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Windmill Microlending: Overview

Windmill Microlending was established in 2005. They are a national charity in Canada that provides professional development loans to immigrants and refugees with eligible skills. They are funded by the public and private sectors. Their microloans are meant to help clients cover the costs of training, career development, and accreditation on their way to prosperity. 

Since its creation, Windmill has helped contribute to Canada’s social and economic success by helping newcomers integrate into the workforce. 

What Does Windmill Microlending Offer?

New Canadians often have trouble acquiring mainstream credit because they lack a credit history or proper income. Luckily, Windmill provides microloans of up to $15,000 to help skilled immigrants and refugees achieve their career goals. On average, their clients more than triple their incomes and help lower the unemployment rate in Canada.   

Windmill Microlending also provides:

  • Mentorship programs
  • Success coaching for clients
  • Financial planning and budgeting tools
  • Career development resources

Windmill loans can be used to pay for expenses that advance your career, such as:

  • Education and training (for programs of 2 years or less)
  • Qualifying and licensing exam fees
  • Credentials assessments from facilities like WES, ICAS, IQAS and MIFI
  • Books, course materials, and equipment
  • Living allowance during training, licensing, or relocation 
  • Language training costs (English and French)
  • Fees due to professional association 
  • Travel or relocation costs for employment, courses, and exams in other areas     

Who Is Eligible For A Windmill Microlending Loan?

While over 95% of immigrants are approved for Windlill loans, there are a few things you’ll need to become eligible, including the criteria below.  

Immigration Status Requirements

For starters, you must live in Canada to apply for a Windmill loan. This means you must be a newcomer or immigrant in Canada to apply for this loan. You’ll also need to hold one of the following immigration statuses:

  • Permanent Residency
  • Canadian Citizen
  • Protected Person
  • Convention refugee
  • Provincial Nominee 
  • Temporary foreign worker (with an open work permit) 

Keep in mind that you cannot become eligible for a Windmill microloan if you are an international student, refugee claimant, or live-in caregiver. In addition, Quebec residents can only acquire Windmill funds for credential recognition.  

Education/Employment Requirements

There are a few educational and employment requirements you need to meet to be eligible for the Windmill loan. For one, only internationally trained newcomers can apply. Similarly, you must have: 

  • Completed post-secondary studies internationally

AND/OR

  • Have at least 1 year of post-secondary work experience before moving to Canada
  • Requires licensing, training, or relocation to achieve success in your career 

You must also have costs related to a Career Success Plan to achieve your professional goals, like credentials assessments, exam fees, study programs that are under 2 years, or relocation for employment. Windmill does not offer loans that cover business start-up costs.  

Bankruptcy Requirements

If you’ve filed for bankruptcy in Canada, your case needs to be discharged before you can apply or qualify for a Windmill microloan. Windmill cannot consider your application until you’re released from all legal obligations to repay any associated debts.

If you’re involved in a debt management plan or consumer proposal. You can be eligible for a Windmill loan once you have successfully made 6 months of consistent payments toward your program. Unless your DMP has a clause that prevents you from taking on other debts while you’re in it      

Landing Requirements

You must also be living in Canada to apply for a Windmill loan. Windmill Microlending operates nationally and serves clients in all 13 Canadian provinces and territories.    

What Do You Need To Apply For A Windmill Microlending Loan?

To apply for a Windmill microloan, you’ll need to provide the following documents:

  • Your resume/CV
  • A copy of your immigration status document (PR card, COPR, etc.)
  • Government-issued photo identification (if status document has no photo)
  • Proof of your Canadian address (if government photo ID doesn’t show it)
  • Proof of your financial status (paystubs, social insurance confirmation, etc.)
  • A void cheque or Direct Deposit Form (available through your financial institution)  
  • Your diplomas (in French or English)
    • OR, your credential evaluation from WES, ICAS, IQAS, MIFI, etc.
  • Your letter of acceptance into an eligible program (if applicable)
    • OR, Any other documents that explain your Career Success Plan 

How To Apply For A Windmill MicroLending Loan

Once you have your documents in order, take these steps to apply for a Windmill loan:

Step 1 – Take The Eligibility Quiz

The first step is to take a short quiz that tells you whether you’re eligible for a Windmill microloan. If you don’t pass this quiz, it’s a good idea to speak with a Windmill representative. They can help you figure out how to meet the eligibility requirements. 

