USA vs Canada for Expats: where should you move better?



USA vs Canada for Expats: where should you move better?

Changing your place of residence and moving to a new country is a life-changing experience, and choosing where to relocate can be difficult. The United States and Canada are two popular choices for immigrants considering a move to North America. Learn more about the pros and cons of living in Canada and the United States for relocation

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Choosing a country to move to is sometimes quite difficult, because in order for a change of residence to give positive emotions, it is necessary to find conditions that will satisfy the expat's personal requirements, raise the standard of living and provide career prospects.

The United States of America and Canada are two popular options among immigrants considering relocation. These two states have an equally high quality of life and a similar culture, but differ significantly in many areas.

It is generally accepted that moving to the US is the best choice for the vast majority of expats, while migrating to Canada is much easier. Is this true? We consider the pros and cons of each country below.

Why Canada or USA?

Canada and the USA are two large countries located next to each other in North America, their territories stretch from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean.

Canada is the second largest country in the world. From the snow-capped Rocky Mountains in the west to the stunning coastline of the Atlantic Provinces in the east, this country is a nature lover's paradise. Home to 37 million people, the state combines urban sophistication with rugged wilderness.

As every expat knows about the United States of America, the country stretches from sea to sea, covering 50 different states with a population of 331 million. From the skyscrapers of New York to the sun-drenched beaches of California, the United States is a land of dreams and opportunities for many foreigners.

Pros and cons of living in Canada

Benefits of moving to Canada

1. Universal health care system – access to medical services is available to all citizens and permanent residents of Canada, regardless of income level and social status. It also doesn't matter whether you need emergency medical care or a routine check-up. Health services are funded collectively, through taxes and government funding, meaning you don't have to sell your property to pay for treatment in Canada.

2. High level of security - the country has a low crime rate and a great emphasis on public safety, so you can walk calmly even on the night streets of Canadian cities.

3. High-quality and accessible education system - the state is home to highly rated universities that accept students from all over the world. From the University of Toronto to McGill University, Canadian educational institutions consistently rank among the best in the world. Tuition fees at Canadian universities are generally much lower than tuition fees at US universities. Numerous scholarships and educational programs are also approved in the country, available to both local and foreign students. Canada's multicultural society will allow you to get to know different views, ideas and traditions.

4. A developed social sphere - Canada's social security system is very strong, the country has introduced many benefits to support its residents - maternity leave, paid sick leave, etc.

5. Natural beauty and outdoor activities – From the majestic Rocky Mountains in Alberta to the stunning coastlines of Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada offers a wide variety of breathtaking scenery. Whether you're a fan of dense forests, towering mountains or crystal clear lakes, Canada has it all. There are also many opportunities for active recreation in the state - you can take a walk in Banff National Park, go skiing on the slopes of Whistler or paddle along the quiet Algonquin lakes.

6. Affordable immigration system – Canadian immigration is much more streamlined than US immigration.

7. Lower cost of living – The average cost of living in Canada is generally lower than in the US. However, prices in major Canadian cities such as Vancouver and Toronto are similar to those in major US cities such as New York and Seattle.

Disadvantages of moving to Canada

1. Limited job opportunities – While certain fields such as healthcare, technology and engineering have good job prospects, finding work in other fields can be quite difficult. It is important to research the job market in your desired industry and location before moving to improve your chances of finding a job. Also, Canadian employers often value local experience and qualifications, so explore available local certification programs.

2. Cold climate - Canadian weather often causes sadness in local residents. Winters here are long, cold and dark. Weather has a significant impact on everyday life - snowfalls can disrupt traffic, delay trains, etc.

3. High cost of living in big cities and high taxes - Toronto and Vancouver, for example, are known for their sky-high real estate prices. Many US cities also have a high cost of living, but if you're looking for an affordable place in Canada, you'll have to move to the countryside.

The country's various social benefits also come at a price. Taxes in Canada are quite high, some of your money will go towards funding public services and health care. Also, prices for imported goods may be higher due to transport costs and high tariffs.

4. Diverse Language Environment – A significant percentage of Canadians speak only French, while others speak only English. Depending on where you live, find out which language you will need.

How many foreigners live in Canada?

Annual immigration to Canada is about 500,000 new residents, one of the highest in the world. As of 2022, Canada was home to over eight million permanent resident immigrants – approximately 20% of Canada's total population. Most of the new residents are citizens of India, China and Afghanistan.

Pros and cons of living in the USA

Advantages of moving to the USA

1. Strong economy and career prospects – The United States of America boasts a strong and dynamic economy that offers numerous opportunities for career growth and entrepreneurship. The US is a particularly attractive destination for foreign nationals seeking employment at leading technology companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Google, Tesla, and more.

2. Cultural diversity: the USA is a colorful mosaic of cultures from different parts of the world, here you can get to know the life, traditions and cuisine of most countries. The USA is also known for its iconic cultural centers: the jazz scene in New Orleans, the Broadway theater district or the Hollywood film industry.

3. High level of education - many foreigners, from scientists to high school students, are interested in studying in one of the many educational institutions of the United States, because the United States can boast of a large number of famous universities and research institutions. The USA is also a world leader in scientific research and innovation.

4. Variety of climates – You can enjoy sunny beach vacations, ski on snowy mountain slopes, or explore national parks with scenic hiking trails. The USA has everything from sun and sea to snow and rain.

5. Higher Salaries – Salaries in the US are generally higher than in Canada, although the average cost of living in Canada is lower.

6. Many investment programs – most startup founders and young entrepreneurs choose the US over Canada because of the proximity of American investors and clientele, as well as opportunities for establishing business connections.

Disadvantages of living in the USA

1. Complicated and expensive health care system – the cost of health care in the US is much higher than in Canada. This means that those who are not sponsored by their employers, or those who do not have coverage, may find themselves in a difficult position when they need medical care. Unlike Canada's universal health care system, the United States does not provide health care to all its residents.

2. Different crime rates across the country – while some neighborhoods offer a peaceful life, others may have high crime rates. Gun violence and mass shootings are at least three times more common in the US than in Canada.

3. Complex migration system – it is quite difficult to understand visa categories, documents and changes in migration policy. Also, hundreds of thousands of people immigrate to the US every year, but the demand for US visas and green cards still exceeds the annual limit.

4. High fees for studying at universities.

5. Extreme Weather – While many US states enjoy mild year-round weather, some parts of America experience hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, and more.

How many expats settled in the USA?

The United States has the largest number of immigrants in the world, more than 50 million people. This is almost 4 times more than in Germany, which ranks second in the number of immigrants - 13 million. About 1.5 million foreigners move to the country every year, most of them from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, India, Honduras and China.

The United States of America and Canada are incredible places to live, and it is not easy to choose between them. Therefore, after getting acquainted with the attractive pluses and cautious minuses of life in both countries, it is worth continuing to study the states. Read more about the conditions of moving and the peculiarities of living in the USA and Canada in our material.

Before making a decision and choosing a country, try to understand your personal priorities, goals and circumstances, research the details of the cities and regions that will attract your attention or seek advice from specialists.

Daria Rogova, Head of Insurance at Visit World

To move, travel or work safely in a new country, you will need travel insurance. You can apply for an extended policy on our website here.

Products from Visit World for a comfortable trip:

Travel guide for 200 countries;

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Travel insurance around the world (please select the country of interest and citizenship to receive services);

Medical insurance all over the world.

We monitor the accuracy and relevance of our information. Therefore, if you see any error or discrepancy, please write to our hotline.

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