Credential recognition can be a major barrier for immigrants to enter the labour market. The cost associated with getting credentials recognized is often prohibitive and can affect newcomers’ eventual inclusion in their chosen field. The Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund (AICLF), launched April 1, 2019 is a community-based micro-loan program that assists internationally trained immigrants throughout Atlantic Canada in overcoming those financial barriers and to practice and/or enter the workforce in their field or a related field. The Government of Canada’s Foreign Credential Recognition Program funds the AICLF program.
“Immigrants have the skills, expertise and experience to positively impact labour gaps and shortages in Atlantic Canada,” says Jennifer Watts, ISANS CEO. “Newcomers arrive with these skills and expertise only to often be met with barriers to employment. The goal of the AICLF is to remove some of those barriers so that newcomers are able to work in their chosen fields.”
AICLF began as a pilot project called the Career Pathway Loan Fund (CPLF) and was targeted at newcomers in regulated professions (physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists, engineers, CPAs, etc.). This project will expand on the previous fund and will include such careers as project management, trades, etc. Newcomers will be able to borrow money to pay for training/programs, exams, fees for language tests, application fees, etc. in professions not eligible for student loan funding.
“We welcome this collaborative and innovative initiative which will provide financial support for internationally trained individuals (ITls) through the Foreign Credential Recognition process,” says Eileen Kelly-Freake, Director of Employment Programs & Career Services at Association for New Canadians’ AXIS Career Services.
“Being able to access these resources will assist newcomers in obtaining assessments of credentials, recognition of qualifications or additional training to accelerate their pathways to employment in their chosen occupations, and integrate into the local labour market.”
Newcomers are able to apply for funding through the AICLF from April 1, 2019 onwards. Partners in the program include Immigrant Services Association of Nova Scotia, PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada, Association for New Canadians in Newfoundland and Labrador, New Brunswick Multicultural Council, Multicultural Association of the Greater Moncton Area, Multicultural Association of Fredericton and the YMCA of Greater Saint John. If you or someone you know are interested in learning more about the Atlantic Immigrant Career Loan Fund project, visit www.aiclf.ca or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.