Micro loans to skilled immigrants for professional accreditation yield high
rate of return on investment for Albertans

CALGARY, April 27 /CNW/ - By providing micro loans to immigrants for professional accreditation, the Immigrant Access Fund (IAF) is contributing a significant benefit to Alberta society and is a high rate of return on investment of public and private funds.

A report entitled The Social Rate of Return to Investing in Character: An Economic Evaluation of Immigrant Access Fund Micro Loan Program, indicates the IAF loan program directly benefits Alberta society by providing annual real rates of return of 33 per cent or more. It also states that there are likely more than 1,500 immigrants each year who could benefit from an IAF loan. The report was co-written by J.C. Herbert Emery and Ana Ferrer of the Department of Economics at the University of Calgary.

"When you consider that over the last century, the annual rate of return to investing in the stock market has been around 9 per cent, a 33 per cent annual rate of return on an investment seems like an opportunity of a lifetime," Emery says. "The size of the earnings gain through increased productivity when a professional immigrant works to his or her potential is enormous compared to the cost of getting the credentials." Yet one of the barriers to obtaining credentials is that often these small loans are not available to immigrants because they lack the financial history required for bank loans.

IAF is able to provide loans with interest rates at only 1.5 percentage points above prime because the program is backed by government and community investors. Banks' interest on loans of this nature would be in the range of 22 per cent because they would need to recover the cost of providing and administering the loans.

Emery will present the report and discuss the findings with members of the community during an official release at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, April 28, 2010, at the IAF offices. He will be available for interviews. Two loan recipients and IAF executive director, Dianne Fehr, will also be presenting and available for media interviews.

The Social Rate of Return to Investing in Character: An Economic Evaluation of Immigrant Access Fund Micro Loan Program report was prepared for IAF with funding from Alberta Employment and Immigration and The Calgary Foundation. Since 2005 IAF has been providing micro loans to skilled immigrants to help them with the costs of getting the Canadian accreditation/training they need to become able to work in their field in Alberta. Almost $2 million has been approved in loans to 425 people with over 60 different occupations.

    
    Event Details

    What:        Public release of report, The Social Rate of Return to
                 Investing in Character: An Economic Evaluation of Immigrant
                 Access Fund Micro Loan Program

    Date:        Wednesday, April 28, 2010

    Time:        10:00 a.m.

    Location:    Immigrant Access Fund: No.210, 815 - 17 Avenue SW, Calgary
    

SOURCE THE IMMIGRANT ACCESS FUND

For further information: For further information: Dianne Fehr, Executive Director, Immigrant Access Fund, Phone: (403) 228-9981 X222, Cell: (403) 835-8972, dianne@iafcanada.org

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THE IMMIGRANT ACCESS FUND

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