October 12, 2012 / NEW MICROLOANS PROGRAM WILL HELP INTERNATIONALLY EDUCATED NEWCOMERS WORK IN THEIR FIELDS SOONER:  MELNICK

A new microloans program called Recognition Counts! Micro Loans for Skilled Immigrants will help skilled immigrants put their education to work more quickly by helping remove barriers to getting Canadian certification, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Christine Melnick announced today.

 “Recognition Counts! gives our province’s newcomers the resources they need to get their qualifications recognized, enter our labour market sooner and build a life for their families,” said Melnick.  “These microloans are good for our economy and they’ll make a real difference in the lives of these families.”

Recognition Counts! offers loans of up to $10,000, to cover everything from the cost of new tools to paying for certification exams or for additional training.  The program also gives low-income, high-skilled newcomers valuable career and financial counselling to help address challenges with entering the labour market.

The Manitoba government is contributing $250,000 to the program for administration costs over three years.  Highlights of Recognition Counts! include:

* loans can be up to $10, 000, with payments as little as $10 a month;

* loans can be used to cover costs associated with certifications including registration and exam fees, living allowance during study time or to cover household expenses like child care;

* recipients will have up to five years to repay loans and will only pay the interest during the re-certification period; and

* recipients will have 90 days after finding employment to begin paying back the principal, making it a uniquely flexible and affordable loan.

Recognition Counts! will be delivered by SEED Winnipeg and Assiniboine Credit Union, with support from the Manitoba government.  The program is jointly funded by the governments of Manitoba and Canada.

 “Our government’s top priorities are job creation and economic growth and we need to address the growing skills and labour shortages faced by many regions of the country,” said federal Human Resources and Skills Development Minister Diane Finley.  “By partnering with the Government of Manitoba and organizations like SEED Winnipeg to help internationally trained professionals put their skills to work sooner, we are working together for Canada’s long-term prosperity.”

Manitoba Immigration and Multiculturalism has an ongoing role in providing information and assistance to internationally educated individuals and is working collaboratively with Manitoba Advanced Education and Literacy, Manitoba Entrepreneurship, Training and Trade and Manitoba Health to develop a coherent and integrated system for providing qualifications recognition programming for skilled immigrants in Manitoba’s colleges and universities.