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Potential move to Vancouver?!?

(36 Posts)
SnowBells Mon 23-Jan-17 13:44:25


We are currently looking at moving abroad. I myself have moved several times in my life, but this would be a real first for DH.

If we did move, this would be due to DH's work as he can earn a lot more outside of the UK than within. A large US company asked him whether he'd consider relocating. Obviously, he'd still have to interview, etc. - but given that I'm obsessed with forward-planning, I thought I'd research this first.

If this all worked out, I'd have to give up my job. I do earn more than him right now, so it's a little unsettling... but I'd also like to just move and experience living in another country for a while and take some time off from the rat race.

I've googled around, and it seems that with his degrees and years of experience, he could expect to receive around CAD130-160k (plus bonus and stocks, healthcare, etc. - but I'm not calculating that in here), so around GBP78-98k. That's less than what he'd get in the US, but we are where we are. The top end of that range is less than our combined base salaries in the U.K.

Now my question: I'm not well-versed in the Canadian tax system, but is that enough for a family to live on in expensive Vancouver? We're thinking of renting there and letting out our house here.


toffeeboffin Mon 23-Jan-17 15:08:46

Depends what you mean by family... Are your kids school aged or needing daycare?

SnowBells Mon 23-Jan-17 16:39:49

Hi todfeeboffin,

One child, but no daycare if I'm really just going to be a SAHM... maybe babysitter from time to time though.

Laptopwieldingharpy Mon 23-Jan-17 23:59:09

Lucky you! It's a fab place to live!
Please send details of the job offer if you decide to pass!look here?

doggle Tue 24-Jan-17 00:05:29

It doesn't sound much for Van tbh. We earn more than that as a couple (dh is on around $145k and I top it up another 40ish) and wouldn't consider that enough for Vancouver housing to be comfortable. We have three kids though, so would need a bigger place. You might be able to manage in a 2 bed condo.

I'm a bit confused about the status though - this is to work for a US company? They would provide you with a work permit for BC?

doggle Tue 24-Jan-17 00:08:25

You should check out britishexpats forum though - they have a ton of up to date cost info for different areas and loads of Vancouver members. We have a few on mn. But the info should be really easy to find on be.

Want2bSupermum Tue 24-Jan-17 01:31:08

My mother lives in Vancouver. It is extremely expensive and some of the schools are struggling with the influx of immigrants who don't speak English and/or have troubled home lives. The schools in most areas are fine but those areas are on the more expensive side (think CAD1.5 million or more for a small 3bed family home which means rent of about CAD5k a month). Where my mother lives a 2 bed flat with parking and outdoor space available is about $3500-4k a month and up. Schools are good and the local amenities are there for families.

It is early days, see what they offer and see if they can cover your housing costs plus provide you with a permit to work. Canada is a great place to raise a family but Vancouver is that most expensive part (and its eye-watering expensive). I would want to be able to work to some degree, even if its starting my own small business on the side.

SnowBells Tue 24-Jan-17 08:40:00

Thanks everyone. A lot of thinking then. We'd only rent a 2-bed condo - we don't see it as a forever thing, so wouldn't buy. More like a stint of 2-5 years abroad and a step up the career ladder for DH, before heading closer to our final destination. I could ask my company for a transfer, I guess (a colleague did work in Canada by doing UK hours at home for a while), and we'd have twice as much income, but not sure I'd want to.

Will see what happens. There are several countries we're considering right now...

doggle It's a very large US company with over a hundred offices worldwide. Not many of their employees in Vancouver doing DH's type of job seem to be Canadian (checked on LinkedIn).

Want2bSupermum Tue 24-Jan-17 12:12:04

I would so be trying to transfer and working from home. Based on the time difference you wouldn't need much childcare.

SnowBells Wed 25-Jan-17 08:18:18

Thanks, Want2bSupermum. The problem with the transfer is that the only time I saw that happen, when it was based on an employee's wishes, it was a fairly senior employee (Head of xxx) with extenuating circumstances. My managers used to say that there may be potential in future for me to work in North America, but that was never going to be Vancouver (although we do have an office there, too) - more USA. I do have colleagues in Canada I work with closely, but they're in Toronto. I could try, I guess.

DH has now been asked to interview - so it's moving quicker than expected. I was the one who told him to just apply and see what happens blush (because for his job, a jump over there or the US makes sense - at least for a while), so I'd be gutted, if I told him we suddenly can't.

