Microloans are small, short-term loans with low interest rates that can serve as a lifeline for immigrants and refugees who are just starting out in a new country. In this blog post, Shawn McCarty, an Expert Ambassador and manager at Windmill Microlending, describes the benefits of microloans for Canadian newcomers.
Although moving to Canada is a dream come true for many skilled immigrants and refugees, once they arrive some face a harsh reality when looking to find work in their profession. The time and money required to obtain Canadian credentials, licensing, or certification can make it difficult for them to continue working in the careers they had back home.
Understanding this reality, Windmill Microlending, a registered Canadian charity that provides low-interest loans to skilled immigrants and refugees, has significantly increased the value of those loans. Since 2005, the maximum loan available from Windmill was $10,000 CAD. Now, the charity is increasing that amount to $15,000 CAD.
How Microloans Can Change Lives
The costs of licensing and reaccreditation are increasing each year.
Newcomers need a great deal of support since many face Canadian licensing costs in the tens of thousands of dollars.
Health care in particular is a field that imposes some of the higher costs for training, exams, and licensing. Internationally trained dentists, for example, might need anywhere from $40,000 to $100,000 CAD. Pharmacists and physicians can expect to pay between $20,000 and $35,000 CAD.
Windmill Microlending is proud to increase its support for newcomers, since immigrants bring education, skills, and experience that could otherwise go to waste. The charity’s role is to help convert the experience and expertise of skilled immigrants and refugees into prosperity—for them, and for Canada.
Windmill Microlending Success Stories
One such recipient of a Windmill microloan is Calgary veterinarian Dr. Eva Hadzima, who came to Canada from Slovakia. The experienced doctor struggled to afford the exams that are required to secure Canadian veterinarian credentials. “I was thrilled that Windmill would lend me this money,” said Dr. Hadzima. “It showed that Canada had confidence in me, and it allowed me to focus on my goal and establish my career again.”
Another Windmill beneficiary is Mississauga dentist Dr. Mohamed Aly. He came to Canada from Egypt, where he had practiced dentistry. But he found it daunting to afford the exams and licensing to practise here. He now practises and teaches dentistry.
“I was a newcomer to Canada with no credit history,” said Dr. Aly. “Support from Windmill helped fulfill my dream of continuing my career in Canada.”
The underemployment of immigrants costs Canada as much as $12.7 billion CAD annually, according to the Conference Board of Canada. Since 2005, thanks to the generous support of the government and the private sector, including individual donors, Windmill has helped more than 4,000 skilled immigrants and refugees restart their careers in Canada.
Windmill clients double or triple their income, on average, by the time they repay their loan. The repayment rate for Windmill loans is 97.5 percent.
For more information about microloans, visit the Windmill Microlending website.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of World Education Services (WES).