A promotional image for the new Arrival Advisor app, which aims to help immigrants and refugees as they settle in British Columbia. (Submitted photo)

Free app launches to help immigrants, refugees as they settle in B.C.

Mobile app Arrival Advisor was developed by Vancouver-based non-profit PeaceGeeks

A free app has just launched that aims to help immigrants and refugees access services as they settle in B.C.

It’s called Arrival Advisor and strives to assist newcomers as they “plan their settlement journey” and is “customized to fit their needs.”

The app is described as a “one-stop-shop” for immigrants and refugees in finding reliable information on a variety of topics, including employment, health care, banking, government programs, housing, education and more.

In 2018, there were more than 70,000 newcomers to this province.

READ MORE: B.C. government earmarks more cash to help new immigrants settle

“Studies have shown that one in three newcomers remain unaware of available resources, and seven municipal districts across the Lower Mainland have identified access to information as a top barrier for immigrant resettlement,” notes a release from PeaceGeeks, a Vancouver-based non-profit that created the app, which is available in both the Apple and Google Play stores.

PeaceGeek’s Patrick Estey said Arrival Advisor is based on a previous app the company had developed called Services Advisor, that was primarily based in Jordan and Turkey, to help refugees there access services.

Now, with the B.C.-based app, PeaceGeeks aims to “take the workload off of organizations and allow individuals arriving in Canada to have some independence,” said Estey.

He added that the ultimate goal is to “make it really easy for newcomers.”

“They’ve sometimes had a really challenging journey, sometimes they’re escaping really horrible conditions.”

The initial launch offers the app in English, Fresh and Arabic. Estey notes there are plans to also launch it in Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), Korean, Punjabi and Tagalog in the near future.

READ ALSO: Federal officials dealing with backlog of refugee security screens

“We are really wanting every single individual that’s coming to British Columbia to be downloading the app,” said Estey. “We’re getting really good feedback in terms of settlement organizations and settlement workers that are going to recommend this app for individuals who are new to Canada.”

So far, Estey said reactions to the app have been “surprise, and kind of delight.”

“I think it’s something the sector has needed for a while,” he noted. “We do find that a lot of immigrants or refugees do have access to a smartphone and it kind of becomes their survival guide so to speak, so to be able to offer this all in one place is really exciting.”

Estey said the team is wanting more feedback, to help make improvements to the app.

“This is version 1.0,” he explained, “but we want feedback in how we can improve.”

Estey said the app was made possible via promotional and financial support from the provincial government, as well as a $750,000 grant secured through placing in the top five in the Google.org Impact Challenge in 2017.

There is hope to expand the app across Canada, noted Estey, but said step one is “ensure this app is working properly in B.C., and that it’s effective.”

According to the Surrey Local Immigrant Partnership (SLIP), 40.5 per cent of Surrey’s population are immigrants. And, SLIP reports that Surrey receives roughly 26 per cent of refugees in the province, the most of any B.C. municipality.

To learn more visit arrivaladvisor.ca.



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

VIDEO: Octopus, bald eagle battle after bird ‘bites off more than it can chew’ near Quatsino

B.C. crew films fight between the two feisty animals in Quatsino off north Vancouver Island

Striking Western Forest Products workers willing to ‘modify position’ if talks progress

Brian Butler, USW 1-1937 president, says union and WFP to meet Thursday, Dec. 12

Midgets tie Alberni Valley Bulldogs, lose to Kerry Park Islanders

It was a bit of a rough road trip for the North Island Midget Eagles.

Help ‘Stuff the Goose’ at the Port Hardy Airport

The fundraiser ends on Dec. 18 so that the food bank can process all the donations before Christmas.

North Island Bantam Eagles are the top team in VIAHA’s Tier 2 division

“If we continue to play like that we are going to be a tough team to contend with come playoffs”

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

Raptors fans show Kawhi the love in his return to Toronto

Leonard receives championship ring, leads new club to win

Process to identify those killed in Gabriola plane crash could take days

Canadian flight museum suggests Alex Bahlsen of Mill Bay died in Tuesday’s crash

One man dead after car crash in Nanaimo

One person died, another was injured in the accident which happened Wednesday on Nanaimo Lakes Road

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by pellet gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Most Read