And unless I transfer over there, chances of me finding a similar role to what I have now is low. I do like the idea of setting up my own business (and in the long-run, that's what I want to do), but that definitely means we must be able to live on DH's income alone for at least a year.

SnowBells Wed 25-Jan-17 08:23:09

P.S.: I told DH to go for the opportunity before I figured out how expensive Vancouver is. Silly me! 😕😕😕

doggle Thu 26-Jan-17 21:23:35

you need to make sure what visa you would be entering on too - I'm pretty sure as a spouse accompanying a TWP then you can work(?) but I know when I entered the first time (accompanying spouse under status of forces agreement) I had to flagpole to get my own work permit. It's definitely worth checking ahead of time. The second time we both had PR so much simpler (check medical requirements too - easier to get unrestricted open work permit for you if you have had immigration medical - dh's will be tied to his employer in any case).

SnowBells Fri 27-Jan-17 16:57:15

doggle The company provides immigration and relocation assistance (i.e. they do everything). Will check that though. Will wait and see what happens... at the moment, we're just playing it by the ear. The rewards from this move would have be big enough for us to really jump ship... I don't think I'd give up the salary I have now, plus 6 weeks holiday to still work in Canada, earn much less and with only 2 weeks holiday. Just wouldn't be worth it.

It would be worth it, if DH got the right package though... and I could exit the rat race completely wink. I think that's the only scenario where I'd be willing to move.

lizzieoak Sat 28-Jan-17 05:45:17

It is horribly expensive - that is housing is. Eating out is pretty cheap, utilities aren't bad. It's housing that eats your income.

The Lower Mainland is really spread out. If you do go, make sure you get a place w a reasonable commute. If he's in the centre then the West End or the North Shore are closest (East Van is really rough).

It rains a hell of a lot. If you ski, Vancouver is good for that. There's loads of water sports and the Gulf
Islands are gorgeous.

But ya, housing ... there's a provincial election coming up & it's the main issue (or tied w the fentanyl crisis). Health care is very good and accessible. It's one of the best places in the world to eat Asian food. The architecture is mostly hideous. Pros and cons.

jonesmwm Tue 31-Jan-17 21:52:20

Hi there,

Just jumping in on the off chance that any of you know anything about employment opportunities for UK teachers in Vancouver at the moment. I have read a lot of negative stuff in the Vancouver media about a crisis in schools there at the moment with huge budget cuts, plus an over-saturation of teachers generally. I follow the key educational organisations on twitter etc but wondered if any of you know any teachers who have settled there from the UK and found full-time employment? It's really hard to hear about any successes but there must be tons of British teachers out there. I am BC Certified; a process which took a lot of time and effort, but I have reached a bit of a standstill, not seeing many English teacher jobs advertised and seeing a lot of ESL job ads which specifically state 'overseas applicants need not apply'...

Any people you could put me in touch with I'd be really grateful.

Want2bSupermum Tue 31-Jan-17 22:00:42

jones My cousin and her DH are both teachers and live/work in Northern BC (not too far from alaska). My cousin is tenured so has a guaranteed job. Her DH isn't so each year he needs to reapply and wait until funding comes through for his teaching post. Some years he hasn't worked. He set up a wrap around care center close to the local school where he normally teaches so during years when he isn't hired he still has an income.

lizzieoak Wed 01-Feb-17 02:58:51

Jones, private industry esl for adults does not pay amazing rates - about half of what a teacher w ten years in the public school would make.

I can't think of a single British teacher my kids ever had. So I'm not sure about there being tons!

The courts have just ordered the BC govt to hire a huge amount of teachers, but these need to be filled asap.

It's always seemed to me that the universities churn out a lot of teachers here, but I'm not sure if that's correct. I do know people who've got their degree then had to go to remote villages in the north to get work.

If you have a work permit for Canada, now is the time to apply due to the court order. You could also apply to private schools as while the pay is not as high (BC teachers are very well paid compared to most other people here w one non-it/engineering degree) conditions are good from what I hear.

lizzieoak Wed 01-Feb-17 03:05:07

Another thing Jones - the BC teachers union is very vocal and so a certain amount of the talk about the education system & the govt is just part of the back and forth. The govt is dumbing down the curriculum, but I don't think that's unusual nowadays. Politics in BC is very left vs right, right vs left so there's a certain amount of posturing goes on on both sides.

lazydog Wed 01-Feb-17 03:09:53

jonesmwm - I wish I could be more positive but the only British teacher my kids have had since we moved to BC 11 years ago is someone who had emigrated around 30 years ago. She's now retired. I have several friends who are teachers and none know whether they're going to have a job from one year to the next. The teaching position stays available (assuming there's sufficient funding) but if someone else with seniority wants it, they can be bumped out!

