Retiring to Canada from the UK

Retiring to Canada is the perfect retirement country to enjoy and spend your life in a thriving community and enjoy a great retirement in one of most beautiful countries in the world. But is it a suitable option for you?

In this article we will cover the reasons, and ways of retiring to Canada, the associated perks and challenges, and the VISA options. Then we'll discuss the pension transfer options. You'll then be able to decide if it’s decision worth taking.

Is Retirement to Canada a Correct Option for You?

A survey of Canada's retirees and their attitude to life after retirement revealed that most retirees could afford their preferred lifestyle in retirement. 

  • The excellent quality healthcare, multiple activities, as well as the well-defined communities’ will give you a perfect environment for your retirement in Canada. 
  •  Canada is a nation with lively towns and cities and plenty of stunning natural attractions.
  •  Also, it is a vast country and a great place to grow old gracefully and with dignity. 
  • You need to consider several factors, including property prices, living expenses, the healthcare system, work permit, social security, settlement funds, state pension, and private pension transfer opportunities.

Advantages and Challenges of Retirement to Canada

Retirement in Canada can be quite lucrative, with many advantages and benefits, but can present several challenges that you need to consider.

Advantages and Benefits

Many retirees opt to move to Canada because of the following benefits:

  • Whether you're searching for taxes, utilities, eating out, or groceries, the cost is slightly lower than in the UK. Also, the quality does not differ greatly.
  • The prices of properties and houses are favourable unless you decide to get a prime location in a top major city.
  • The views and esthetics are great for enjoying your dream life.
  • The atmosphere in several regions is cool, offering versatile nature spots and perks. However, the winters can be challenging for those who're not used to cold.

Challenges To Cope With Retiring to Canada

  • The biggest challenge when it comes to retirement to Canada is a visa. Though there are multiple options, you need to choose the most appropriate one. 
  • The second challenge is thepension transfer. Stay till the end as we've provided the most efficient legal solution.
  • There are other challenges like adaptation to a new environment and climate, but they're secondary and ease with time.

Best Places in Canada To Retire

The top five places to live in Canada include:

  • Victoria, British Columbia
  • Ottawa, Ontario
  • Saanich, British Columbia
  • Orillia, Ontario
  • Nelson, British Columbia

These places are significant in terms of weather and facilities. You can also search for other options depending on the weather conditions and other factors. Ensure to choose a place with the best lifestyle to suit your needs.

How to Obtain a Canadian Residence

Obtaining a Canadian permanent residency is challenging because they don't allow any retirement visa programmes for foreigners. But there are several ways that you can apply to be a permanent resident in Canada.

1. Sponsorship by Children Or Grandchildren

If your children or grandchildren are permanent residents of Canada, their sponsorship will be the best way to gain residency. It'll be a kind of super visa for you for visits up to two years. The criteria includes:

  • Permanent residence of children in Canada
  • 18+ Age
  • Must be able to sponsor and support you (With undertaking)

The undertaking process means that your children will support you, should the need arise. Your financial means will also be considered.

After your application, you, with your children will sign the undertaking agreement, including that your children will support you and you will do your best to support yourself. There is a chance of repaying the provincial social assistance in sponsorship, to the provincial government. In this way, you, along with your children, will become permanent residents of Canada.

2. The Federal Skilled Worker Programs

Under this scheme, a visa will be granted depending upon a number of factors:

  • Experience of work and skills
  • Education
  • Language ability and fluency
  • Adaptability
  • A Job offer from Canadian Employer

You'll need to work full time or part-time to start a new life in Canada under this scheme.

3. The Quebec Regular Skilled Worker Program (RSWP)

There is no requirement for a valid job offer in this Regular Skilled Worker Program.

First of all, you need to check the Quebec Selection Certificate  process and apply for it. After application, scoring high points is essential, according to the selection system of Quebec Immigration.The minimum number of points required is 49. If you're with family, there are chances that you will be awarded bonus points. 

You, along with your family, will become permanent citizens after the Quebec Selection Certificate is issued, irrespective of your profession. 

You need to apply for residence after attaining a certificate. 

4. The Provincial Nomination Programme (PNP)

According to this program, the provinces of Canada will select you for permanent residence based on your skills. You need to have the best skills, educational background, experience and interest in the required field. Also, you can apply directly to the provinces, but the selection will be based on an express entry system. 

  • It is a kind of immigration test before selecting Canadian citizens.
  • They prefer the individuals or families having enough money to start a business in Canada.
  • You can also apply for a temporary visa at the initial stages, shifting to a permanent one later.

5. Going Part-Time

If you are flexible, going part-time is an excellent option for you. You can stay in Canada for up to six months without any paperwork or VISA. It will be only applicable if you're from EEA countries and the UK.

If you don't have any children there and you can later apply for permanent settlement. It's a great opportunity if you're looking for a visit and want to choose Canada after retirement. The six months will be sufficient for experiencing Canada in general. The only requirement is Electronic Travel authorisation.

6. Quebec Entrepreneur Programme

For an entrepreneur visa, this program will be helpful to you. But the qualification requirements are high. They include:

  • Legal assets of $300,000
  • Running the business for more than two years with capital equity of 25%
  • Your language
  • Your skills and qualities
  • Québec knowledge 

These were some options that you can consider for attaining a visa in Canada. The sponsorship of children would be best if you're planning to retire from the UK. Also, part-time retirement will help if you're looking for the options to explore Canada and look for the most suitable location and region. Later, you can go for permanent retirement. The retirement age will also matter in some cases.

Pension Transfer Options When Retiring to Canada

When retiring to Canada from the UK, you need to consider your pension transfer options as well. In this section we cover off some of you options.

