Your guide to working in the United Kingdom as a Canadian

Piyush Singh

For many Canadians, living and working in the United Kingdom is a dream come true – but there are a few things to consider before heading off on your adventure. We’ve put together a guide about how to work in the UK as a Canadian, including getting your work visa.

We’ll also take a look at Wise, your international money transfer service. Wise can help you manage your money in Canada, the UK and elsewhere, with just a few clicks! We'll also talk about how you can use it to make the most of your money, but more on that later!


Table of contents

Eligibility for Working in the UK

You’ll need a Canadian passport and Canadian citizenship if you want to move from Canada to the UK for work.

You’ll also need to apply for a work visa if you want to work in the UK as a Canadian. There are a few different types of UK work visas, each with its own eligibility criteria.¹

Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

The Youth Mobility Scheme Visa lets Canadians live and work in the UK for up to 2 years. This visa is aimed at young people who want to enjoy an extended stay abroad, and you can only use this visa once in your life. Once you’ve received approval for the scheme, you can work in most jobs in the UK.

There are certain eligibility requirements for this visa:

  • You must be 18 to 30 years old
  • You must be a Canadian citizen with a Canadian passport
  • You must have at least 2530 GBP in your bank account

As part of your application, you’ll need to pay a fee of 298 GBP.² We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to applying for your Youth Mobility Scheme Visa.

Step 1. Get your documents ready, including your passport and proof of funds

Step 2. Submit an online application via the UK Immigration Services website

Step 3. Once you’ve submitted your application, book an in-person appointment at a Canadian visa center

Step 4. Finally, you’ll need to pick up your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) when you arrive in the UK.³ You may need to provide this document as proof of your visa status

Ancestry Visa

An Ancestry Visa is a great way for Canadian citizens with UK ancestry to live and work in the UK. If you’re over 17 years old with a grandparent who was born in the UK, you can apply for this type of work visa.

You’ll need a few key documents:

  • The birth certificate of your grandparent(s) born in the UK
  • The birth certificate of their child (your parent)
  • Marriage certificates for your grandparents and parents (if applicable)
  • Your birth certificate
  • Your passport
  • Evidence that you’re planning to work in the UK
  • Evidence that you can support yourself financially⁴

This visa costs 637 GBP and you can stay in the UK for up to 5 years. However, unlike the Youth Mobility Scheme Visa, you can apply to extend this visa if you want to stay in the UK.⁴

We’ve put together a step-by-step guide to applying for a UK Ancestry Visa.

Step 1. First, you’ll need to apply for an Ancestry Visa online via the UK Immigration Services website

Step 2. As part of your application, you’ll need to book an appointment at your local visa application center. An official will take your fingerprints, check your documents, and verify your identity

Step 3. You should receive your visa approval within 3 weeks.⁴ However, it’s a good idea to apply with plenty of notice before your trip

General Work Visa

You can get a General Work Visa if you want to work in the UK as a Canadian citizen. This visa is based on a points system and it’s only available for those who have already got a skilled job from a list of verified employers in the UK.

This visa lasts for up to 5 years and it costs between 719 GBP and 1500 GBP, depending on your circumstances.⁵ You can always find up-to-date information about this visa via UK Government Immigration Services.

Strengthen your finances with Wise

Manage your finances abroad with a Wise Multi-currency account.

You can use your Wise Account to make easy payments in GBP before your trip – or transfer CAD abroad once you arrive in your new home. Hold 40+ currencies and send money to 70+ countries, all at the touch of a button.

There are lots of perks of using Wise vs other UK international money transfer providers:

Here's how much you would send back to your loved ones in Canada from the UK, with each provider.

The true cost of sending GBP to CAD

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Preparing for the UK Adventure

As well as applying for the correct visa, there are also a few other ways to prepare for your UK adventure.

Make sure to explore your healthcare options in preparation for your move. You can sign up for the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK under your visa program. This will give you access to free healthcare during your international adventure.

The Registration of Canadians Abroad is a free service that allows you to access important information about your travels. You can also access help from recognized organizations if there’s an emergency while you’re abroad. This includes the Government of Canada.⁶

Order your Wise card to spend like a local in the UK, Canada, and elsewhere. Spend abroad at the real exchange rate, with no markups on any purchases. You can even take out cash from an ATM or connect your card to Google Pay or Apple Pay.

Please see Terms of Use for your region or visit Wise Fees & Pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

Embracing the UK Lifestyle

There’s so much to explore in the UK when you arrive, including diverse cities and towns, each with its own history and culture.

Whether you’re living in London, Liverpool, Manchester, Cardiff, or Edinburgh, there are so many things to do, such as museums, restaurants, bars, zoos, and stunning nature trips.

There are also lots of iconic landmarks in the UK. This includes:

  • Buckingham Palace
  • Stonehenge
  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Lake District
  • London Eye

Want to earn a return in multiple currencies? Make the most of your UK adventure with Wise Interest. With this feature, you can get a 4.70% variable rate on your GBP balance held in your Wise multi-currency account. Once you have a registered address in the UK, you can start earning returns* on funds in GBP – all while you send, spend, and receive money with your Wise Account.

Variable rate is based on 7 day performance as of 14 Dec 2023. This fund has returned an 0.93% annual average over the last 5 years, excluding Wise and fund manager fees. See full 5 year past performance of funds.

Sit back, relax, and boost your balance without doing a thing!


* Capital at Risk, current rates do not guarantee future growth.

Sources :

  1. Step Abroad

  2. UK Government Youth Mobility Scheme Visa

  3. Step Abroad

  4. UK Government Ancestry Visa

  5. UK Government Skilled Worker Visa

  6. Registration of Canadians Abroad

Sources verified on: 15 November 2023

*Please see terms of use and product availability for your region or visit Wise fees and pricing for the most up to date pricing and fee information.

This publication is provided for general information purposes and does not constitute legal, tax or other professional advice from Wise Payments Limited or its subsidiaries and its affiliates, and it is not intended as a substitute for obtaining advice from a financial advisor or any other professional.

We make no representations, warranties or guarantees, whether expressed or implied, that the content in the publication is accurate, complete or up to date.

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