MrsTerryPratchett Wed 01-Feb-17 03:14:47

Just across the water from Van! Vancouver just got declared the third least affordable place to live. Housing is extremely expensive there while jobs aren't that well paid!

Immigration is also a bit of a bugger at the moment because the last PM cut funding then the current PM allowed a lot of refugees (which is great but I know the wait times can be shocking).

I like Van but would want to be very well paid to live there.

lizzieoak Wed 01-Feb-17 03:49:44

Also, the Ministry is looking at selling off school properties (which is madness as the population continues to boom) to make short-term gains. This upset the Vancouver school board mightily so there's a lot of anger over that. So some of what you read is run-off from that situation.

ohjessie Wed 01-Feb-17 03:49:45

I live in Van and don't earn even a fraction of what your husband would be on.
Yes it's an expensive place to live, but it's so worth it. It's truly incredible here.
I disagree with the poster who said East Van is rough; East Van is a large area and many parts of it are very family-centric.
Public transport is fantastic, there are so many parks in the city, and if you enjoy outdoor activities this is the place for you.
DP and I rent a one bed apartment (in a brand new build, 10 minutes from downtown) for $1400/month. A friend lives in a lovely spacious 2 bed condo for $1500.

It's definitely doable OP.
And what an amazing opportunity, especially if your DH's company will sort out all the work permit stuff!

Want2bSupermum Wed 01-Feb-17 18:41:43

The reason East can gets a bad name is because of the drug issues in the area. Vancouver in general has a significant heroin issue which has been brewing for the past 8-10 years. It's very sad and the epidemic is all over North America including in my town.

I currently live opposite a shelter that about 3 months after we moved in started a drug rehab program. Its great they have done this but it sucks that I worry about my kids touching drug paraphernalia left behind and we have about 3-4 people a month who overdose on our steps.

For what we have to live with I would avoid East Van with young children when you first arrive. Yes there are some great parts which are very family friendly but when you are arriving at a new city in a foreign country it's so easy to end up in the wrong part. After six months, when you have a better handle on the area it's well worth looking at East Van but to start with I would not consider it if I were you.

jonesmwm Wed 01-Feb-17 21:41:36

Thanks so much lizzieoak, Want2beSupermum and lazydog

I'm glad I got in touch. It's the first Van-side insight I've gained that isn't filtered through another media source. It's not the most hopeful news but it fits with the lack of progress I've made seeking positions or making contact with people via LinkedIn...

Frustratingly, my sister and family have permanent residency and a business in Van; but that's not enough of a connection to help get us out there of course! They both moved out there about 11 years ago. I've visited a lot over the years and thought the biggest decision was to decide we wanted to move there too. I thought it would be a whole lot easier somehow. I guess that's the trouble with choosing one of the most desirable places to live in the world!! We really want our little boy to grow up there (he's just turned 2)...not in London where we live now.

My partner is a Designer (advertising agency) and we are hopeful that we can pursue a move via his employer, if I can't find a job offer. I think it would be so much easier once I'm there, but I don't know for sure. I have a well paid job here but it just isn't where we want our future to be. We are prepared to take a significant cut in our salaries as we've calculated that we'd still have more disposable income there. We aren't in a hurry to buy a place and in comparison to London, rent and bills in Van are less than we pay now. It's the quality of life we're after, not just a paycheque. But the job security is of course an issue we need to consider.

I do technically have the license to teach in BC but it doesn't make the process clearer of the job ads in my subject appear! I guess I just have to keep on plugging away.

If anyone has a direct contact - someone who has moved there to teach from the UK or a Canadian teacher - who wouldn't mind me getting in touch, I'd be ecstatic! I need to network like mad if I'm ever going to get a handle on the possibilities of this working out.

Thanks for listening.

Want2bSupermum Fri 03-Feb-17 00:21:46

Take a look at Toronto. I think it's a great place to live and it's so much closer to Vancouver.

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