PEI

Microcredit aimed at P.E.I. immigrant professionals

A non-profit group on P.E.I. is trying to make it easier for professionally-trained newcomers to stay and work on the Island.

Loans for immigrants help them get professional qualifications

Civil engineer and Iraqi immigrant to P.E.I. Faras Arnaout was help by a microloan from Canada Microcredit Educators Group. (Pat Martel/CBC)

A non-profit group on P.E.I. is trying to make it easier for professionally-trained newcomers to stay and work on the Island.

For the past two years Canada Microcredit Educators Group has arranged microloans through the Consolidated Credit Union. The CMEG loans help newcomers cover some of the cost of getting Canadian accreditation or more training in their chosen profession.

Faras Arnaout was a civil engineer in Iraq and now lives on P.E.I. He said the program is helpful for some newcomers who find it challenging to get other types of loans.

"I tried a few banks and that was [the] traditional way: a long history of credit and references and co-signers, which is things that I don't have," said Arnaout.

"It's a new opportunity and I think it's a bright start for a new career, and I think it can help me for the long run."

More than $150,000 has been borrowed since the program started about two years ago. The loans range from $8,000 to $20,000.

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