Moving to Vancouver | All You Need to Know

Whether you’re preparing to move to Vancouver from somewhere else in Canada, or are immigrating to Vancouver from abroad, you’re in for a great time once you arrive.

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If you are considering moving to Vancouver, you will be elated to know you’re not alone.

Expats from all over the world are attracted to starting a life in the True North surrounded by nature.

However, you’ve to be ready to spend over half of your earnings on rent monthly. Still interested?

Read on to get the intricate details and everything you need to know about moving to Vancouver.

Moving to Vancouver

The process of relocating to Vancouver, or anywhere else in Canada, is not as hard as one might think.

Vancouver is a multicultural city and it’s home to lots of different nationalities, so much so that the entire neighborhood is dedicated to different ethnicities.

Setting aside visa requirements and work permit applications for expats, the government welcomes and treasures diversity by providing cultural programs and community spaces.

The second you get approval for your visa, no one can stop you in this city of splendor.

Diversity and a booming economy are just two factors that make Vancouver is a very vibrant place.

The natural landscape is one of the major factors attracting large numbers of expats.

Outdoor activities are abundant and there is never a dull moment, irrespective of if you are partying around Downtown Yaletown, shopping at the Vancouver flea market which happens weekly, or hiking a trail on the mountain ranges in the North Shore Mountains.

Are you relocating with your family and looking for a serene life? Or are you embarking on this adventure alone? Whichever it is, Vancouver will embrace you with warmth.

Relocating to Vancouver

Relocating is never a simple process, but Vancouver would be worth it in the end. This city is all-encompassing and expats know it.

Neighborhoods are lively and diverse, nature is plentiful, the food is amazing, jobs are abundant, and education and healthcare are world-class. What else do you require to convince you?

If you are still pondering on whether or not to move to Vancouver, our pros and cons list will help you make your final decision.

Things to Know Before Moving to Vancouver

Vancouver, has consistently ranked among the top ten cities to live in, this might hint to you that it is an expat wonderland.

While we’d not like to throw a spanner in your works, it is recommended to always consider every pro and con before moving.

The standard of living in Canada’s third-largest city is overall very high, but Vancouver also has its drawbacks that you need to know.

The Pros of Moving to Vancouver

Diversified Population

Vancouver’s population is a mixture of Aboriginal people, English-Canadians, English, Scottish, Irish, Nigerians, Kenyans, Chinese, Koreans, Indians, Hispanics, Filipino, Iranians, and many more.

The city welcomes diversity and embraces all nations.

Vast Nature

The beaches and mountain ranges of the North Shore mountains are not all there is to Vancouver.

Stanley Park, for example, is a magnificent green space in the middle of the city and the sunsets from there are mind-boggling.

Booming Economy

There are lots of job opportunities. Expats would be glad to know that there are a lot of openings in industries like healthcare, education, finance, and technology.

In fact, the city has had trouble providing additional office space to fit all those skilled workers in the past.

World-Class Healthcare

Public healthcare in Vancouver is subsidized by taxpayers. Anyone with a permanent residency permit has full and complete access to healthcare that covers everything under the provincial healthcare plan.

Excellent Education

In Vancouver, The public education system is completely free and is rated highly on an international level.

Schools within the city have a different focus, some even focus on the multicultural needs of the population. 

The Cons of Moving to Vancouver


Vancouver is one of the priciest cities worldwide as regards real estate. Be ready to either spend half of your earnings on rent or to have long commutes to and from work because you’d be living on the very outskirts of town.


Vancouver is located on two Northern plates, which means it’s a high-risk area for earthquakes.

The city is has been affected by a lot of small earthquakes. However, research has shown that before long, Vancouver might be hit by a major one.

Low Wages

Although there are lots of employment opportunities, wages are low if you are not a skilled worker.

The minimum wage is $14 CAD hourly. Living in a city this costly, it can be hard to handle your bills and have fun concurrently on a minimum to the average salary.

Homelessness and Drugs

There are lots of homeless young people in Vancouver. You will witness lots of drug use and young people on the street in Downtown Eastside and East Hastings.


Although Vancouver is a reasonably safe city, the crime rate is high. You would witness lots of drug use around the street as earlier mentioned and violence against women is unfortunately common.

Tips and Advice for Moving to Vancouver

Is it Hard to Move to Vancouver as an Expat?

Apart from everything you need to do to get work and residence visas in Canada, moving can be hard for expats who do not know the layout of the city.

