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Canada plans on welcoming up to 505,000 immigrants from 2023 to 2025. While Canada is a land of great opportunity for many new immigrants, there are challenges they have to consider.

As a new immigrant, you have to re-establish yourselves. You might need to navigate college or university systems, find a job, find a home, apply for any relevant social support, and start building your credit.  Unfortunately, settling in Canada isn’t cheap and sometimes you’ll need to borrow money. But are there loans for immigrants in Canada?

Can You Get A Loan As An Immigrant In Canada?

Immigrants face challenges when it comes to accessing credit. Because credit history and credit scores do not follow immigrants from country to country, they must start from scratch once they come to Canada. 

The good news is that starting to build credit from scratch is generally much easier than recovering from bad credit. Moreover, so long as you are a permanent resident of Canada, many loan and credit options cater to Canadian immigrants. 

If you’re unsure you have a credit score in Canada, you can check yours for free using Loans Canada’s Compare Hub.

Types Of Loans For Immigrants In Canada 

There are a few government loans for immigrants in Canada. Some are to help newcomers migrate to Canada, while others are to help them settle in Canada. 

Windmill Microlending

Windmill Microlending is a Canadian charity that provides affordable loans to skilled immigrants and refugees. Since 2005, Windmill Microlending has helped thousands of newcomers to Canada cover the costs of accreditation and career development. 

Those with specific skills, training, and education who are new to Canada may find it difficult to advance their careers due to financial hurdles. With Windmill Microlending’s low-interest microloans, under-employed immigrants can access credit, despite their low income or lack of credit history in Canada.

What Does Windmill Microlending Offer?

Windmill Microlending offers small loans of up to $15,000. Windmill microloans have a fixed rate of 6.7%. In addition to its affordable microloans, Windmill also provides support through: 

  • Career path coaching
  • Mentorship 
  • Budgeting tools
  • Financial planning advice
  • Career development resources

You can use the money for:

  • Qualifying examinations
  • Assessments
  • Training
  • Textbooks 
  • Educational materials
  • Living allowance
  • Relocation expenses
  • Professional association fees

Immigration Loans Program (ILP)

The federal government of Canada offers loans to immigrants (mainly refugees) through their Immigration Loans Program (ILP). Specifically, this program offers immigrants three kinds of loans:

Transportation Loans For Immigrants In Canada

This type of loan is meant to cover the costs associated with transportation for immigrants and their families from their home country to Canada. New immigrants must book their travel with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to be eligible for this loan. If an individual books the travel on their own, they will not be eligible. The loan can help you cover eligible expenses such as the: 

  • Cost of accommodation and food before departure
  • Cost of travel to Canada
  • Transportation tax
  • Any IOM (Internation Organization for Migration) service fees

Do note, that certain expenses cannot be covered under the transportation loan. Costs such as: 

  • Baggage fees if immigrant exceeds baggage allowance,
  • Cost of shipping personal or household items
  • Transporting animals

Assistance Loans For Immigrants In Canada

The assistance loan is meant to help immigrants cover the costs of initial resettlement, like basic needs and employment costs. It can help cover basic needs such as rent, utilities, food, clothing and household items. It can also help cover employment costs such as: 

  • Items needed for employment – especially if you’re a contract worker.
  • Certification or licence fees to practise a profession
  • Child care if you are working

Right Of Permanent Residence Fee (RPRF) Loans

The RPRF loan is meant to assist immigrants in covering the cost of RPRF when seeking permanent residence for themselves or their families. For more information about RPRF loans, visit the Canadian government’s RPRF webpage

To apply for an ILP, visit the Canadian government’s ILP application form

Other Loans For Immigrants In Canada Through Alternative Lenders

Private lenders offer loans without as strict criteria requirements as banks normally have. For example, in exchange for a higher interest rate, a private lender may overlook a Canadian immigrant’s lack of credit history and approve a loan more quickly. There are a variety of loans that individuals can seek from private lenders, including:

Personal Loans For Immigrants In Canada

A personal loan provides a lump sum of money that is repaid in regular installment payments over a specific period. Loan amounts range from $100 to $50,000, with terms between 6 months and 5 years. The loan may come with either a fixed or variable interest rate, and the funds can be used for just about any purpose, including to cover the cost of advancing one’s career.

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Lines Of Credit 

A line of credit is a type of financing that allows you to borrow money up to a certain limit, similar to a credit card. There is no set payment schedule, and you’re only charged interest on the funds withdrawn from the credit line. 

However, you must make interest payments on the amount you borrow, as interest starts to accumulate as soon as you withdraw the funds. Like personal loans, the money obtained through lines of credit can be used for a variety of purposes. 

Mortgages

If you need financial assistance to help pay for housing, a mortgage can help. Mortgages are specifically designed to cover the cost of buying a home. These secured loans are backed by the house itself. With a mortgage, you’ll make installment payments over a specific loan term until the loan amount — plus interest — is fully repaid. 

Loan terms can be as long as 25 or 30 years, but tend to come with lower interest rates compared to unsecured personal loans because of the collateral involved. Many lenders and banks offer mortgages that are specially designed for newcomers.

