to pay the full two years even if you are not planning to stay for the full two years. The healthcare surcharge is £300 per year, or £600 total for two years.

The good news about paying for all your healthcare upfront is that on arrival, you’re covered in the exact same capacity as a citizen of the UK. You don’t ever need to worry about the cost of visiting a hospital or a routine doctor’s visit. You don’t need to purchase travel medical insurance like you would on a working holiday elsewhere, and you actually get more coverage in the UK than travel medical insurance would provide you! If you decide to travel outside the UK, however, you will need to purchase travel insurance for those trips.

Planning to move to the UK on a working holiday? Stepabroad can help!

Stepabroad is a proud partner of the Government of Canada. We provide assistance to Canadians aged 18 to 30 looking to work and travel in the UK on a working holiday. Moving abroad requires a lot of planning. Getting the correct documents for the visa application, opening a UK bank account, figuring out how to pay UK taxes, finding a place to live – these are all things that our team of experts will explain to you in our personalized support. We get you well-prepared to successfully land on your feet in the UK.

Get in Touch!

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