Welcome to beautiful British Columbia.

According to an announcement made today, the province is increasing their support for new BC settlers by 45%, a move that’s meant to benefit thousands of immigrants.

This investment into settlement services is the largest since the programs began in 2014.

“This is a major step forward in delivering more and better opportunities for newcomers while helping our province benefit from the skills they bring with them,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology in a release.

The Career Paths of Skilled Immigrants program will receive $5.7 million to help skilled immigrants improve their training and find employment in their professional background, an increase of 68% from previous years. Since 2014, approximately 75% of participants in the program found jobs in their fields.

In total, BC is investing over $11 million in settlement and skill training initiatives.

“Too often, people immigrating to our province haven’t been able to leverage their knowledge and experience into productive employment,” said Ralston.

“The steps we’re taking will remove barriers to opportunities by expanding credential recognition supports, language training and other services, helping make their lives better and more fulfilling.”

More than just work

The province’s increased investment will also go towards BC Settlement and Integration Services (BCSIS) which helps over 16,000 people with language training, employment resources, and guidance through the immigration process.

The ministry also says that asylum seekers or refugees who have fled violence or natural disasters can receive trauma counselling from the BCSIS.

“Transitioning to a new country does not come without challenges,” said Neelam Sahota, CEO of DIVERSEcity Community Resources Society, a BCSIS provider in a release.

“The B.C. government’s funding has allowed us to expand programs, including counselling, that help empower newcomers to become active participants in their community.”

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