by Ethan Paquet
Newcomers to Canada can have many different barriers to overcome when looking for work in Canada. What can they do when they learn their foreign credentials are not recognized here, or when they wish to embark on a new career direction?
The federally sponsored Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF) is there to help. Through micro-loans, newcomers can access extremely low cost funding to help them overcome financial barriers to become licensed in their fields, enter the workforce, and pay for the costs of acquiring new training, education, and credentials so that they may be more competitive in the job market or embark on a new career path.
The maximum amount available through the program is $15,000. The interest rate is bank prime rate plus one percent. The funds can be used to pay for registration fees, examination fees, training fees, travel costs, living expenses, study materials, tools, or equipment. Other types of expenses may also be considered, as long as they are related to a person’s career and training plan.
To be eligible, you must be a Permanent Resident or Canadian citizen, a resident of Atlantic Canada, and have the required English or French skills for your chosen program or profession. You must also be a registered client with a designated immigrant services agency such as the PEI Association of Newcomers to Canada (PEI ANC), and have no un-discharged bankruptcy.
John Warr is a program officer for AICLF. He has seen the benefits of the loan first hand.
“Last year here on PEI, numerous newcomers, including four sets of spouses, have used the program. Today, seven of the eight individuals are working as nurses here in the province, filling desperately needed nursing positions. More nurses are completing their bridging program and will be entering the field in the near future.”
He explained that for training programs which are eligible for Canada Student Loans, newcomers must go that route. But even if they access a Canada Student Loan, they may still be eligible to access the AICLF to help with other types of expenses related to their career plan, including childcare, living expenses, books, and various fees.
For more information about the Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund and how to apply, contact John Warr at 902-213-9968 or email [email protected].
To learn more about the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, call 902-628-6009. Visit www.peianc.com
For more financial help for PEI residents, click here