Common Questions

It is important for us that you get the answers to any questions you have about our loan program. Browse through the frequently asked questions below or talk us to find the answers you’re looking for.

Watch our videos to learn more about our application and loan repayment process.

What can the loan be used for?

A: The loan may be used for:

  • Short-term (two years or less) training
  • Exam fees with a professional governing association
  • Travel expenses to write an exam
  • Qualification assessments
  • Professional association fees
  • Books and course materials
  • English or French language courses specific to employment
  • Living allowance during study time (if there is an income shortfall during study time)
  • Other related expenses

Is this program only for professionals or for people who have degrees?

A: No. Any immigrant who will incur costs in order to work again in the occupation they had in their home country may apply. Tradespeople, skilled workers and professionals are encouraged to apply. Read our eligibility requirements to learn more.

Do I have to go back to the same work I did before?

A: No, but you do have to be planning to work in a related field. For instance, if you were a dentist you could apply for a loan to help with the costs of becoming a dental hygienist.

IAF loans cannot be used to help you start a career in a new field.

Am I eligible for a loan if I am already working in my field?

A: Yes, but only if you are underemployed (working at a level much lower than someone with your education or experience should be).

Do you support refugees or protected persons in Canada?

IAF has a loan program for refugees/protected persons to limit their financial burden as they strive to resettle in Canada. Refugees or protected persons may apply for the IAF Refugee Loan Program within three years from the time they have attained a Refugee Status in Canada to the date of their application at IAF. To learn more, click here.

Does it matter where I live?

A: We can lend to people living anywhere in Canada, except for those who live in Quebec.
Click here for more information.

Can I meet with an IAF Loan Facilitator in person?

A: Yes, if you live in Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, or Toronto which is where IAF has its offices. If you do not live in one of those cities, we will “meet” with you using Skype™ or phone.

Can I use an IAF loan to pay off my credit card?

A: Not usually, but it may be allowed if you very recently paid for licensing/training costs on your credit card, and can show us that you did.

I want to work in my field, but my first priority is providing for my family. How can an IAF loan help?

A: Loans may be used to help pay short term living expenses if there is an income shortfall while you are attending school or studying for exams.

How much may I borrow?

A: You may borrow up to $10,000. Most people don’t need that much though; the average loan is around $6,000.

What is the interest rate?

A: The interest rate is currently 4.2% annually (RBC Prime rate plus 1.5%, set quarterly). We are proud we have been able to keep the interest rate low (it is not uncommon for micro loan programs to charge up to 10% above prime).

Why does IAF charge interest?

A: The interest we charge you helps replenish the loan fund if some of the loans are not paid back, and pays for the interest and bank charges we have to pay.

Who benefits from the interest paid on the loans?

A: Aside from paying the interest charged to us and bank fees, we have been able to keep payments of principal and interest in the loan fund, helping to ensure the sustainability of the loan fund. Future loan recipients will benefit from the interest paid by today’s recipients.

Does IAF make money from the loans?

A: No. The IAF program is run by non-profit societies whose operating expenses are covered from other sources. All loan interest goes to the loan fund to provide loans to future applicants, to cover defaulted loans, to pay for the interest IAF pays if it has borrowed the money it lends out, and to pay bank service charges.

How much will my payments be?

A: If you borrow $5,000, pay interest only while you are completing your licensing/learning plan (to a maximum of two years), and pay interest plus principal for next two years:

  • Your monthly interest only payments will be about $20.
  • Your monthly principal and interest payments will be about $220.
  • You will have paid a total of about $5,700 ($5,000 in principal and $700 in interest).

Read our loan terms and conditions to learn more about paying your loan back.

Still have questions? Our loan team would be happy to answer your questions and help you get started in your application.