1. Old Age Security Pension

You can qualify for Canada's Old Age Security (OAS) pension if you're permanently retiring. The eligibility requirements will include:

  • Retirement age of 65 or more
  • Residence for ten years in Canada after 18 years of age
  • Legal resident of Canada (permanent residency) at the time of application approval
  • No conditions of past or present work

2. UK State Pension

For the transfer of UK state pensions, you need to contact the international pension centre. It's  your choice to either to use a Canadian or UK bank account. 

If you settle in Canada permanently and use your Canadian bank account, be sure to stay vigilant on the exchange rates. If your residence is temporary and you have a part-time retirement, your pension will be transferred to the bank account where you reside for the longest. 

3. QROPS Pension Transfer

The UK HMRC offer a scheme called the Qualifying Recognised Overseas Pension Scheme (QROPS). This will allow you to bring your pension investments to Canada. It's the best way of consolidation, and can provide a number of benefits.

  • The scheme is designed for a UK (non-state) pension scheme holder with intentions to reside for 5 tax years or more in Canada.
  • Having reached the age of 55 years old.
  • Your defined benefit and defined contribution pension fund must be higher than £30,000. 

Potential Benefits

The potential benefits associated with QROPS pension transfers include:

  • Tax efficiency
  • The flexibility of a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) structure
  • Enhanced investment choices
  • Easier administration of your investments
  • Reduction in currency-relevant volatility (Exchange Rates)

QROPS Transfer Initiation Requirements

For transfer initiation under QROPS, you need to contact your former UK pension administrator. They might ask you for information including:

  • Original termination forms/transfer forms
  • Application form of UK pension transfer
  • Client statements of UK pension plan
  • Banking details

QROPS Eligible Pension Plans

The pension plans that are eligible for the transfer includes:

  • Defined contribution (DC) pension schemes
  • Funded public-sector defined benefit (DB) schemes
  • Private-sector defined benefit (DB) schemes

For full details, it's better to consult a UK financial advisor or UK tax specialist for proper guidance and professional advice.  You can receive a free, no obligation consultation with  one of our QROPS advisers. Contact us by clicking HERE.

Buying and Renting a Property in Canada

Whether you've gone with part-time retirement or permanent retirement, you're allowed to own a house in Canada.

You can even buy a house as a visitor in Canada. If you're not staying permanently in Canada, you can rent a house and even obtain a mortgage. You can also rent a house in the event of a temporary stay.

Cost Of Living

The cost of living will depend on the settlement plan. If you own a house, there will be no rent issues. But bear in mind that owning a house won't be easy in the main cities due to the higher costs. Also, other relevant purchases like alcohol, cellphone plans, groceries, and internet access can be a higher than the UK.


The federal government funds Canada's health care system. The UK does not have a reciprocal agreement with the government therfore the NHS is not obliged to pay for any of the treatment you receive in Canada. 

  • The facilities of the health care by the government are good quality
  • The free healthcare system is managed at the provincial level through taxes.
  • There are chances that some health facilities are not provided for free for the initial three months for newcomers. 
  • Overall Canada has a high-quality healthcare system available to all residents.

Culture Of Canada

The culture and behaviour of people is something that you don't need to worry about in Canada. The people are hospitable with the values of hospitality, egalitarianism, individualistic yet community-oriented.

They'll welcome you and won't face any issue in cultural differences. Furthermore, the respect for different cultures and politeness is high there. You can live your life and enjoy yourself in a peaceful, safe environment.

Environment and Climate

Being the second-largest country globally, the population of Canada is high, with the environment divided into a wide range of ecosystems. The rivers and lakes comprise seven percent of the country. The natural esthetics and beauty make it worthy enough to retire there.

Also, while settling, understand that the northern part of Canada is quite cold with summertime for only two months. But the population is dense at the southern border of Canada, and the weather is hot there. 

On the west coast around Vancouver, the areas are temperate. There is less snowfall except in hilly areas.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.    Can I retire to Canada from the UK?

Yes, you can retire to Canada from the UK. Though there is no direct visa for retirement, there are several options like sponsorship from children or grandchildren, part-time retirement and visit to Canada, skilled worker programs and Quebec programs to retire in Canada. There are other business programs as well available to you.

2.    How much money do you need to retire in Canada?

For a general idea, understand that about 70-80 percent of your pre-retirement income can be your yearly living costs. If you're entirely relying on a pension, you might need to cut out expensive hobbies and focus on utilities, healthcare and other essential items.

3.    Can a UK citizen live in Canada?

Yes, a UK citizen can live and own the property in Canada. But you need to follow the immigration rules after retirement to Canada. Furthermore, you can opt for several programs for retirement as discussed above (some are simple) especially if you don't have any children in Canada for sponsorship. 

4.    Is it worth moving to Canada from the UK?

Yes, with beautiful sceneries, efficient healthcare systems, polite behavior and hospitality of locals, Canada is a worth living country. There are several options for visas and moving after retirement with proper pension transfers. The best approach will be to get a part-time retirement and explore the country.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a permanent Canadian citizen and attaining a visa can be a bit of a challenging process, but possible in a reasonable amount of time. Make sure to set up your Canadian and UK bank accounts correctly. The pension transfer issues can be lessened with the correct advice (contact us here for advice). But overall, Canada is a beautiful country overall and well worth retiring to.

Dominion Financial Management can offer qualified and impartial advice on transfering your UK pensions to Canada. Contact us today for a free consultation.


The content of this article are for information purposes only. Laws and regulations change and it is advised that you take the appropriate legal advice prior to making any investment decisions. 

For impartial advice onpension transfers to Canadafrom the United Kingdom, by a UK qualified, registered and regulated Financial Adviser, contact us at Dominion Financial Management by clicking HERE.