Montreal Christmas Fund 2017: New immigrant struggles without work permit

When it arrives, Milca would like to secure a sales job like she had back in Democratic Republic of Congo

Kelsey Litwin, Special to the Montreal GazetteKelsey Litwin, Special to the Montreal Gazette

Published on: December 2, 2017 | Last Updated: December 2, 2017 6:00 AM EST

Despite living in Montreal for the last year, Milca is still unable to work.

She immigrated to Canada from the Democratic Republic of Congo a year ago. With an aunt and uncle in the city, Montreal was her top choice, she said. They have been here for a while and since her arrival, she said she’s been liking it as well.

And while some social assistance allows her to contribute to their household, she said she’d like to help more.

“I would say my situation is difficult,” Milca said. Even with social assistance, she explained. “There are times that I still can’t buy anything.”

She’s still waiting for a work permit, she continued. When it arrives, she’d like to secure a sales job like she had in her home country. But until then, her hands are tied.

“I’d like to work,” she said. “That’s it.”

This winter, a $125 cheque from the Montreal Gazette Christmas Fund will help Milca buy food, something which she said can be difficult on her limited budget. She will be one of the thousands of Montreal-area individuals aided by the fund. Its goal is to help those in need through the winter season. 

Receiving this money makes her feel better, she said, especially because she is not working.

“It helps me a lot.”

How to help

Donate online: www.christmasfund.com. Mail or drop off donations to Montreal Gazette Christmas Fund, 1010 Ste-Catherine St. W., Suite 200, Montreal, Quebec H3B 5L1.

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