Provincial nomination offers a valuable route to permanent residence
Most provinces and territories in Canada can nominate immigrants through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). These immigrants must have the skills, education and work experience to contribute to the economy of that province or territory, and must want to live there.
Each province and territory has its own “streams” (immigration programs that target certain groups) and criteria for their PNP. For example, in a program stream, provinces and territories may target students, business people, skilled workers or semi-skilled workers.
Since January 1, 2015, many provinces and territories have launched new Express Entry streams.
What is the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program?
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program nominates individuals for permanent residence. Nominees must have skills and abilities to fill job shortages in Alberta, and be able to provide for their families over the long term. The program is run by the Alberta government in conjunction with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
People who are nominated through the program, together with their spouse/common-law partner and dependent children, can apply for permanent residence through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada as a provincial nominee. The federal government makes final decisions on all permanent resident applications. Program nominees who meet all required federal checks, including medical, criminal and security checks, may be issued permanent resident visa(s) for immigration to Alberta.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program has a new application stream called the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS), and an expansion to the occupations and skill levels that can be accepted.
These new changes will better serve workers in Alberta who want to become permanent residents. We have simplified processes, which will reduce wait times and provide fair access for all workers who wish to build lives in Alberta.
In response to the program’s expansion to include most occupations and all skill levels, the federal government requires minimum criteria for language, education and income.
As of June 14, 2018, the AINP will accept applications under two streams:
- Self-Employed Farmer Stream
- Alberta Opportunity Stream (new)
The Alberta Opportunity Stream will simplify processes, reduce wait times, and provide fair access for applicants across all sectors and industries in Alberta. It will also provide greater opportunities for candidates with ties to the province, and expand the number of sectors, occupations and skill levels that will be accepted into the program.
If you mailed an application on June 14 and applied to the Employer-Driven or Strategic Recruitment Streams, your application will still be processed.
If you have already applied to the AINP under the Employer-Driven or Strategic Recruitment Stream and your application is postmarked on or before June 14, 2018:
- Your application will be assessed under the eligibility criteria that was in place at the time your application was received (see the Expired AINP Streams, Categories, and Initiatives page for previous criteria).
- Do not reapply to the AINP if you have an application in process.
- You can request that the AINP withdraw your previous application. This must be done in writing, and sent by registered mail or courier and the AINP must confirm your application has been withdrawn before a new application can be submitted.
Expansion of Occupations and Skill Levels
The program has expanded to accept most occupations and all skill levels. Previously it only accepted skilled and some semi-skilled workers. Currently, most occupations are included in the program, with a few exceptions.
The exceptions can be found in two ineligible occupation lists. If your occupation is not on the lists that apply to you, you can apply to the program (as long as you also meet the other program requirements, such as language and income requirements).
- The Alberta Opportunity Stream Ineligible Occupations list applies to all candidates and is available here. This list includes occupations that are seasonal, have limited economic impact, or are already being filled by Albertans and Canadians. Self-employed individuals are also not eligible.
- Post-Graduation Work Permit holders are also not able to apply if their occupation is on the list of High Wage and Low Wage Occupations in the province of Alberta.
Occupations are subject to change so check these lists before applying.
Language, Education and Income Requirements
The federal government has raised the requirements for Alberta applicants related to language abilities, high school completion and annual income.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program must follow federal direction on economic immigration programs. In response to the program’s expansion to include most occupations and all skill levels, the federal government requires minimum criteria for language, education and income to ensure Alberta’s nominees can integrate successfully in the workforce, communities and support their families over the longer term.
Discussions with affected groups
After announcing changes to the program in October 2017, the Alberta government met with post-secondary institutions, the meat-processing industry, labour organizations and advocacy groups to discuss the changes. Based on these discussions, Alberta made some further changes:
- Alberta negotiated with the federal government to phase in the language, education and income requirements so program applicants and industry have time to adjust.
- International graduates who have finished their education in an eligible program in Alberta may apply with a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
International Graduates can apply to the program through the Alberta Opportunity Stream if they graduated from an approved Alberta post-secondary institution and are working on a Post-Graduation Work Permit. Applicants will need to:
- Show that they have at least six months of work experience in Alberta in an occupation related to their field of study (this is less than the requirement for other applicants).
- Meet the same minimum language and income requirements as other applicants.
International graduates who have completed education programs in other Canadian provinces will not be eligible for the program based on their Post-Graduation Work Permit. They could be eligible for the program if they have another type of work permit.
International graduates must have education and skills that are well matched with skills shortages in Alberta in order to be eligible for the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.
To help international students find out whether their education and work experience is well matched with current skill shortages in Alberta, the province keeps a list of post-secondary programs called the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials and a list of ineligible occupations, called the Refusal to Process list. These lists change on a regular basis.
An international graduate whose occupation is on the Refusal to Process list of occupations will not be eligible to apply to the program for as long as that occupation stays on list. Students will also need to review a list of ineligible occupations called the Alberta Opportunity Stream Ineligible Occupations list that can be found with the other criteria for the Alberta Opportunity Stream.
Students who complete a post-secondary program on the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials are eligible for the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program if their education program is on the list at the time they are admitted and enrolled in their post-secondary program.
Government has implemented a transition period for the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials as a temporary measure to allow students and post-secondary institutions time to adapt to this change.
International students who are admitted and enrolled before October 1, 2018 in one-year entry-level certificate programs, and post-graduate certificate and diploma programs that are not on the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials will still be considered for the AINP as long as they meet all other requirements.
International students who are admitted and enrolled on or after October 1, 2018 in one of these programs will not be eligible to apply to the AINP with a Post-Graduation Work Permit. They can still apply to the program if they are able to secure a Labour Market Impact Assessment-based work permit. They also continue to have an option to apply to the Express Entry stream.
- Alberta Opportunity Stream
The Alberta Opportunity Stream replaces the Employer-Driven Stream and Strategic Recruitment Stream. These streams are now closed. Complete applications for the Employer-Driven Stream and Strategic Recruitment Stream postmarked on or before June 14, 2018, will be accepted for processing.
Under the Alberta Opportunity Stream candidates apply on their own, without the need for employer support.
The AINP may implement intake and nomination guidelines that would set the maximum number of applications accepted and nominations issued each year, as well as maximums for applications and nominations by sector and occupation.
You may be eligible for the Alberta Opportunity Stream if:
- you are currently working full-time in Alberta in an eligible occupation, and
- you meet the minimum selection criteria for residency and employment status, occupation, language, education, work experience, and income level.
- Self-Employed Farmer Stream
You may be eligible for the Self-Employed Farmer Stream if:
- you have the financial resources and farm management experience to purchase and establish a farm in Alberta.
Increased requirements for language, education and income
- Language requirement:
- Must meet Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 4 until June 13, 2019, and CLB or NCLC of 5 starting on June 14, 2019.
- Education criteria:
- From June 14, 2018 to December 31, 2020, applicants must have completed minimum of high school in their country of origin to be eligible for Alberta Opportunity Stream.
- Starting January 1, 2021, applicants must have completed minimum of high school equivalent to Alberta standards to be eligible for Alberta Opportunity Stream.
- Income threshold:
- From June 14, 2018 to December 31, 2019 applicants will need to demonstrate a gross annual income level of $21, 833 for a single applicant. (70% of Alberta Low Income Measure (LIM)).
- From January 1, 2020 this threshold will increase to $23,392.50 gross annual income for a single applicant. (75 per cent of the Alberta LIM, and to 80 per cent of the Alberta LIM as of January 1, 2021)