Acquiring a home in a city hit by a housing crisis is very strenuous. Many expats over the years have had to decide against moving to cramped and expensive Vancouver city itself, choosing a bigger and less expensive home in the surrounding communities like Burnaby, Surrey, and the Tri-Cities of Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, and Port Moody.

Most suburbs are properly connected to the center by public transportation. If you can, our advice is to find a short-term rental before finally deciding on a more permanent place.

This way you have lots of time to get acquainted with the city and find the neighborhoods that best resonate with you and your budget.

For further information on how to find accommodation in Canada, read our guide on accommodation In Canada.

Jobs are abundant as we’ve severally highlighted, however, finding a well-paying and skilled job as an expat is highly competitive.

Why? This is because Canada already has highly skilled native graduates that do not require a pricey work visa.

Vancouver is presently creating lots of new jobs, and expats with specialized skills in fields such as IT, (bio) engineering and business and technology may just be in luck.

Don’t let this deter you from moving to such an amazing place. Expats rapidly forget the stress of moving upon their arrival as they feel immediately accepted and welcomed.

Being a culturally diverse hub, Vancouver houses so many ethnicities that it is not possible to not feel the spirit of the city.

And if you are the shy type that needs a nudge meeting new people, you will find thrilling and diverse communities via InterNations. On there you could connect with co-expats, local events, and community groups.

Moving with Pets

Can’t move without your furry best bud? You do not need to worry. It is attainable to bring pets into Canada, but know that it is a tad bit inconvenient.

To gain entrance into the country, pets do not need to be microchipped. They require a valid Rabies Certificate (EU Pet Passport) worded in English or French, and issued by a licensed veterinarian, including all recommended vaccinations.

For more information, read our guide on bringing your pets to Canada.

Get Expert Help to Move

All the hustle and bustle of relocating is already overwhelming without taking into consideration visa applications, job hunting, and home-finding.

If you are planning your relocation to Vancouver, enlisting an expert on immigrating to Vancouver would be your best bet, as they’d help you through international shipping, finding a home, visa application, and much more.

Visa and Work Permits

Although very welcoming to expats, Canada has a strict visa requirement. So, before that your dream of living in the True North can manifest, you’d have to check if or not you need a visa to gain entrance into the country.

And if yes, which one. Depending on what country you are citizens of, you might be in luck.

Major “sender” countries in Europe and Asia are exempted from visas and only require an eTA (Electronic Travel Authorization) and work permit approval.

Living In Vancouver

What is it like living in Vancouver? For the majority of expats it is like a fantasy.

Vancouver has it all. If you love beaches, you will see tucked-away and serene stretches of sand with a view of the mountains.

But a little party never killed anybody, so if you are into beach clubs and happy hours, ensure you swing by Kitsilano beach during the summer period.

Nature lovers can be able to hike lots of trails at the North Shore Mountain Range or enjoy the gorgeous view from Stanley Park.

Vancouver has not constantly been ranked in the top ten cities to live in for no reason.

The city is multicultural, vibrant, and filled with opportunities and beauty. Yet ask any of the 2.6 million residents of Vancouver what it is like there, and they will tell you “breathtaking, but….”

The hesitation in compliments stems from the fact that the city is presently undergoing a shortage of housing, which in turn raises rents drastically.

And, as in lots of big cities, you will encounter horrible traffic. So, the best advice we can give you before moving is: get a well-paying job, live in the suburbs, and dump your car.

Working In Vancouver

The working environment in Vancouver is just as diverse as its populace. Although the city is lauded for its financial sector, the labour market in technology and natural resources has been on the steady rise, and there’s no end in sight.

Until recently, getting a job as an expat was highly competitive, but according to projections Vancouver is about to be hit by a skills shortage. This means your time has come!

Like everywhere else in Canada, you’d be required to have a work permit to be issued a visa. But to be issued the visa, you’d have to secure a job first.

Canadians are precise about certain skills, and the Canadian way of spelling, which is a mix of British English, American English, Quebéc French, and some local idioms, so ensure to stand out in your CV with all of your accomplishments and not with spelling mistakes.

Salaries in Vancouver are modest. However, in a city amidst a housing crisis, modest salaries just about cover your daily costs like rent, utilities, food, and transportation. 

To live comfortably, you’d need to earn more than $55,000 CAD annually. If you are a techie, you are in luck. Salaries in that industry are high and would continually rise because of the lack of skilled people out there.

Entrepreneurs and self-employed expats will be glad to know that opportunities are abundant. Vancouver has lots of different co-working spaces where you can mix up with similar-minded professionals from your field.

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