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Low-interest loans help newcomers achieve professional success

Microloans from Le Moulin help immigrants and refugees who arrive with education, skills and experience obtain the training and credentials they need to achieve professional success.

Last year, Le Moulin supported over 800 newcomers with its loan program, which has a repayment rate of over 97 per cent. On average, immigrants supported by a loan from Le Moulin more than triple their income.

“We are excited to offer our program to skilled immigrants and refugees in Québec,” said Le Moulin/Windmill CEO, Claudia Hepburn. “As in the rest of the country, too many experienced, well-educated newcomers are underemployed because they cannot afford to obtain the training and credentials they need. This is wasted potential, for newcomers and for Québec.”

The costs of licensing and reaccreditation can be significant, even for immigrants who have years of experience in their field. Nationally, over half of Windmill’s clients are in healthcare, a field that includes some of the higher costs for training, exams and licensing. Internationally-trained dentists, for example, may require anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000.

Windmill has supported hundreds of newcomers to re-enter nursing in Canada, as well as immigrants seeking to continue careers in IT, engineering, education, law, trades, marketing, management, finance, transportation and many others.

Originally from Cameroon, Emmerencia Tabufor came to Canada in 2013 with her family.

As an experienced nurse, she was surprised at the length and expense of the credential process and came to Windmill for support. She is now a Registered Nurse in Edmonton.

“We were shocked to find that we needed to take English exams, with the option of taking more classes, to match our degrees, licenses and studies to those of Canada,” said Tabufor. “This would require a huge amount of money. Although we migrated with sufficient funds, we were worried about having no money before finding a job. Windmill filled the financial gap for us. We are very grateful for the loan and encouragement.”

“Immigrants to Quebec often struggle with the costs of accreditation,” said Aïcha Guendafa, Executive Director at CARI St-Laurent, a Montreal non-profit which supports immigrant integration. “They will certainly welcome Windmill’s offer enthusiastically. Our province will undoubtedly benefit by removing this barrier to professional success for newcomers.”

According to Statistics Canada’s analysis of the 2016 census, the percentage of all immigrants with a master’s or doctorate degree is twice that of the Canadian-born population. Nevertheless, underemployment of immigrants costs Canada as much as $12.7 billion annually, according to the Conference Board of Canada.

The Rossy Foundation is a lead supporter of Le Moulin’s expansion into Quebec. It is a Montreal-based private foundation whose mission is to contribute to civil society and to improve the lives of Canadians with a focus on cancer care, mental health, civic engagement, education and the arts.

Le Moulin / Windmill has an office in the Mile End neighbourhood of Montreal. Windmill has offices in Montréal, Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Vancouver, and serves clients across the country. Windmill Microlending is a registered charity supported by donors, government, sponsors and granting agencies.

More info at www.lemoulinmicrocredits.org and www.windmillmicrolending.org. Image credit: Scott Prince.


Posted: Jan 4, 2020

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

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