Five reasons immigrants and refugees should seek support from settlement agencies and immigrant service providers
Published July 20, 2023.
Estimated reading time: 2.5 minutes
- Settlement agencies and immigrant service providers play a crucial role in assisting new Canadians by offering invaluable information, services, and resources that facilitate the process of finding employment, housing, and integrating into their new communities.
- Settlement agencies are dedicated to empowering immigrants and refugees with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in their new environment.
- Despite their benefits, some newcomers are unaware of these services and fail to take advantage of them.
Welcome to Canada! As a recent immigrant or refugee, you've embarked on an exciting journey filled with opportunities and new beginnings. In recent years, Canada has seen historic numbers of immigrants and refugees, and the country's commitment to supporting newcomers has never been stronger. Settlement agencies and immigrant service providers play a crucial role in assisting new Canadians by offering invaluable information, services, and resources that facilitate the process of finding employment, housing, and integrating into their new communities.
According to recent statistics, an overwhelming majority of newcomers in Canada benefit from the support provided by settlement agencies. These agencies have become an essential lifeline, helping immigrants and refugees navigate the complexities of their new lives and overcome the initial challenges of settling in a foreign land. In fact, more than 80 per cent of newcomers actively engage with settlement supports, indicating the importance and effectiveness of these services.
Settlement agencies are dedicated to empowering immigrants and refugees with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in their new environment. They offer a wide range of services tailored to the unique needs of immigrants and refugees, including language classes, employment assistance, housing support, cultural orientation, and access to community resources. By utilizing these services, newcomers gain a better understanding of Canadian society, enhance their language skills, and acquire the necessary skills and networks to secure employment opportunities that match their qualifications.
For many newcomers, the assistance provided by settlement agencies goes beyond immediate support. These organizations serve as a bridge, connecting newcomers with a supportive network of individuals who understand the challenges of starting afresh in a new country. Through workshops, networking events, and mentorship programs, settlement agencies foster a sense of belonging and community, helping newcomers build a support system that eases their transition and enhances their overall well-being.
Settlement services and agencies are available to offer free assistance to newcomers throughout their entire journey starting from before they arrive in Canada to after they land. In many cases, these services are funded by the Canadian government. Despite their benefits, some newcomers are unaware of these services and fail to take advantage of them.
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The Windmill Microlending blog interviewed Alina Fernandes Almeida, an employment counsellor, mentoring coach and team lead with the pre-arrival program of Canada InfoNet, a part of JVS Toronto. The organization plays a vital role in Toronto and York Region ensuring that immigrant job seekers reach their potential and employers build the workforce they need. They offer a mix of general and specialized services to job seekers from all backgrounds and situations including job search support, employment counselling, training, mentoring, job coaching and retention, as well as, career counselling and recruitment services delivered across nine locations within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
JVS Toronto’s Alina Fernandes Almeida highlights why new Canadians would benefit from taking advantage of settlement services found in their new communities.
Alina shares five reasons why immigrants and refugees should access settlement services.
Reason #1: Access to resources and support
Settlement agencies are equipped with a wide range of resources and support services designed to assist immigrants in various aspects of their settlement process. They can provide information on housing, employment, education, healthcare, language training and legal rights, along with critical information in other areas.
Reason #2: Personalized support
By working with a settlement agency, immigrants can receive guidance tailored to their specific needs, making their transition smoother and more successful. Most settlement agencies provide a one-on-one consultation followed by a personalized action plan with links to resources and referrals to other agencies.
Reason #3: Cultural and social integration
Settlement agencies often organize programs and activities that promote cultural and social integration. They may offer language classes, community events and workshops that help immigrants connect with their new surroundings, learn about local customs and traditions, and build relationships with other newcomers, and members of the community. These opportunities facilitate the development of a support network, reduce isolation and foster a sense of belonging.
Some newcomers may experience a bit of “culture shock” when they arrive in Canada. Settlement agencies can help integrate newcomers by explaining some of the cultural differences and useful facts about the local community.
Reason #4: Employment support
Finding employment in a new country can be challenging due to language barriers, unfamiliar job markets and differences in qualifications and credentials. Settlement agencies typically offer employment support services such as job search assistance, resume writing workshops, interview preparation and networking opportunities. They can help immigrants navigate the job market, understand local hiring practices and increase their chances of securing meaningful employment. Some organizations like Windmill Microlending and JVS Toronto also offer newcomers an opportunity to be matched with a mentor in their profession which greatly supports the transition process.
Reason #5: Advocacy and Empowerment
Settlement agencies advocate for the rights and well-being of immigrants. They can offer support in situations where newcomers face discrimination, exploitation or other challenges. Settlement agencies can provide information on legal rights, help immigrants navigate social systems and empower them to assert their rights in various domains. By working with a settlement agency, immigrants can feel more empowered and equipped to overcome barriers and integrate successfully into their new society.
As a recent immigrant or refugee, you are not alone on this journey. Canada's commitment to supporting newcomers is evident through the services and resources offered by settlement agencies and immigrant service providers. By actively engaging with these supports, you can access valuable information, guidance and opportunities that will empower you to integrate into your new community, find employment and embark on a successful and fulfilling life in Canada. Embrace the wealth of resources available to you and let the expertise and dedication of settlement agencies pave the way for your successful settlement and integration in this beautiful country.
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