Relocating from Dubai to Canada - What You Need to know 


The United Arab Emirates is an exotic mix of cultures settled around the Persian Gulf and, once immersed into an Emirati lifestyle, leaving for far-flung shores will bring its own set of challenges – moving internationally being only one of them. You may find you miss the food, the landscape or the people, but if whatever drew you to Dubai in the first place is coming to a close, you’ll need to prepare.

If you’ve decided to make your home across the Atlantic, relocating from Dubai to Canada requires plenty of consideration, especially if you have been living in Dubai for quite a while. There are a lot of reasons why expats are moving from Dubai to Canada, including work contracts coming to an end or you’re looking for a slower pace or more economical living, then Canada has so much to offer you. Lovers of the great outdoors will certainly find many of Canada’s provinces and territories very appealing, with skiing, hiking, canoeing and ice-skating some of the many attractions on offer.

If you’re taking the plunge and relocating from Dubai to Canada, you’ll need to create a checklist as early as possible once you know your moving date. Tick items off your list as you accomplish each one.


Your visa eligibility

People with criminal records aren’t allowed to enter Canada. Further, expats who have international or human rights violations, health risks, pending financial obligations (in the UAE or other countries), are non-compliant with the Immigration Refugee Protection Act (IRPA), or having an inadmissible family member are not allowed to migrate. Before migrating, make sure you do not fit into any of these categories. Otherwise, all your efforts to move overseas will be for nothing.

Migrants should also know the different types of visas available. You can choose between the following:

  1. Express Entry for Skilled Workers
  2. Business Start-up or Investor
  3. Provincial Class
  4. Family Sponsored
  5. Spouse Sponsored
  6. Quebec-Selected
  7. International Adoption
  8. Refugees
  9. Caregivers
  10. Self-Employed

You can find out more about the immigration and citizenship process in Canada, by visiting the Canadian Government’s official website.



In January 2018, the UAE had imposed a 5% tax for goods and services. The same goes for Canada, and workers have to submit income tax returns at the end of each financial year.

Tax calculation will depend on your status and work and it varies per city. For example, while tax in Alberta is calculated from 5%, it can go up to 14.96% in Quebec. The implementation of this value-added tax is at the point of sale and not on the price tag, so be prepared for any surprises at the cash register. As for income tax, it is imposed on the basis of residency.

There is also a so-called Child Tax Benefit, whereby eligible families who have low income with children under the age of 18 will receive a monthly payment from the government to help them with the expenses of raising a family.


Cost of Living

(Currency conversion: 1 AED Emirati Dirham is roughly equivalent to 0.37 CAD Canadian cents at the time of publication)

The cost of living in Canada is significantly higher than that in Dubai, whereas consumer prices including restaurants, groceries, liquor and transportation are about 35% overall higher in Toronto, while rent is 0.14% cheaper in Dubai. For comparison purposes, an inexpensive meal for 2 in a mid-range restaurant which costs about 200 Dirhams in Dubai is at 220 Dirhams in Toronto. On the other hand, a 1-bedroom apartment costs about 5,500 Dirhams in Dubai could cost about 5,600 Dirhams in Toronto.

It could be a little harder to find a job in Canada, however, if you’re in IT, you’re better off in Canada, while Dubai offers more sales work. Investing a lot of time and effort in job hunting is essential. However, once you land the right job, you will have enough funds to sustain a reasonable lifestyle. As for the salary, Toronto has a 10% lower salary range than in Dubai. Perhaps look at other cities in provinces with a lower cost of living, such as Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia, so you don’t eat into your savings as much.

Before relocating from Dubai to Canada, it is essential to do your research and plan ahead, giving yourself plenty of time before your move. If you’re moving with children or pets, talk to your professional international moving consultant at Allied, so we can help you with everything you need to know when moving from Dubai to Canada.