We collected all of the most common questions about relocating to Canada, along with our answers.  Why? Well, Canada’s tech sector is growing fast! International tech talent is helping it grow. Maybe you’re a senior developer looking for work in Toronto. A computer engineer with a new job in Vancouver. Or a DevOps analyst who’s headed to Halifax.

Or you’ve been thinking about moving — but you’ve got questions! What’s the visa process for a tech professional to move to Canada? What are the visa rules for my spouse and kids? Where will we live? What about health care?

So, check out VanHack’s relocation guide for all your answers.

“How do I get started with the visa process to come to Canada?”

Check the expiry date on your passport. You need a passport that will not be expiring within the next two years, since most contracts are for 2 years. For instance, if the passport expires in 6 months, the visa will only be for 6 months.

Documents you’ll need from previous employers:

  • Reference letters
  • Pay stubs
  • Tax returns
  • Other documents (eg. if you’re married, you need a marriage certificate. If common law and the government requests, you will need to prove your relationship — with rent receipts, a rental agreement, bills, etc.

You have to translate the documents for Canadian officials (except the passport).

If you’re signed up with VanHack, we’ll provide a checklist of what you’ll need to provide after you get the job and sign the offer.

“I see there are different types of Canadian work visas. Which visa process am I using?”

Most of VanHack’s candidates will go through the Global Talent Stream. It’s a fairly new Canadian program that makes it easier to skilled tech professionals to move to Canada. You’ll usually get a closed work permit, because your permit will only be valid with that company.

“Are there fees with the visa process?”

For companies that work with VanHack, we do the paperwork to apply for a work permit for the candidate they are hiring and cover associated legal fees with the work permit application.

However, you will be responsible for covering government fees — and here you can see what the fees are for government applications.

“Can my spouse come with me to Canada? What is the visa process for them?”

Yes. Your spouse will apply for an open work permit. The open work permit will allow them to work for any company, full time.

“What’s the visa process for the children? Can they stay in Canada, too?”

In most cases, you will apply for a visitor visa for them.

For older children, you might need to apply for a study permit, which will follow the expiry date of the main applicant.

“Are there any health checks?”

You must have a medical exam if you have lived or travelled for 6 months in certain countries or territories in the year before you come to Canada. Check the requirements and see if you need a medical exam.

As we mentioned above when discussing biometrics, you must go to certain clinics associated with the Canadian government to get medical tests. It’s part of the visa process and is on the work permit checklist.

“What kind of documents do I need to present when I arrive in Canada?”

You will need to take most of the documentation you used for the work permit with you. You travel with the visa, but the work permit will be printed in Canada at the airport.

Papers you will need include:

  • The job offer from the company where you will be working
  • The Labour Market Impact Assessment (provided by the company
  • Approvals showing your documents seen by CIC / IRCC
  • marriage and birth certificates, etc.

“What is a Social Insurance Number (SIN) and how do I get it?”

This is the number you need to work, pay your taxes and obtain social services in Canada. It’s very important.

You get this at a Canadian service office. There is no fee. Just go with your original passport and permit.

When you get your SIN, they will ask you about your address in Canada. If you haven’t rented accommodation yet, use the short-term accommodation address.

“How and when do I get a health card?”

You will get your health card in the destination city. To obtain a health insurance card, you can go online and find the appropriate process for the province of the city where you will be living.

“When can I apply for permanent residency to stay in Canada?”

Permanent residency is a points based system and can be applied for at any time. Most people become eligible after completing one year in Canada and can apply under Canadian Experience Class.

The government has different immigration programs. To apply, you will need to offer information such as your age, English proficiency, education credentials, etc.

In general, they would need to see if they have enough points (from English, an LMIA, education credentials, etc.) to get permanent residency.

“Will I receive any relocation support?”

That depends on whether the company will cover certain costs.

For instance, an employer may offer benefits like extended health, flight tickets, 1 or 2 months of rent to help you find a place to live. However, that is not guaranteed. It depends on the individual company.

It also depends on where you will live. Toronto and Vancouver are generally more expensive than other Canadian cities because of their cost of living. When you live in a big city, you can enjoy a very nice lifestyle – but that comes at a cost.

“What do I need to know about finding a place to live in Canada?”

Security deposit. When you rent, you will need to pay a security deposit, which is usually half of the cost of a month’s rent.

Again, not all cities are the same. For Toronto, landlords can charge equivalent to two months rent to secure the place (but this will cover the first and last month of rent).

Pet security deposit. Some buildings do not allow pets, or have specific limitations. A landlord may charge a pet security deposit equivalent to half a month’s rent.

Beware of rental scams!

Don’t share your passport, bank statements, or documents from abroad with your landlord. If the residence is currently rented out, consider talking with the current tenants to get insight into the living situation.

“What if I need help finding a place to live in Canada?”

There are companies that provide a house-hunting service. However, you may want to come to the city, stay in an Airbnb and visit the city so you have a better understanding of the neighborhood and building where you might live. Talk to the landlord and get testimonials.

Remember, be careful. Don’t share your social insurance number with a landlord. If you pay something, get a receipt.

“I am bringing a pet to Canada. Is there anything else I need to know?”

Your pet needs to get rabies vaccinations. You need to talk to a veterinarian and ensure that when they travel, there is documentation in English showing your pet has all the vaccinations they need. In addition, the airline may have its own rules for pet transportation. They may require a minimum validation time between the vaccine certificate date and the flight departure date.

Unfortunately, your pet can’t travel with pet food! Talk to the veterinarian to see how to bring the pet over to Canada in a way that they will be comfortable.

“I’m bringing my laptop and other electronics. Do I need a special adapter?”

You might! Not all countries have the same electrical outlets. You may need an adapter to help power your electronics.

“How much money can I bring to Canada?”

Canada allows you to bring up to $CAD 10,000 in cash, without declaring it. If you bring more than that, you have to declare it when you enter. Fees may apply.

Did VanHack’s relocation guide answer your questions?

Do you have other questions about relocating to Canada after you get hired for a tech job through VanHack?  Contact VanHack today!