The Canadian News

‘Not so friendly’ Vancouver ranks among 10 worst cities in the world for expats to live and work

West Coast city ranked 43rd among 50 countries, worse than Toronto which placed 19th

Author of the article:

Pamela Heaven

Vancouver ranked 43rd among 50 countries rated by expats, worse than Toronto which placed 19th. PHOTO BY ROBERT GIROUX/GETTY IMAGES

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Vancouver ranked among the 10 worst places for expats to live and work in this year’s InterNations Expat City Ranking list.

InterNations, a global network for expatriates, has been ranking countries and cities since 2017, surveying people living aboard about housing, the job market, social life and more. This year almost 12,000 expats living in 181 countries or territories were surveyed with 50 cities meeting the sample size requirement.

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Vancouver — described as a city “where housing is unaffordable and the local residents are not so friendly” — ranked 43rd among the 50, worse than Toronto which placed 19th.

Sixty-nine per cent of expats coming to Vancouver were “extremely dissatisfied” with the cost of living and half said their disposable household income was not enough to live a comfortable life.

Thirty-one per cent believe they were not paid fairly for work, compared with 20 per cent globally.

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Aside from that, 73 per cent of expats were happy with their work-life balance and 60 per cent rate the job market positively versus 47 per cent globally.

They’re not so happy with their social life, however.

Vancouver received below-average results in the Ease of Settling In index, with 39 per cent of expats unhappy with their social life and close to three in 10 describing the local residents as unfriendly.

Thirty-two per cent said they did not have a personal support network. “It can be hard to enter a social circle which is already established,” said one expat from New Zealand about Vancouver.

The West Coast city did perform well in the environment and climate category, with 100 per cent of expats giving a thumbs-up to the natural environment and 89 per cent praising the availability of green goods and services.

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Toronto stood higher in the overall ranking at 19th, scoring points for dealings with local bureaucracy, local job market and career opportunities. But it too scored low for housing, with 76 per cent of expats finding shelter costs unaffordable, compared with 43 per cent worldwide.

In fact, Canada’s biggest city ranks in the bottom five on the personal finance index. “Toronto has become totally unaffordable for a lot of people,” said a Russian expat.

Forty per cent of respondents said they were not making enough to live a comfortable life in Toronto.

Here are the top 10 cities in the 2022 expat ranking — with InterNations’ description of each city’s major polling features:

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Valencia, Spain: Liveable, friendly and affordable
Dubai, UAE: Great for work and leisure
Mexico City, Mexico: Friendly and affordable, but unsafe
Lisbon, Portugal: Amazing climate and quality of life, mediocre work options
Madrid, Spain: Great leisure activities, a welcoming culture
Bangkok, Thailand: Expats feel at home despite safety concerns
Basel, Switzerland: Expats satisfied with finances, jobs, quality of life
Melbourne, Australia: An easy city to get used to
Abu Dhabi, UAE: Excellent health care, worry-free bureaucracy
Singapore: Easy administration, satisfying finances, improved career prospects

And the bottom 10:

Rome, Italy: Expats feel at home despite low quality of life
Tokyo, Japan: Hard to navigate but quality of life high
Vancouver, Canada: Housing unaffordable and local residents not so friendly
Milan, Italy: Troubling financial situation, difficult working life
Hamburg, Germany: Expats unhappiest here, have hardest time making friends
Hong Kong, China: Frustrating environmental and work-life factors
Istanbul, Turkey: The worst city for working abroad
Paris, France: A top destination for culture and cuisine — if you can afford it
Frankfurt, Germany: Struggle with digitization, administration and language
Johannesburg, South Africa: The world’s worst expat destination

With additional reporting by Bloomberg

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