Overcoming barriers to credential recognition

Overcoming barriers to credential recognition

< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends | Contributors: Submitted by Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia | Published: May 1, 2024

The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF) helps foreign-trained and educated immigrants overcome financial barriers when entering the Canadian workforce.

Many internationally educated immigrants want to pursue the same careers they had before immigrating to Canada. Unfortunately, they may need to meet new criteria, pass examinations, acquire further qualifications, or re-certify. These steps, which each involve additional fees, create financial barriers for the majority of individuals. AICLF is a federally funded program administered across Atlantic Canada by Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia (ISANS). ISANS does this by collaborating with other settlement agencies in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland and Labrador. Through AICLF, ISANS provides newcomers, including permanent residents, access to microloans anywhere in Atlantic Canada.

The program has processed more than 330 loans to date. Research undertaken in partnership between ISANS and St. Mary’s University revealed the social return on investment from the program is $17.34 for every $1 spent.

The microloans AICLF provides can cover a variety of expenses related to getting credentials recognized. They can be used for professional registration fees, licensing examination fees, training and tuition fees, living expenses during short-term training for exams, travel and accommodations to take an exam, books and study materials, and work tools or equipment.

Arranged through the Royal Bank of Canada, the microloans are designed to consider the fact many newcomers don’t have jobs when first moving to Canada, have little if any credit history in Canada, and have little in the way of collateral to secure the loan. The loans are offered at a low interest rate (prime plus one per cent), require only interest payments during the study period, and only go into full repayment six months after clients complete their certification journey.

The loans are released in stages as the certification process develops. This means clients only pay interest on the amount they are currently using and not the entire loan amount. They can also be repaid in full at any time without any penalty for early repayment.

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< Back to Articles | Topics: Trends

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