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My husband is a carpenter and I am an event manager. We have been looking at various options on moving to Canada and after much research we have decided we want to live in Vancouver and apply for pr. We initially wanted to get a twp but it seemed to be really difficult to get a job in this country, without being in Canada. We are currently saving for our proof of funds so cannot apply just yet, but I have been doing lots of research on living in Vancouver which has raised quite a few questions. Any help would be much appreciated!!!

1) we would like to live in Vancouver despite the cost of renting as we think there would be more opportunities for me to get work. I have read however that carpentry jobs aren't as plentiful in Vancouver, is this correct?

2) I have heard the healthcare system is pretty bad in terms of waiting times. I know the nhs also has wait times - I just wondered if the Canadian health system is worse than the nhs?

3) we are moving because we are really excited about being able to go to the mountains on a weekend either skiing/mountain biking and hope our standard of living will be better as we love the outdoors. I have read conflicting information on the amount of time people are expected to work. Some have said you have to work 6 days a week and between 60-80 hours a week. I know this depends on the province so wondered what the standard working hours are for b.c. In the uk my husband and I both get Saturday's and Sunday's off together and I wouldn't want that to shrink to just one day..

4) in terms of holidays I know that 2 weeks is the minimum annual leave per year. I get 5 weeks plus bank holidays in the uk, so 2 weeks plus bank holidays is a big drop! I know you can negotiate for more but unlikely to get any more than 3 weeks. I understand you get some personal days as well. Are there a standard amount of personal days you would get per year or is this completely dependant on the company? What is the norm?

5) I know west vancouver is nicer to live and east Vancouver isn't as nice due to gang related crimes. Are gang crimes a real problem to the general public? This makes me slightly nervous...

6) has the move been a good decision for those who have taken the step? My husband and I basically want to experience new things and live our lives to the full!!! I know we can always come back if we don't enjoy it but would just like to make sure we have all of the information so we don't get any nasty surprises!!!

7) I know it should take between 6-9 months to get pr once an application has been sent, but I just wondered what the actual timeframe is? Also I wondered if it would be worth just having one meeting with an immigration lawyer to make sure we don't delay our application. Is this worth it? Does anybody have any recommendations?

Thanks in advance!!!!!
 

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Sorry I can't comment on all of your questions, but here are a few thoughts. My partner and I moved to BC from the UK in early 2010 and we have lived in both Victoria and Vancouver, currently in Vancouver.

I agree that it looks difficult to get a job without being here. When I was interviewing (in Canada) I was told that employers don't like interviewing from overseas as there is always an expectation that all the candidate's effort will be worth it in the end.

3) I've never heard anything like this before. I work as a software developer and I've never had such a laid-back job as I have here (see 'west coast lifestyle'). I am expected to work 40 hours a week and no more. If I want to work 4 x 10 hour days and take Friday off nobody minds. Unless my work requires it I usually work from home and occasionally take breaks to play frisbee with my dog on the Beach. As long as you're up early on weekends (to beat the traffic out of Vancouver) you can go somewhere amazing every weekend.

4) In the UK I was used to 4 weeks (20 days) holiday plus public holidays. Here I get 3 weeks (15 days) and public holidays - no bank holidays but this does include BC Day, Canada Day, Labour Day, Boxing Day, New Year's Day and maybe some others I've forgotten. I have also heard the minimum is 2 weeks but I think it all comes down to what you can negotiate. If you value your time more than your salary (I do) your employer might agree to unpaid leave but that is definitely specific to the organization. Personally I don't really mind having less holiday because I make so much more of my weekends than I ever did in Manchester - why get really drunk and spend your weekends hungover when you can climb a mountain???

5) I've not heard much about gang problems in Vancouver, though every once in a while someone in Surrey gets shot... Downtown has a lot of bike thiefs and the Downtown Eastside is definitely one to avoid. I live in Kitsilano and never worry about crime, and I have friends in East Van (mainly around Commercial Drive) who don't seem to have any trouble. The only reason I prefer west to east is the scenery and the environment - it has nothing to do with crime. East Vancouver is (in my opinion) a bit grottier and just not as pleasant. You still get to see the mountains though and it is cheaper.

6) We have *never* regretted moving here and would both be devastated if we ever had to move back. Life in BC has some intangible quality that I only really appreciate when I visit the UK - everyone is so miserable there and everywhere is so filthy! I think one road trip out of Vancouver to Whistler or Pemberton and - provided you're not blind - the scenery will totally blow you away and you'll never think about going back.

7) I'm not sure about your timeframe - I would have thought it takes longer but can't be sure. Although expensive an immigration lawyer could be a good idea - I knew the PNP process existed but didn't think it was a good option for me. A lawyer set me right and now my application is expedited because BC said they wanted us to live here. My partner and I landed with working holiday visas (through BUNAC) then after I got a job I convinced my employer to support me through the PNP process. Now our federal application is almost finished and we should have PR soon. It was a lot of paperwork, maybe $3 - 4k on fees and lawyers, and lots of effort. I think the whole process so far has taken about 16 months and it's not over yet.
 
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