Car Loans

Car loans are designed to help pay for the purchase of a vehicle. These loans are secured by the vehicle and are repaid with installment payments over a set period. You can get a car loan from a bank, private lender, or from the car dealer’s in-house financing. 

Car loans can be used to finance both new and used vehicles, though rates tend to be lower for new vehicle financing. 

How To Qualify For Loans For Immigrants

Whether you’re looking to apply for a personal loan, car loan or mortgage, there are certain factors lenders assess when determining your creditworthiness. While banks may put more emphasis on your credit score, private lenders base their approval on your overall financial health. Some factors private lenders consider include: 

Do note, that you must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to be eligible for a loan in Canada. If you don’t have your permanent resident card or if it’s expired, be sure to get one or have it renewed

How To Get A Loan As A Immigrant: Build Your Credit With Credit Building Products

One of the best ways to qualify for loans as an immigrant is to build your credit. There are many types of credit-building products to help new immigrants build their credit in Canada. Let’s take a look:

Secured Credit Cards

Unlike unsecured credit cards, secured credit cards have security deposits to back them up. If the borrower cannot pay their bill, the security deposit covers the credit used. These credit cards are a popular choice for newcomers to Canada. The security deposit allows enough trust from the creditor to overlook the lack of credit history.

If you’re looking to start building your Canadian credit history, finding a secured credit card that meets your needs should be your first step. Once you have your card, use it to purchase important necessities like groceries, or set up a recurring bill payment. Our number one piece of advice is to make sure the credit card provider reports your payment to the credit bureaus, this is how you will build your credit history. 

Credit Builder Loans 

Designed to help people establish their credit, credit builder loans do not provide money upfront to the borrower. With this type of loan, borrowers make regular payments to the lender. These payments are held in a trust until the “loan” is paid off. In the end, the lender will give you back your payments minus any interest and fees. These payments are also reported to the credit bureau, creating a history of payment to help establish credit. It’s important to note that credit builder loans tend to have higher interest rates and fees. 

A credit builder loan should not be your first option for building a credit history. However, it can be a good option for consumers who have bad credit and are looking for a debt-free way to build credit.

MyMarble Premium

MyMarble Premium serves as a credit enhancement solution that assists you in effectively managing your credit score. By leveraging AI and Point Deduction Technology, its software analyses your credit report and utilizes information from your linked bank account to deliver tailored suggestions for enhancing your overall finances. 

Moreover, MyMarble Premium integrates Point Deduction Technology, enabling you to employ points and budget simulators to aim for a particular credit score while adhering to your preferred budget.

Newcomer Programs From Banks In Canada

Many banks in Canada offer newcomers programs designed to help immigrants access credit. Let’s take a look at some of them.

CIBC Banking Solutions For Newcomers

The CIBC Newcomers Program provides various deals on everyday banking products. Newcomers can get the CIBC Smart™ Account with no monthly fees for 2 years. Similarly, CIBC offers rewards credit cards and Global money transfers with $0 transfer fees.

TD Banking Solutions for Newcomers

TD offers a variety of programs designed to help newcomers settle into their Canadian financial life. Including chequing accounts with no fees for 12 months, flexible mortgages for individuals with no credit history, secured credit cards, and more. 

RBC Newcomers Advantage

RBC offers a variety of products for newcomers to Canada. Including car loans and mortgages with no credit history required. Preferred interest rates for investments, no fees for chequing accounts, and free international money transfers (for a limited time). 

Final Thoughts On Loans For Immigrants In Canada

Despite the financial, social, and emotional challenges associated with immigrating to a new country. There are many resolutions for newcomers who are looking to build their Canadian credit history. New immigrants have many options offered by the Canadian federal government, banks, and private lenders to help establish their credit and access loans. If you’re a new Canadian looking for a loan or other financial assistance, Loans Canada can help.

Loans For Immigrants FAQs

Can I qualify for a bank loan in Canada?

You will need to have permanent residency status to apply for a bank loan in Canada. But even then, it can be difficult to get approved for a bank loan as a newcomer to Canada. However, if you have a strong income, reliable employment, and assets, it can be done. Ideally, you should also have a good credit score, but this may not be possible when you first arrive in Canada. Thankfully, some lenders offer special loan programs for immigrants that are designed to help establish and build a healthy credit history.

What’s a good credit score for an immigrant?

Generally speaking, a credit score of at least 660 is considered “good” in Canada. There is no specific credit score rating system specifically for immigrants. The creditworthiness of all loan applicants will be assessed based on a lender’s requirements, regardless of residency status.

How do I build credit?

To establish credit in Canada, take out a credit product or loan, use it responsibly, and make on-time payments. Credit and loan payments that are reported to the credit bureaus will help you build a healthy credit history. For newcomers, applying for a secured credit card may be best. These credit products are easier to get approved for compared to traditional credit cards. With every timely payment made, you can build a positive payment history which can help build your credit score.
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Lisa Rennie

Lisa has been working as a personal finance writer for more than a decade, creating unique content that helps to educate Canadian consumers in the realms of real estate, mortgages, investing and financial health. For years, she held her real estate license in Toronto, Ontario before giving it up to pursue writing within this realm and related niches. Lisa is very serious about smart money management and helping others do the same.

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