Moving to Canada

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  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 10:47:30 7,395 posts
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    Missus and I started to contemplate moving to Canada, for maybe a year or two (and longer if we like it). Vancouver being the most likely location as it seems to tick a lot of boxes.

    Thinking of applying for the skill based working visas and see how we get on, obviously no guarantee that we'll get the invite but may as well give it a shot. If it doesn't happen no big deal. Presumption is that this will take years until we get the yay/nay.

    The idea is to sample suburban American lifestyle (without moving to the US). This means no apartments in the city centre but a house in a reasonably nice suburban neighbourhood (or town on the outskirts if the commute is acceptable). Haven't yet done any research on the rental market so no idea how realistic that is without breaking the bank, or making our lives a misery due to being stuck in traffic for hours a day.

    We did watch some Youtubes of people that moved there and shared their experiences (both good and bad), the problem is most of them are Canadian/American kids who have different expecations and standards compared to us (are 40 +/- couple years old).

    The main gripes mentioned were costs of living and the weather.

    Now, we're already used to living in expensive places so that wouldn't put us off as such - although it would depend on what the job prospects are. Am currently working as self employed contractor so not sure how realistic it is to continue doing this over there, and to what extent we'd have to lower our living standards if I were to go with regular employment again. I'd be open to it though if we can still have a decent, outdoorsy lifestyle.

    Work/life balance in general is a big questionmark, no idea how 'hard' people work over there - not planning to work like a dog just to pay bills and not having any fun obviously.

    Likewise with the weather, as long as it's not completely shit for months in a row (warm summers for more than a few weeks and cold snowy winters would be ideal i.e. 4 proper seasons) I reckon we'd be fine with that. The rain was mentioned a lot, but again if someone from LA moans about the rain I'd have to take that with a pinch of salt.

    My only previous experience of Canada is a two night stay in Montreal during winter (hated it, but don't want to dismiss the whole country based on that), and watching the Mountie on telly in the 90s.

    Oh and it goes without saying that we'd go over on a reconaissance trip before we'd decide to move, but that would only happen later once we'd get the visas sorted (think you have a year to move).

    So, I suppose I'm looking for general advice, tips... Anything worth considering really. Cheers.

    Edited by KnuttinAtoll at 10:53:32 24-01-2019
  • monkman76 24 Jan 2019 10:53:42 14,898 posts
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    Maybe spend a bit more time there *before* deciding to move your life there?
  • Dougs 24 Jan 2019 10:56:01 90,196 posts
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    Paging PES.

    @fontgeeksogood
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 11:02:18 7,395 posts
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    monkman76 wrote:
    Maybe spend a bit more time there *before* deciding to move your life there?
    Yeah of course that's the plan. From what I gather the visa process isn't very costly so if we change our mind for whatever reason in the meantime (or due to a visit putting us off) we cancel the whole thing.

    Still good to gather some opinions though all the same I think.
  • Phattso 24 Jan 2019 11:03:51 24,816 posts
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    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    So, I suppose I'm looking for general advice, tips... Anything worth considering really. Cheers.
    Not specific to Canada, but if youíre only wanting to do it for a few years Iíd strongly advise letting the work situation lead you. If you can find companies willing to employ you then they can handle a lot of the Visa/housing stuff for you, and act as a safety net and guiding hand.

    That also injects some reality: you canít possibly know where you could live and still get to work... until you know what and where the work is. Can you telecommute? Is it part time? Etc. Etc.

    Iíve known a few people who went there. Theyíve all come back to Europe after a few years. Add that to the anecdotal evidence pile. :)

    Edited by Phattso at 11:04:34 24-01-2019
  • thelzdking 24 Jan 2019 11:04:02 9,515 posts
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    Poutine is delicious, so I'd say go for it.
  • FWB 24 Jan 2019 11:05:46 56,178 posts
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    Lived there for a few years, albeit a long time ago. I'd consider returning, but things to think of...

    - East coast (where I was) is cold. Bloody cold. 6months of winter.
    - N.American cities are not built with public transport in mind. The downside to the large houses/spaces you get is that everything is miles away and you often have to drive to the local shops. Of course you get used to it, but also it's the end of hopping on a plane for a short cheap holiday abroad. Tho with Brexit that may come to end here anyway.
    - Have you done the online points quiz? Will give you an idea of how successful your application will be.

    The outdoor life was never something I was big into until I moved there and then really did embrace it. It's great.

    Edited by FWB at 11:07:23 24-01-2019
  • Jono62 24 Jan 2019 11:06:35 22,664 posts
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    @fontgeeksogood

    Dougs wrote:
    Paging PES.

