by Ethan Paquet
Newcomers often face many unexpected costs as they consider entering the workforce by furthering their education or training on PEI. The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF) is available to help.
Through micro-loans, newcomers can access funding to access training that may help them to be more competitive in the job market or embark on a new career path. The funding is in place to help them become licensed in their fields, enter the workforce, and pay for the costs of acquiring new training, education, and credentials.
David Harper, Program Coordinator for AICLF, says the main goal is to help newcomers to return to the profession they worked at in their home country by working toward getting their foreign credentials recognized. It can also help them change their career direction with a low-cost loan. “If they find success in their career choice, it makes our program a success.”
The first step is to apply for a loan. If you do not qualify for one, AICLF may be able to help. AICLF can also help with living expenses for eligible applicants.
“The applicant must be an immigrant who lives in Atlantic Canada. They must also be a Canadian citizen or a Permanent Resident. Unfortunately, due to our funding, we cannot help temporary workers or foreign exchange students.”
Eligible applicants can schedule an appointment to discuss their education plans with David, who looks after all AICLF loans in PEI. “If their educational plan looks eligible and they would like to proceed, I email them an application and a list of required documents.”
When the completed documents are returned, David seeks to get the loan approved by an Employment Manager from the PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada (PEI ANC).
“The process up until this point could be done in a couple of days. I then take the application and documents to our local contact at RBC, who will process the loan and contact the client with an approval and to set up a signing meeting. I am available throughout the whole process and I stay involved throughout the life of the loan.”
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 if they are related to a person’s career and training plan.
“If the applicant does not have a credit history, we are OK with that. The bank is more flexible in granting AICLF loans than if someone had gone there on their own.”
Since the program began, 17 loans have been approved. “The past approved loans include professions in nursing, accounting, and project management. Being fairly new, my clients are all still in school at this time.”
For more information about the Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund and how to apply, contact David Harper at 902-388-7116 or email [email protected]irsapei.ca
David would be happy to meet with those interested, by phone or email, or a virtual Zoom meeting.
To learn more about the Immigration & Refugee Services Association PEI , call 902-628-6009 or visit www.irsapei.ca
For more about financial help for PEI residents, visit www.employmentjourney.com/financial-help/.