Moving to Canada: what you need to know

Canada has long been a favourite destination for UK expats. As the second largest country in the world, Canada has no shortage of things to do and places to go, boasting everything from stunning, snow-tipped mountains to bustling, metropolitan cities.

If you’re preparing for a move to The Great White North, here’s what to expect from the emigration process and expat life once you settle in:

Applying to work or study

British citizens applying to study or work in Canada will require an Eletronic Travel Authorization (eTA) to fly there. To study, you will need a study permit. Working in Canada may require a work permit depending on the type of work you intend to undertake.

Shipping your belongings

Once you have arranged accommodation in Canada, you will need to ship your belongings over using an international removals company. When your belongings are being shipped over, it is important to remember that in Canada you must be present in Customs in order to clear them – if not, they will be “held in bond” by the Customs Office.

Cost and quality of living

Canadian property is generally more affordable than in the UK and many other countries. Overall cost of living can also be lower, depending on the city you settle in.

At the time of writing, Canada is 2nd in the Social Progress Index, demonstrating a very high quality of living compared to the rest of the world, especially in access to education and healthcare and personal rights.

Population

With much of its vast landmass uninhabited, Canada is among the world’s lowest in population density. While this varies across the country, even the most populated provinces are far more dense than much of the developed world.

Language

Approximately 85% of Canadians speak English, although only 58% recognise it as their mother tongue. Much of Canada is French speaking, especially in Quebec, where it is the official language.

Climate

Canadian weather varies across the country and throughout the seasons, though winters can be harsh in many parts of the country, with temperatures sometimes dropping below -40°C in the interior and Prairie provinces. Snow can cover the ground for almost six months a year in noncoastal regions, and can persist year-round in parts of the north. On the east and west coasts, average high temperatures are generally in the low 20s °C, while some interior regions can exceed 40 °C in summer months.

See also: How does Canadian culture differ from the UK?


With partner offices in Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver, Pickfords relocates hundreds of expatriates to Canada every year. To find out how we can help you fulfil your expat dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

The benefits of using a BAR-certified moving company

When moving home, you want to be confident that your removal company can be trusted to meet your needs without any issues. Whether you’re about to undergo a small, local move or are shipping a large household overseas, assurance that your goods are in safe hands will be paramount.

For over 100 years, The British Association of Removers (BAR) has promoted excellence within the removals industry, awarding membership only to reputable, professional and safe British removal companies.

To be a member of BAR, a moving company must meet a range of stringent criteria and undergo regular inspections to check that their employees, processes, facilities and vehicles all meet the highest standards set out in the BAR Code of Practice.

Customers choosing to work with a BAR-certified moving company can rest assured that their move will be handled with the utmost care and attention. In the unlikely event that any issues arise, the BAR’s advice and conciliation service to help resolve the matter.

Choosing a BAR-certified removal company guarantees the best possible service, giving you peace of mind throughout your move.


To find out about moving home with a founding member of the BAR; contact Pickfords for expert local, national and international packing and removals. Click here for a quote or find out more.

Moving to Hong Kong: what you need to know

Holding a powerful role in the global economy, Hong Kong is a thriving business hub with many financial institutions, international businesses and factories running their headquarters out of the territory.

Expats moving to Hong Kong are greeted with a strong Eastern culture, but with clear Western influences. Hong Kong is said to be ‘where east meets west’; the two cultures have grown to exist alongside each other.

So what’s required to emigrate to the financial and cultural hub of Hong Kong, and what can expats expect once they get there?

Entry requirements

Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, though as a Special Administrative Region, it has its own immigration controls. It is possible to visit and stay in Hong Kong for up to six months without a visa, but after that you are required to apply for one.

While Hong Kong is part of the People’s Republic of China, you are not allowed to travel to mainland China without a Chinese visa.

Population

Hong Kong has a population of over 7.18 million and is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, with a population density of 6,300 people per square kilometre. Hong Kong also has one of the lowest birth rates in the world, with 1.11 births per woman of child-bearing age. It is estimated that by 2033, 26.8% of the population will be aged 65 or over.

The vast majority of Hong Kong residents are of ethnic Chinese origin, making up over 93.6% of the population. Approximately 50% of the population belong to an organised religion, with Buddhists and Taoists being the two largest groups, followed by Protestants, Catholics, Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs.

Language

Because Hong Kong was initially established as a colony of the British Empire, English is still one of the official languages, as well as Chinese. Due to the territory’s multiculturalism however, there are a variety of other languages commonly spoken, including Cantonese, French, German, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

Climate

Situated just south of the Tropic of Cancer, Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate, with four distinguishable seasons. Spring is usually warm and humid, while summers are hot and rainy. Autumns are quite sunny and pleasant, and winters are relatively dry and cool. Hong Kong is sometimes subjected to typhoons in summertime, which can lead to flooding and landslides. Shops and banks will be closed when a level 8 typhoon warning is given.

Quality of life

While overall wealth has increased, recent years have seen the quality of life drop in Hong Kong, partly down to increasingly unaffordable property prices. The latest quality of life index, compiled by the Chinese University of Hong Kong, found that housing affordability was at its lowest point in a decade, despite an improved unemployment rate and increase in wages.