    @fontgeeksogood
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 11:07:44 7,395 posts
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    Phattso wrote:
    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    So, I suppose I'm looking for general advice, tips... Anything worth considering really. Cheers.
    Not specific to Canada, but if youíre only wanting to do it for a few years Iíd strongly advise letting the work situation lead you. If you can find companies willing to employ you then they can handle a lot of the Visa/housing stuff for you, and act as a safety net and guiding hand.

    That also injects some reality: you canít possibly know where you could live and still get to work... until you know what and where the work is. Can you telecommute? Is it part time? Etc. Etc.

    Iíve known a few people who went there. Theyíve all come back to Europe after a few years. Add that to the anecdotal evidence pile. :)
    That's a good point, which I forgot to mention. It does make sense to send job applications out there before moving, as I don't want to burn our savings on living costs without income. Although we're only really interested in Vancouver so would focus our search to there.
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 11:19:41 7,395 posts
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    @FWB the thing with the cold is that I don't mind it so much, but the wifey gets cold if it's not above 30 degrees so that's definitely a concern. She is adamant she wouldn't mind...

    I've been to various parts in the US (both for work and holidays, never more than 3 weeks though), and quite digged the lifestyle.

    Lazily driving everywhere in my fat SUV, what global warming etc. Right now it seems quite appealing and our view is, if us moving there makes us miss Europe then no problem we just move back - we're just a bit bored here now hence the whole idea shaping up more and more (it did come up over the years but we always dismissed it in favour of moving within the EU).

    Holidays wise, fair comment although we'd probably spend our weekend and holiday time on road trips exploring the wider local area.

    Haven't done the quiz yet, will check it out. I at least previously done the Australian one and would've passed it (probably not the case anymore due to my age), and from what I hear is that the Canadian one is easier to pass, as they've made the country more open to immigrants recently (I didn't research this myself so could be wrong).
  • freddymercurystwin 24 Jan 2019 11:20:24 1,726 posts
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    Irrespective of your view on Facebook I would hazard there would be a Facebook community Group for Ex-Pats living or moving to Canada. This can be a really useful resource, I'm a member of the Cyprus one as we may consider moving there if the planets collide in about 20 years time as we quite like it there and these groups can be an absolute font of knowledge and good/bad insights into living there. And as said, go out and experience the place a bit more.
  • Singularity 24 Jan 2019 11:20:55 3,154 posts
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    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    and watching the Mountie on telly in the 90s.
    I think you need to show Constable Benton Fraser a little more respect. Thank you kindly.
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 11:22:44 7,395 posts
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    @Phattso Forgot to ask, can you share the anecdotal evidence? Curious to hear what people's motivation to go back was, although I imagine most likely missing Europe/family/friends probably?
  • Load_2.0 24 Jan 2019 11:27:02 29,744 posts
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    Do you think you could beat a moose or a bear in hand to paw/hoof mortal combat?

    What if the was riding the moose?

    Might sound odd but it's on the landing card from Feb 2019 onwards.
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 11:29:12 7,395 posts
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    I don't leave the house without my reinforced breadbin lid strapped to my back so I should be ok, right?
  • Armoured_Bear 24 Jan 2019 12:23:37 27,334 posts
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    I'd definitely go on holiday there at the very least before going through all the visa stuff.
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 12:50:52 7,395 posts
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    Ideally, yes. Given the distance/cost involved it we're thinking though why not kickstart the visa process as there's not much to lose (apart from 100 bucks or whatever it costs), unless I'm missing something else.
  • samharper 24 Jan 2019 12:53:48 1,119 posts
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    I've been to Quebec, Toronto and Halifax, NS. Most striking thing was that everything has to be bilingual even if it's an area where people only speak English. Everything is very, very far apart, even in the more built up east side. I once knew someone from Vancouver who said he spent most holidays driving south into the US because there wasn't much around for miles. It's isolated and they do that really annoying thing where they put the tax on at the checkout, and it's substantially more than most US states as well. I thought the three cities I visited (for work) were nice enough but there's similar social development problems to the US and it all felt a bit soulless.
  • Phattso 24 Jan 2019 12:55:05 24,816 posts
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    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    @Phattso Forgot to ask, can you share the anecdotal evidence? Curious to hear what people's motivation to go back was, although I imagine most likely missing Europe/family/friends probably?
    Basically, yeah. The rule of thumb with expats seems to be that they fall into three categories: six month burnouts who weren't really up for it; three year dabblers who ultimately prefer their home nation; and lifers.

