Immigrant settlement organization SUCCESS, known in Richmond for the language classes offered at its Granville Ave. location, has been given $22.4 million in federal funding to improve pre-arrival services for newcomers.
“It takes time … to come to a new country, never mind the language barrier and cultural differences. But if [newcomers] have known it ahead in advance it wold help them tremendously,” Queenie Choo, CEO of SUCCESS, told the Richmond News.
The money, part of a four-year contract that lasts until 2023, will go toward providing online and in-person services to people in China and Korea who have been invited to immigrate to Canada but haven’t left yet.
Outreach workers based at SUCCESS’ Beijing and Seoul offices will help them plan to find housing, search for a job and understand things like the Canadian education system.
Choo hopes to get newcomers started on converting their credentials to be recognized in Canada before they even land here, to speed up the process of finding a job.
Then, once newcomers arrive, they’ll be able to continue accessing supports at SUCCESS’ Lower Mainland locations.
SUCCESS is one of four organizations Ottawa selected to help new immigrants in their home countries. In-person pre-arrival services are also available in India and the Philippines, and there’s a pilot program for French-speakers in Morocco.
Canada first offered pre-arrival services to refugees beginning in 1998, but has since expanded programs so that other classes of immigrants can access them.
"Providing services to newcomers before they arrive in Canada is critical to successful integration. These services help newcomers make decisions about the life they want to live in Canada as early as possible in their immigration journey,” said immigration minister Ahmed Hussen in a release.
The $22.4 million contract, to be distributed over four years, is a great help for SUCCESS logistically speaking, Choo added. They know the funding will be stable, and can commit to hiring staff and taking out longer leases on office space.