Settlement Services in Canada
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- 1 What are settlement services?
- 1.1 Settlement Services for permanent residents
- 1.2 Settlement Services for Refugees
- 1.3 Who is a settlement worker?
What are settlement services?
Migrating to a new country can bring a wide range of opportunities and various challenges, including settlement and employment opportunities. Thus, Settlement services can be defined as programs and services that help and assist the immigrants (newcomers) in Canada to settle and establish their new life.
These settlement services may help an immigrant in various ways such as, to look for employment opportunities, find a suitable place to live in, enroll in language classes such as (English as a second language (ESL), Language Instruction for Newcomers in Canada (LINC), assist in finding information about schools, health care, insurance, school, and health care, make new friends, offer assistance to access the community/ government services, get used to the local culture and custom, and understand the basic immigrant/ refugee rights in Canada. In addition, the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) funds settlement services including information and referrals, language training, assistance finding job opportunities based on newcomers’ skills, and education that guide the newcomers to adapt to life in Canada.
It is worth noticing that the immigrants can access these settlement services for free and the services required by them remain confidential. However, there are some organizations that provide settlement services only if the primary immigrant fulfils their respective eligibility criteria, which vary depending upon the type of support and assistance required by the immigrants and their current circumstances. Suppose an immigrant wants to live in a certain area or possess an immigration status. In that case, he/she can find out what the settlement agencies, refugee ethnocultural groups, and community social support groups exist in their community and the services these organizations offer by visiting the organization’s website and check/ verify if they’re eligible to receive the specific settlement services.
Most often, the local community organizations such as libraries, multicultural societies, or neighbourhood houses offer settlement services to the immigrants for their better lifestyle in Canadian society. The settlement workers at these local community organizations usually help the immigrants in their mother tongue, and English/French.
Settlement agencies/ settlement service provider organizations are also known as immigrants – or – refugee serving agencies or newcomer services. The main objective of these settlement service provider organizations is to help the immigrants (newcomers) develop their life skills to integrate and unite into the Canadian community. They provide free support services to the newcomers at every step of their journey. Moreover, these settlement services are funded either partially or entirely by the Canadian Government to foster and encourage the smooth integration of the immigrants and refugees in the new country.
Settlement Services for permanent residents
The federal government of Canada assists many local community organizations across the country that deliver settlement services for the permanent residents before and after their arrival in the new country.
Before arriving to Canada
Suppose a newcomer has been granted permanent resident status in Canada before their arrival. In that case, they are eligible to access free online and in-person services and assistance while they’re still overseas. Thus, the newcomer will be able to access pre-arrival services like help and guidance in the hassle-free movement, assistance in figuring out the best employment options, getting work experience, education, and credentials recognized in the new country, and connecting with free services offered by the government when they arrive in Canada. These Pre-arrival services can only be accessed by the immigrant whose permanent residence application has been approved. Besides, temporary residents visiting, studying, or working in Canada on a visa or study/work permit are not eligible for the Pre-arrival services.
After arriving to Canada
Post a newcomer’s arrival in Canada as a permanent resident, they’re eligible to access free settlement and language services through a settlement service provider organization/ settlement agency. These settlement agencies will connect with the immigrants and help them by providing appropriate services like orientation to life in Canada, job search, employment services, networking opportunities, referrals, needs assessment and counselling, language assistance, community connections, etc. In addition, some of the non-profit organizations provide counselling, assistance, and a variety of ongoing support services. They also tend to offer some invaluable advice and information in identifying and improving your settlement goals and opportunities to meet other people and make friends and helpful connections.
Settlement Services for Refugees
Refugees assisted by the Government.
Refugees are usually referred to Canada for resettlement by the United Nations Refugee Agency or referral organization under the Government-Assisted Refugee Program. Such refugees are supported with accomodation, food, clothing, and employment opportunities. The assistance continues upto a year from their arrival until the principal refugee can establish themselves in the country.
Privately Sponsored Refugees
A group of volunteers in Canada are eligible to sponsor refugees privately. They will assist the refugee newcomer in adapting to life in Canada for a year after their arrival until a year till these refugees support themselves. The refugee newcomer need not pay to be sponsored for the settlement services. The respective sponsors are also not permitted to ask for money to assist the refugee in resettling.
Who is a settlement worker?
A settlement worker is an individual who assists the newcomers through their personal settlement needs with resources relating to education, finance, recreation, social services, etc. When newcomers start using settlement services in Canada, they may be connected with a settlement worker, who will guide them through the settlement process with one-on-one assistance.
How can settlement workers assist newcomers?
A settlement worker has a comprehensive approach towards helping the newcomer to adjust to life in Canada. They consider all the aspects of a newcomer’s life, including skillet, education, culture, and career, and assist the newcomer and their family. The newcomers can work in partnership with the settlement worker and plan their settlement process easily. However, it’s the newcomer’s personal choice to opt for one as they’ll have to share plenty of personal information with the settlement worker. Therefore, a newcomer can choose a settlement worker based on their location, language proficiency, or other reasons.
To summarize, all the newcomers can make use of the settlement services for the first few months until they establish themselves in the country. Moreover, these settlement services help and address the needs of immigrants and refugees to make a successful transition to their new lifestyle in Canada.