Healthcare

It is important to note that there is no NHS equivalent in Hong Kong; no healthcare is provided free of charge. It is vital that you get medical insurance arranged if you plan to move to Hong Kong, otherwise, should you fall ill or injure yourself, you could be hit with very high medical bills.

Law

Hong Kong law is based mainly on UK law. Residents can receive on-the-spot fines for littering and spitting, and a zero-tolerance system is in place for those travelling without a ticket on the Mass Transit Railway. All Hong Kong residents are required to carry a valid Hong Kong ID card with them at all times, and can face prosecution if stopped by the police without one.

With a key partner office in the heart of Wan Chai,  Pickfords relocates hundreds of expats to Hong Kong every year. To find out how we can help you fulfill your expat dream, visit our website or call 0800 019 8557.

 

Office Moving Alliance wins contract to move NATO Headquarters

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Office Moving Alliance (OMA) has been appointed to project manage and deliver the relocation of NATO’s Headquarters in Brussels.

Pickfords is the UK member of the Office Moving Alliance, an international network of office moving specialists and they collaborated with fellow members Mondial Movers from The Netherlands and AMT Transfer from France during the formal bid procedure.

The iconic NATO HQ building in Brussels will move to a new purpose built premises across the boulevard from the existing site.  The move is planned to take place in 2017 and will see the relocation of circa 4000 staff.

NATO considered proposals from a number of potential suppliers and followed a rigorous selection process before appointing the OMA consortium to manage the contract.

Russell Start from Pickfords Business Solutions said

“We are delighted to have been appointed following the selection procedure.  NATO will be able to draw on the considerable experience and expertise of our project teams to manage the relocation.  We look forward to working with the NATO management team during the course of the contract.”

Pickfords shortlisted for International Moving Company of the Year 2014

Pickfords has been shortlisted for International Moving Company of the Year award 2014 by the Forum for Expatriate Management.

The shortlist nomination for an EMEA EMMA (Expatriate Management and Mobility Award) follows our win in the same category in 2013.

Shortlisted Nominations will be assessed by an independent judging panel and the award presented at a Gala Dinner and ceremony at The EMEA Global Mobility Summit, to be held at the Lancaster London Hotel on 7th November.

Click here to read more about last year’s win.

EMMA Shortlist 2014

Pickfords wins International Moving Company of the Year

Pickfords, the UK’s largest removals and storage company, has won the ‘International Moving Company of the Year’ award at the Expatriate Management and Mobility Awards 2013. The results were announced at the EMMAs Awards Gala Dinner at The Lancaster London Hotel on 8th November.

Pickfords' International Director Steve Boyd (centre) receives the trophy

Pickfords’ International Director Steve Boyd (centre) receives the trophy

The Expatriate Management and Mobility awards celebrate excellence and innovation in the international global mobility industry. These prestigious awards, created by the Global Mobility industry’s leading association, the Forum for Expatriate Management, are judged by a highly experienced panel of judges, who assess the submissions received against the criteria for the awards. Judging criteria in these categories include client communication, innovation, knowledge, skills and expertise. Following this assessment, the Judges commented that Pickfords “provides an excellent illustration of a client focused team.”

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International Director Steve Boyd, receiving the award, said: “I am delighted that Pickfords has won this award – it is a true reflection of the expertise of our move management and operational teams, their innovative approach to customer service and their continued focus on quality.”

Pickfords voted in the Top Ten Best International Movers

Pickfords has been voted in the Top Ten International Movers by Which Offshore, an independent online consumer resource for those seeking information and advice about expatriate life and offshore finance.

Top Ten International Movers

The team at Which Offshore tested more than 70 UK-based removal companies by rating the information available on their website, online customer reviews, ease of contact, helpfulness of staff, the time taken to respond to an enquiry and the quoted price. Each company was asked to quote for a family of 4 (two adults, two kids) moving a total of 1,000 cubic ft of contents from a 2 bedroom flat in London, to a flat in Barcelona, with no elevators available at either location.

If you’re thinking about moving overseas, here are some useful tips to make the process that little bit easier…

Choose the type of service
It is important to know the difference between part and dedicated loads. Part load removals are cheaper, as furniture is shipped at the same time as someone else relocating. Although it might take a little longer, as the companies try to coordinate shipments to the same destination. If you prefer it to happen faster, a dedicated removal might be the better option.

Packing and Insurance
As many of the removal companies point out, packing itself doesn’t affect the quote as much contrary to what many people believe. You can save up a few pounds by putting everything in boxes yourself and only having the removal company pick it up, but you may miss out on insurance coverage.

Plan ahead
Make sure you have every detail such as date, time of arrival arranged with the removal company beforehand. Packing always takes longer than you think it will. It is only when you start putting things in boxes that you realize how much you have gathered over time. Plan to pack well in advance, and give yourself extra time, just in case.

Decide what to take
We all know that we keep a lot of things for sentimental value, nostalgia or just because you ‘could use it one day’. Take some time to really consider whether it is worth taking with you, or if it might be time to bring it to a relatives’ garage for safe-keeping. If there was a time to have a clean out, it’s now.

Make an inventory
When the time comes to move, it is easy to lose sight of everything you are taking with you. Especially if you’re leaving items behind or storing them, create a list of what’s where for future reference.

Visit the Pickfords website for more information on moving overseas.