Step 2 – Create An Account & Fill Out An Application

If you are eligible for a loan, the next step is to create an account using Windmill’s application portal. As long as you have the necessary documents ready for inspection, you can expect the application to take 30 to 45 minutes.   

Step 3 – Take The Client Success Assessment

Once Windmill receives your application, they’ll review it. They will contact you by email or phone if they need more information. If not, you should get an email with instructions to finish their online Client Success Assessment. Windmill can then use that assessment to figure out which resources are the right fit for your needs.

Step 4 – Take The Employability Assessment

If you don’t hear from Windmill within a few days of submitting your application, it may be because the email went to your junk folder. Check your junk or spam folder to see if the Client Success Assessment email went there instead. 

After you complete that step, Windmill will use your information to determine how employable you are, and then invite you to book a Success Coaching session online.  

Step 5 – Get A Coaching Session & Success Coach

Spots fill up fast, so make sure to book your coaching session right away. Coaching sessions take an hour to complete. During this, your employability assessment, Career Success Plan, and financial situation will be reviewed thoroughly. 

Your application will be sent to Windmill’s Loan Review Committee. You’ll receive a decision within seven business days of your coaching session.           

Step 6 – Wait For Loan Approval From Windmill Microlending

Once your microloan is approved, you will work with Windmill’s Loan Management Team. You’ll need to sign any necessary documents. And within a few business days, the funds will be deposited into your chosen account. 

Need A Loan To Help Pay For Your Career Path In Canada?

If you’re an immigrant or refugee with the skills necessary to boost Canada’s economy, then a Windmill microloan might be the perfect financial product for you. Check out the Windmill Microlending website or contact their customer service department toll-free at 1-855-423-2262 (or info@teamwindmill.org) for more information about their solutions. 

Windmill Frequently Asked Questions

Who can get a Windmill loan?

Immigrants who live in Canada and have Permanent Resident or Canadian Citizen status are eligible for a Windmill loan. Individuals must also be internationally trained in a skilled profession. Finally, applicants must be looking for help to upgrade their education to work in Canada.

How much does a Windmill loan cost?

As of April 1, 2024, all Windmill loans in Canada are given a fixed interest rate of 6.7% for the duration of the payment plan. As a registered non-profit, Windmill doesn’t make any money from loans.

How much money can you borrow?

If you qualify with Windmill Microlending, you can borrow up to $15,000 to fund your studies, living costs, or any other expenses you need for your Career Success Plan.

Services & Products

Windmill Microlending Offered Services

Professional development loans

Loan Range
  • $15,000
Interest Rate
  • 6.7%
Terms (Months)
  • Up to 60 months
Funding Time
  • On average one week
Funding Method
  • Direct deposit
Repayment Options
  • There is a 3-month grace period
  • While they are studying, they only make interest only payments
Eligibility
  • Be an immigrant and a Permanent Resident, Protected Person, Convention Refugee, Provincial Nominee, Canadian Citizen or Temporary Foreign Worker with an open work permit*
  • Have landed in Canada
  • Not have an undischarged bankruptcy
Requirements & Documents
  • Copy of an immigration status document (i.e. PR card, COPR, a notice of decision about refugee status, etc.)
  • Government-issued photo ID (if immigration status document doesn’t have a photo)
  • Proof of address (if a government-issued photo ID does not have it)
  • Resume
  • Diplomas (translated to English or French), or your credential evaluation from WES, ICAS, IQAS, MIFI etc.
  • Letter of acceptance into an educational program (or other documents that explain a client’s Career Success Plan)
  • Proof of financial situation (pay stubs, a letter confirming social assistance, etc.)
  • Void cheque or Direct Deposit Form

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