The Pre-Arrival Centre (PAC) is a service within the Immigrant Centre aimed at providing personalized information to clients about their upcoming move to Manitoba. Once a client registers on the website (http://www.ic-pac.com), they are delegated to one of the four facilitators at the PAC for an initial needs assessment.
“If you’re talking about a culture you don’t know, people assume a lot of things,” said Julio Lopez, the Centre’s manager. “When we talk with our clients one-on-one, we can ask them questions to dig a little deeper into what they need.”
Emily Janssens a Creative Communications student at Red River College met with the whole PAC team and wrote about what she learned. Read the full story at our website.
After the initial needs assessment, the facilitator will speak with the client regularly to prepare them for coming to Manitoba and what the client will need to do when they get there. The purpose of the Centre is to give clients the information they need so that when they arrive they feel a sense of direction.
Lopez said it’s very common for immigrants only to have a family member or a friend to guide them once they here, which leads to a reactionary immigration process.
“Once they got here, they wouldn’t see any progress and would get frustrated,” he said. “They think:’ This is the land of opportunity. I have the golden ticket. What happened?”
The Pre-Arrival Centre is working to change the sentiment, and so fair it seems to be doing just that.
Abu Dukuly, a facilitator at the Centre, said a client once told him he relieved her fear and anxiety about the housing situation. After their conversation, she said she would go to be with some peace of mind.
“I was humbled,” Dukuly said, “I consider something like that to be so basic, but she was so worried about it. These kinds of things mean a lot for our clients.”
The Centre provides information for everything a clients asks about. It’s an effort to prevent clients from saying they wish they would have known about something before they immigrated. The goal is for the client to have a checklist before they leave of all of the things they need to bring so they will be ready when they hit the ground.
The Pre-Arrival Centre only officially opened this past Januay, but it’s already receiving a lot of positive feedback. The one-on-one communications is key to the Centre’s success not only because of the tailored information the facilitator provides for the clients but also because the conversations create connectivity between the client and facilitator.
“While we’re talking with our clients, things come up that didn’t initially come up during the needs assessment,” said Jessica Praznik, a facilitator at the Centre. “Our clients will ask us about these things because they’re comfortable with us. It’s a mutually positive experience.”
Lopez said that while a lot of information is available online, people still need to know where to get it. The point of the Centre is to tie all of that information together in one location. He said the Centre is not re-inventing the wheel when it comes to immigration; it’s just refining the process.
Article and Photo by Emily Janssens