Alberta provides small loans for immigrant settlement

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An Alberta, Canada program designed to assist migrants' registration and accreditation in their chosen professional field will get a CAD $740,000 boost from the Albertan government.

The Immigrant Access Fund (IAF) provides loans of up to CAD $5,000, repayable within four years, to foreign-trained professional and trades people to cover the cost of tuition fees, course materials, exam fees, living and travel expenses, qualification assessments, and professional association fees.

"At this stage of Alberta's unprecedented growth, we need everyone working to their full potential, and new immigrants are no exception," said Iris Evans, Albertan Minister of Employment, Industry and Industry.

The federal government has admitted that skilled migrants who come to Canada face problems with local governments and employers recognizing foreign credentials gained overseas.

"Some newcomers have trouble finding work in their profession because of a range of registration, certification or education issues - we need to overcome these barriers in a way that allows them to practice their professions fairly and safely, and in accordance with Canadian standards," Evans said.

Evans announced the loan program during the opening of the Edmonton and North Alberta office of the Immigrant Access Fund."Alberta welcomes all newcomers to share in our high quality of life and to help sustain our economic prosperity," said Dr. Maria Eriksen, IAF president.

"This boost from the Alberta government will go a long way toward assisting immigrants to settle into our communities, find quality work in their chosen fields, and be proud to call Alberta home," she added.