scorecardI moved from the UK to Canada and work remotely. Tipping and sales tax are the biggest culture shocks.
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I moved from the UK to Canada and work remotely. Tipping and sales tax are the biggest culture shocks.

Jyoti Mann   

I moved from the UK to Canada and work remotely. Tipping and sales tax are the biggest culture shocks.
Careers2 min read
Naomi Robinson moved from London to Toronto.    Naomi Robinson
  • Naomi Robinson, a tech management consultant, moved from the UK to Canada.
  • She swapped London for Toronto, where she now works remotely while on a two-year visa.

This is an as-told-to essay based on a conversation with Naomi Robinson, a 26-year-old management consultant. Robinson's visa has been verified by Insider. The following has been edited for length and clarity.

I wanted to move to Canada since I was 17.

I studied geography in high school and then later at university, and as part of my studies, we looked at how various cities and countries shaped their societies through placemaking processes.

Among them was Toronto. What struck me about Toronto was its similarity to London, but on a grander scale — with its natural beauty and multicultural society.

Over the years, I kept the idea of moving to Canada in mind, and I started taking the dream seriously during the pandemic.

Getting a visa

After graduating, I entered the tech industry, working in management consulting.

I reached out to people on LinkedIn, who I saw had made a similar transition, and sought advice on the visa process, job market, and other crucial aspects of the move.

The visa process was surprisingly straightforward, as the Canadian and British governments offer a Youth Mobility Scheme visa for people between the ages of 18 and 30 to live and work in Canada for two years.

The visa I applied for is known as the International Experience Canada (IEC) visa.

Skyline of Toronto, Canada with airplane.
Toronto's skyline is dominated by the CN Tower.      Posnov/Getty Images

I was fortunate to receive an acceptance letter within a week, likely because I applied during a period when they were actively accepting applications.

The next steps involved gathering necessary documents such as a passport, a police check, and work experience details.

Upon receiving and accepting my visa, I also had to secure health insurance, which is a requirement for the IEC.

Life in Toronto

I arrived in Toronto in August.

My employer allows me to work remotely on UK projects, but there are tax limitations on how long I can work on UK clients, so I may explore opportunities within the Canadian office or other roles in the industry after October.

I've pushed myself to be proactive, balancing my work and social life while adapting to a new culture.

People say that Canadians are open, friendly, and welcoming — and I've found that to be true. I've met people from just walking down the street.

I'm also making an effort to make new friendships online and through networking.

To find accommodation, I scoured Facebook groups catering to UK residents moving to Canada, but I ultimately found a place through a family friend already living in Toronto.

Having lived in my family home in north London for most of my life, the transition to renting has been a learning experience.

Naomi Robinson says it's important to be proactive in Toronto.      Katrin Ray Shumakov/Getty Images

I've also been surprised by the cultural diversity in Toronto. London is a multicultural city — but Toronto takes it to another level.

The expectation to tip has been a culture shock, however.

There's an unsaid expectation to tip like in the US, and I've had to incorporate that into my spending and budgeting for recreational activities.

Another thing I'm still getting my head around is prices in stores as tax is added at the checkout, whereas in the UK it's already included.

In Toronto, I've discovered the importance of proactivity, putting myself out there, and staying authentic to who I am.

It's a fresh start that has allowed me to build new relationships and gain valuable life experiences.

My journey in Canada is still unfolding, and I'm excited to see where it leads next.