What is CIIP and How Does It Make a Difference?

Community workers and settlement or employment counselors assisting newcomers with their integration journey to Canada has more than likely heard about the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program (CIIP) .

CIIP is funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) and provides free pre-departure orientation to Federal Skilled Workers, Provincial Nominees, their spouses and adult dependents, while they are still overseas during their final stages of the immigration process.

CIIP helps immigrants prepare for economic success by providing information, planning and online support through various agency partners in Canada.

The CIIP offices are located in several countries such as China, India, Philippines and the United Kingdom and make their services available in additional service delivery locations.

Federal Skilled Workers and Provincial Nominees who have completed the application process for a Canadian immigrant visa may register for these CIIP services. They begin by attending a one-day orientation workshop and follow up by preparing a tailored action plan with CIIP overseas orientation officers. The CIIP graduates are then referred to a provincial CIIP Focal Point Partner depending on the province they have chosen to settle in.

These provincial partners are key immigrant-serving agencies and colleges in each province that are the first point of contact for CIIP clients. Clients are strongly encouraged to reach out to these organizations as early as possible pre-arrival to begin their settlement process. This relationship can begin and be extremely effective if it starts while in their home country, online and pre-arrival.

In addition, CIIP has partners with two renowned recruitment organizations, Career Bridge and Skills International, who are principle CIIP contacts with employers across Canada looking to help fill certain employment vacancies.

Focal Point Partners consider CIIP graduates better prepared to enter the Canadian labour market than other newcomers who did not have the opportunity to benefit from a pre-arrival program.

In February 2013, CIIP celebrated a significant milestone: they have served over 20,000 clients.  A ceremony marking the occasion was held during the annual Focal Point Partner meeting in Ottawa. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney joined CIIP staff and partners in Ottawa to celebrate this success.

What is the key to CIIP’s success?  I think we can say that the answer to that question is good planning.  The integration process can start by pre-planning and offering online and pre-arrival services for professional newcomers prior to coming to Canada and CIIP is already there to make that happen.

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else

Yogi Berra

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