The biggest challenge of the Immigrant and Multicultural Services Society (IMSS) of Prince George has been to reach out to immigrants living in remote areas of the province, according to Ben Ng, settlement outreach worker for IMSS.
The non-profit organization, funded by both provincial and federal governments, provides free settlement and integration services to immigrants and refugees who are settling in Northern B.C.
“The services of IMSS are not very popular around the areas outside of Prince George,” said Ng.
To overcome this issue, the organization has been reaching out to Northern communities by raising awareness about their services. According to Ng, new immigrants who have accessed the IMSS services have had an easier time transitioning to the Canadian lifestyle.
The main challenges immigrants face when they just move to Canada include the recognition of their previous work experience and education by employers, as well as cultural differences, lack of awareness of the community resources, language barriers and lack of community connections.
The organization assists new immigrants by providing information about Canadian culture, community resources, banking, immigration law, how to make a resume and a cover letter, as well as citizenship test preparation.
The most common topics newcomers need help with are related to employment, credentials evaluation and acquiring Canadian documentation, said Ng.
“It is important to provide assistance to new immigrants to help them navigate and understand the social and economic system of Canada, particularly in the community where they live in,” he said.
The organization is also an important resource to existing ethnic groups in Northern B.C., promoting multiculturalism and developing cross-cultural understanding in schools.
“The organization strives to promote racial harmony and to eliminate racism in the pursuit of equality and social justice for all Canadians,” said Ng.
The organization has been providing settlement, integration and employment related services to immigrants, live-in caregivers, temporary foreign workers, refugees and naturalized Canadian citizens for almost 40 years.
Ng said he plans on visiting Burns Lake in a near future, but it depends on the needs of local immigrants.
“Whenever the new immigrants in Burns Lake area need information, services, or assessment, I would love to stop by,” he said.
If you are a new immigrant or know someone who could benefit from IMSS services, contact Ben at email@example.com, or call 250-562–2900.