The recent economic boom in the province of Saskatchewan has led to an influx of immigrants and a need for more resettlement services.
One such service is being provided in the form of the Immigration Access Fund (IAF), which provides small-scale loans for new arrivals to the province to help get them on their feet and provide the breathing room they might need to get off to a good start.
Immigrants like Opeoluwa Okunola, who arrived in the province from Nigeria in 2011, often enter the country with high education and skill levels, but find themselves unable to work immediately in their field of specialty. Being able to borrow up to $10,000 from the IAF allows them to focus on doing what they have to do to get re-accredited in their field instead of worrying about the next paycheck.
“I know what it’s like to be an immigrant, the shock and challenges they face,” says Okunola, who, with the help of the IAF, was able to find work in her field of university administration and teaching. “To say that I am fulfilled being able to practice in my chosen profession would be an understatement.”
IAF spokesperson Sandra Grismer says that in the first year of running, the program provided an average of $6300 in funds to 70 newcomers chosen based on their background and goals. Grismer says that the money lent out comes back two-fold in that once employed, immigrants are also contributing economically through taxes, purchases and leasing.
Source: Saskatoon Star-Pheonix