Newcomers and immigrants in Merritt are getting extra support from an immigration agency at no cost.

Kamloops Immigration Services (KIS) has announced their plan to provide free assistance to newcomers and immigrants that are moving to Merritt.

Services being offered by KIS include access to English classes, job search support, short-term crisis counselling, document renewals and referral to the community network.

Kate Cheng, settlement counsellor at Kamloops Immigration Services, said the goal is to support newcomers navigate and lead them to the right information.

“We know there’s quite a bit of challenge. People could be facing barriers, such as language barriers, seeking employment, housing or even have legal immigration issues. So, the whole transition to the new country or the community could be really overwhelming,” she added.

While their head office is located in Kamloops, newcomers in Merritt will also have the opportunity to get in-person services every second week of the month at the local WorkBC.

“We’re just not (only) supporting them through calls and emails or through a video call,” Cheng added. “We’re also there (in Merritt) in person as well.”

By providing these resources at no cost, Cheng also hopes to foster a sense of belonging and inclusion among newcomers within the Merritt community.

“We want the community to welcome these newcomers immigrations, to recognize the importance of them, to welcome them and to build this connection between newcomers and the people who’ve been living there for many years,” added Cheng.