GaAs layers grown by vacuum chemical epitaxy (VCE) are investigated by low-temperature photoluminescence. A qualitative relation between the growth parameters and the shallow-impurity-incorporation mechanism is established. It was observed that the predominant shallow acceptor is carbon, and its incorporation during the growth process decreases with the As:Ga ratio, increases with growth temperature until 750°C, and then it diminishes. In this work we compare the characteristics observed in the VCE system with those in conventional molecular-beam epitaxy (MBE) and metalorganic chemical vapor deposition (MOCVD). Our results show that this system contains some advantages from both the MBE and MOCVD systems. The photoluminescence spectra also show that at low As:Ga ratios the generation of As vacancies or its complexes is strongly enhanced.