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Expats in Canada: Came for love, want to stay but pay sucks

Briefing highlights

  • Canada dips in expat rankings
  • Why expats want to stay
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The 'friendly Canadian'

Canada ranks as the 16th top destination for expats, but it's the details of a new survey that are fascinating.

Some came for love, many want to stay forever, the weather's not great but, hey, the kids learned to ski. Canada is friendly and safe, and the quality of life is is the biggest draw. But the cost of living is nothing to write home about.

Oh, and the income sucks.

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These are among the findings of an indepth annual survey released this week by InterNations, a Germany-based global network for expats. Studies such as these can help determine pay and other work issues when firms and governments send employees abroad.

Here are some Canadian highlights from the study of more than 12,500 expats in 188 countries or territories, which formed the input for ranking of 65 nations:

1. Canada's overall ranking fell four spots from No. 12 in 2016.

2. "Quality of life" inched down one spot, but remains high at 13.

3. In the "ease of settling in" category, Canada lost tumbled a hefty 10 spots, to 23.

4. "Working abroad," which looks at careers, work-life balance and job security, rose to 16 from 23.

5. In the area of family life, which measured only 45 countries, Canada dipped to 23 from 21.

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6. At 37th spot, the cost of living is disappointing.

7. And at 47th spot, personal finance is lagging.

So, all in all a declining performance. But consider certain findings and what expats had to say.

1. "Love seems to have been a strong motivator to brave the distance: 13 per cent moved to Canada in order live in their partner's home country and another 13 per cent because of their partner's job or education."

2: 39 per cent have become Canadian citizens, and 45 per cent said they "may stay forever."

3. "The most common reason for moving, however, was for a better quality of life … Respondents are particularly happy with their personal safety – just 1 per cent have something negative to say about this factor – as well as peacefulness, which 94 per cent rate positively."

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4. "Luckily, the welcome expats receive in Canada is less frosty than the weather. Over four in five respondents (81 per cent) regard the attitude towards foreign residents as friendly."

5. "When it comes to family life in general, a large percentage of expat parents are very happy with their children's health (49 per cent), safety (72 per cent), general well-being (41 per cent), as well as the available leisure activities for kids (51 per cent). One British expat parent really likes 'the outdoor life and the opportunities my children now have, like skiing.'"

6. "Close to three in ten (28 per cent) find their disposable household income isn't enough to cover their living expenses, and 12 per cent even say it's nowhere near enough. "In the last few years … life [has] become more expensive in the part where I live. House prices [have] increased, but overall life is good,' a Romanian in Canada disclosed."

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