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This article was updated more than 6 months ago. Some information may be outdated.

Have you ever strolled along the streets of Vancouver and heard a familiar accent? The sounds are often delivered by individuals of the paler variety, enjoying a long, warm summer eight time zones from home.

Have you ever strolled along the streets of Vancouver and heard a familiar accent? The sounds are often delivered by individuals of the paler variety, enjoying a long, warm summer eight time zones from home.

“We’re not used to three or four months of sunshine,” stated Moving2Canada founder Ruairi Spillane on CBC’s On the Road radio show earlier this month. The Irishman-turned-Vancouverite has had a full decade to get used to the differences between home and Canada’s west coast, during which he has seen a rise in the number of his countrymen and women in and around Vancouver.

Some of the newly-arrived Irish will pack up and move on or return home within a few months, their Vancouver experience summed up in a few Instagram stories and a couple of anecdotes about the great clients and co-workers they met in their casual job. Some, however, will stick around long after the October rains have settled in. They may even stay forever, thanks in no small part to a Canadian immigration system that may as well have Céad Míle Fáilte as its motto.*

“A lot of the young Irish people are coming in on a two-year work permit, and that’s a gateway to permanent residency,” notes Spillane, referring to the International Experience Canada (IEC) program, through which Irish citizens 18 to 35 years of age are in the enviable position of being able obtain an open work permit for 24 months. And because Canada’s permanent economic immigration programs favour younger candidates with Canadian experience and superior English skills, many Irish have been able to transition to permanent residence in Canada with relative ease.

Why do they want to stay? Spillane notes “a mixture of opportunity and lifestyle . . . if they [newcomers] are willing to work hard and adapt, the lifestyle here is second to none.”

Listen to the full interview with Ruairi Spillane in the audio clip below.

Moving2Canada on CBC TV

Later in July, Ruairi was again invited by the CBC to lend his wisdom on this issue, this time in the broadcasting network’s Vancouver News TV studio. Watch Ruairi’s interview in the clip below.

Irish in Vancouver and Canada

  • Ireland was the third-largest European source of new immigrants to Vancouver between 2011 and 2016, and the largest per capita.
  • Under Canada’s Express Entry immigration system, Irish citizens represented the fifth-largest national group of invited candidates in 2015, the sixth-largest in 2016, and the ninth-largest in 2017. Over the three years, this makes Irish citizens by far the largest per-capita national group of invited candidates.
  • You could fit the island of Ireland into the province of British Columbia 11 times over, and still have room to spare for your summer cottage and a few mountains to ski down.

*Irish Gaelic for ‘A hundred thousand welcomes’, a popular saying in Ireland.

About the author

Hugo O'Doherty profile picture

Hugo O'Doherty

Canadian Immigration & Integration Specialist
Hugo O’Doherty has over a decade of experience and research in Canadian immigration, establishing him as a recognized authority on immigrant integration and adaptation. His personal and professional experiences with immigration have made him an expert on the practical aspects of successfully moving to and settling in Canada.
Read more about Hugo O'Doherty
Citation "Irish newcomers are flocking to Vancouver and across BC, but why?." Moving2Canada. . Copy for Citation


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