    I spent three and a half years living overseas in Asia, and that was absolutely the split I saw. Again, though, highly anecdotal. :)
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 13:13:10 7,395 posts
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    Phattso wrote:
    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    @Phattso Forgot to ask, can you share the anecdotal evidence? Curious to hear what people's motivation to go back was, although I imagine most likely missing Europe/family/friends probably?
    Basically, yeah. The rule of thumb with expats seems to be that they fall into three categories: six month burnouts who weren't really up for it; three year dabblers who ultimately prefer their home nation; and lifers.

    I spent three and a half years living overseas in Asia, and that was absolutely the split I saw. Again, though, highly anecdotal. :)
    I largely agree with that split, and consider myself a lifer (lived abroad for almost half my life now, across 3 countries). The problem, or rather danger with that is that you become uprooted - getting restless and dare I say bored and wanting to move on elsewhere, rather than settle down and integrate properly.

    Given we don't have kids and long term careers to worry about we're thinking of doing something a bit more 'crazy' than moving within Europe, and go further afield even if it's just for a little while, a bit like an andventure. We'd eventually come back to Europe, as I'd prefer to retire here rather than overseas. But until then there's this urge to take some more risks and try out different destinations before we become too old.
  • elstoof 24 Jan 2019 13:13:33 23,911 posts
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    Vancouver weather is very similar to Britain, Itís very expensive to live, if you like outdoorsy stuff - skiing, hiking, cycling etc then itís all there on your doorstep. If you donít, then thereís fuck all for hundreds and hundreds of miles, and youíd better head south because you donít want to go to the middle bit of Canada
  • JamboWayOh 24 Jan 2019 13:27:36 14,667 posts
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    Phattso wrote:
    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    @Phattso Forgot to ask, can you share the anecdotal evidence? Curious to hear what people's motivation to go back was, although I imagine most likely missing Europe/family/friends probably?
    Basically, yeah. The rule of thumb with expats seems to be that they fall into three categories: six month burnouts who weren't really up for it; three year dabblers who ultimately prefer their home nation; and lifers.

    I spent three and a half years living overseas in Asia, and that was absolutely the split I saw. Again, though, highly anecdotal. :)
    I agree with that split.
  • TheSaint 24 Jan 2019 13:56:33 18,741 posts
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    Cost of living in Vancouver is up there with the most expensive cities in the world. Lovely place but bloody expensive.
  • FWB 24 Jan 2019 14:13:06 56,178 posts
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    It's REALLY cold in the east and it goes on for half a year. I cannot stress that enough.

    My view is always do these things. One regrets more the things we don't do in life than what we do do. If you have no qualms returning back to Europe if it goes pear shaped, even more reason to try it.

    My motivation for returning was uni. I finished high school in Canada and it was much cheaper to come back to the UK. I'd also grown a little tired of the size of the place I was living in (only 1million and I'm a Londoner).
  • Technoishmatt 24 Jan 2019 14:14:30 3,508 posts
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    I liked Vancouver. Has nice suburbs. Would be a great place to hang out for a couple years, I expect. Not as cold i don't think as e.g. Montreal, and you can hop over the border to the US down into Washington and Oregon, which are also great places to check out.

    My impression of living costs in North America is that usually for professionals that the salaries can scale even more. E.g. in DC my rent etc is way above what I paid even in London, and a loaf of bread is ridiculous, but... my higher salary more than compensates for this.
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 15:10:46 7,395 posts
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    Yeah going south for trips seems very appealing, one of the reasons Vancouver is our favourite atm.

    Always wanted to do a west coast road trip, could be an ideal opportunity to tick that off the list while over there.

    I suppose the income potential is key really. Need to check out what's available just to get a rough idea. Assume though that employment rather than contracting might be the easier route to get foot into job market over there... not sure (I know for Australia it's much more difficult to get a visa as an independent rather than though employment sponsorship).
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 15:15:13 7,395 posts
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    FWB wrote:
    My view is always do these things. One regrets more the things we don't do in life than what we do do. If you have no qualms returning back to Europe if it goes pear shaped, even more reason to try it.
    Indeed that's a good approach to take. We try to, and can't say I had any regrets moving even though some moves didn't work out quite the way we imagined (and always cost money but you can't put a price on the experience imo).
  • elstoof 24 Jan 2019 15:23:10 23,911 posts
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    Whyís the thread full of warning about cold winters in Ontario/Quebec
  • KnuttinAtoll 24 Jan 2019 15:23:19 7,395 posts
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    Singularity wrote:
    KnuttinAtoll wrote:
    and watching the Mountie on telly in the 90s.
    I think you need to show Constable Benton Fraser a little more respect. Thank you kindly.
    Not Benton Fraser, but Jacques Rougeau... i.e. the other Mountie:)
  • fontgeeksogood 24 Jan 2019 19:29:49 6,737 posts
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    Fuck off, we're full
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