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Moving to Canada

Thinking of moving to Canada? You are not alone. Many Irish citizens are drawn to Canada’s vibrant cities and high quality of life. While the relocation process can be challenging, our guide is here to simplify the move from Ireland to Canada by answering all your questions.

How to Move to Canada: Visa Requirements

You might need a visa if you wish to move to Canada. For short stays of up to six months, Irish citizens do not need a visa. However, if you want to move there for work, study, or permanent residency, you must complete the visa application. It is also possible to apply for a visa for spouse reunification or the International Experience Canada programme (IEC).

The cost of the visa varies depending on the number of people involved. It takes on average between 4 to 6 weeks to obtain your visa, if you are eligible for it.

How much will it cost to move to Canada?

The amount of money needed to move to Canada varies depending on the size of the family. For a single visa applicant, you need a minimum of CAD 13,310 and more for each additional family member. Families with children will cost between CAD 25,000 and CAD 30,000.

Aside from the costs of visas and other paperwork, there will be some expenses associated with moving your property and the items you bring with you. One person, or even a couple, might be able to do a transatlantic move with only a few key items packed up in a suitcase but this is simply not practical for most Irish families, especially those who are making the move with children to think about. 

To get an idea of the prices, check the table below.

Size of PropertyCost of Sea ShippingCost of Air Freight for a Similar Amount
Up to 2 bedrooms€3,000 to €3,500€8,000 to €9,000
Up to 5 bedrooms€5,000 to €6,500€9,500 to €14,000

Each moving company sets its own prices based on factors such as the final destination, route taken, the size of the furniture, the number of bedrooms, the method of transportation, and more.

To effectively plan your move to Canada, get a moving quote tailored to your specific details and destination so that you can prepare your finances ahead of time.

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How Does a move to Canada works?

Helpfully, most Irish removal companies will charge a standard fee to load your belongings into a shipping container for you. From your point of view, the process is just like moving home in Ireland, only the removals operatives don’t take your possessions to a new house, they take them to a depot where they’re loaded into a shipping container or two. 

A shipping firm then handles the international removal for you, with many containers heading to Halifax on Canada’s west coast via the UK. Once there, a Canadian movers picks up the reins and takes your belongings to your new home or, if you don’t have one yet, will arrange for some temporary storage.

Moving to Canada by Air vs. Sea Freight

As shown in the table above, air freight costs significantly more than sea freight but offers faster delivery. However, since sea freight only takes about two weeks, the decision to opt for the air shipment depends on the specific requirements and priorities of the situation. Regardless of the method, your belongings will go through the same processes upon arrival in Canada. Most Irish movers don’t prioritise speed unless they have specific items needing quick transport.

That said, some Irish people coordinate with others making a similar trip and save money by sharing container costs. It may take a little longer to arrange but this approach can certainly be beneficial to your pocket.

moving to Canada

Preparing for your move

First, decide what to take and what to leave behind. For temporary stays, consider storage for some items. For permanent moves, sell bulky items like beds, sofas, and dining sets, unless they are antiques or have sentimental value. 

Moving furniture like bicycles or gym equipment can usually be avoided unless it is essential. If you want to move a piano, make sure to hire professional movers who specialise in handling such delicate and heavy items. Once you’ve divided your belongings into what stays and what goes, you can start packing for the move. For more detailed guidance, check out our moving house checklist page, which shares step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for your move.

Containerisation of your belongings

Most people moving to Canada from Ireland haven’t prepared their belongings for containerisation before. Sea containers protect items from spray but can be bumped around and tilted during transit. To protect your belongings, wrap everything in bubble wrap to prevent damage and shield them from extreme temperature changes. Place wrapped items into storage crates for additional protection and to maximise space in your container. 

If you hire a professional moving company, they will take care of all these details, ensuring your possessions are securely packed and transported. These companies also offer additional services such as packing, move-out cleaning, and assembly or disassembly of items as needed.

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Useful Tips on Relocation to Canada

Point-Based Entry System

Canada runs a point-based entry system for migrants and the score will depend on your age, professional qualifications and education level. The higher your score, the better your chances of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency. If you have family in Canada already, then this will make a difference to your score, too.

Provincial Immigration Rules

Some Canadian provinces have different rules on immigration in spite of federal policy so you should make sure you are acquainted with the relevant regulations depending on where you intend moving to. Quebec, for instance, has its own distinct immigration system with different requirements and procedures compared to other provinces.

moving house to canada

Healthcare System

Canada offers a publicly funded healthcare system, which provides free essential medical services to all residents. However, healthcare services can vary between provinces, so familiarize yourself with the healthcare system in your chosen province. Additionally, ensure you have private health insurance to cover any services not included in the public system during your initial period in Canada.

Housing Prices

Rental prices for accommodation in Canada can vary significantly based on location. In city centers, especially in major cities like Toronto and Vancouver, a large family home can cost over CAD 2,000 per month. Conversely, more modest accommodations in rural or less in-demand areas can be much more affordable, sometimes costing half as much. Research housing options thoroughly to find a balance between your budget and preferred lifestyle.

Professional Movers

Hiring professional movers for your transatlantic move can significantly reduce the risk of damage to your belongings. These companies offer insurance packages and additional services to meet your needs. To ensure you get the best deal, compare quotes from several moving companies. Keep in mind that prices vary depending on the specific requirements of your move, so it’s essential to choose a provider that offers the best combination of services and value.

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