2022 Sees The Province Of Alberta Actively Recruiting New Immigrants To The Province
Alberta has implemented recruitment campaigns to attract new immigrants by seeking international entrepreneurs and skilled professionals to help diversify the economy and create new jobs.
It is no secret that Canada wants to attract the brightest, most skilled and educated professionals to the country. Over the past 5 years, prior to the pandemic, immigration accounted for over three quarters of Canada’s total population growth. Furthermore, according to the Conference Board of Canada, over the next 5 years, immigration will account for 100% of Canada’s labour force growth. Welcoming its doors to diversity enhances Canada’s global standing through intellectual multiplicity, labour productivity and business development, among other benefits.
As each province competes for diverse talent and new immigrants to fill labour market needs, it’s no wonder that the province of Alberta recently launched a new campaign to attract skilled workers. In mid-August 2022, the Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, announced the Alberta is Calling Campaign, to attract people from across Canada and new immigrants to settle in the province. With posters and billboards used to promote the campaign, pitches include "A Shorter Commute to a Bigger House" and "What Did the Albertan Say to the Torontonian? You're Hired." The campaign has focused primarily on the cost of living, affordability, and careers. There are many benefits to living in Alberta as it has Canada’s highest average wages and lowest taxes, proximity to nature and robust career opportunities.
In alignment with the new campaign, the province seeks to attract and support new immigrants through the Alberta Advantage Immigration Strategy which seeks global talent, international entrepreneurs and skilled professionals to help diversify the economy and create new jobs.
On February 16, 2022, in support of Alberta's Recovery Plan, the province announced several changes to its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) as part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Strategy. One great aspect about the initiative is that Alberta recognizes that not only is it important to attract new immigrants to the province by promoting Alberta’s reputation and benefits as an attractive place to live, but also to provide supports for new immigrants such as pre-arrival services to settlement and integration. Valuable services for anyone starting a new life in a new country.
One example includes foreign qualification recognition and prioritizing immigrants in Alberta for credential assessment to increase employment prospects in their given field. Following provinces such as Ontario and Manitoba, Alberta introduced Bill 11, the Fair Registration Practices Act (FRPA), which requires professional regulatory organizations to ensure that their registration practices are fair, transparent, objective, and impartial. A great aspect of the FRPA is that it will help newcomers get their credentials recognized sooner so that they can quickly get to work in their respective field.
With the new announcement in February, the former Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) was renamed the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), a provincial economic immigration program that nominates people for permanent residence in Alberta. Furthermore, now seven different streams exist, three existing entrepreneur streams were renamed, and two new streams were introduced, which focus on rural communities to help them grow by attracting skilled newcomers. Premier Jason Kenney announced the launch of two new immigration streams—the Rural Renewal Stream and the Rural Entrepreneur Stream. The creation of the two new streams aim to combat the struggle that Alberta’s rural communities are facing such as population decline and fewer people of working age.
The seven different streams can be broken down into two categories—streams for foreign workers who plan to live or work in Alberta or who are living and working in Alberta and streams for entrepreneurs who plan to live in Alberta and start or buy a business in the province.
Streams for Workers:
The Alberta Express Entry Stream
• This stream allows Alberta to nominate qualified candidates from the IRCC Express Entry System. Candidates who benefit from this stream are those who demonstrate strong ties to Alberta, those who can help support Alberta’s economic development and diversification priorities and international graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions.
• Accelerated Tech Pathway
o Candidates with experience in the tech industry may be selected for fast-track processing if they are currently working for or have a job offer with an Alberta based tech industry employer in one of the 38 eligible tech occupations.
Alberta Opportunity Stream
• This stream is designed for temporary foreign workers who have a full-time job offer from an Alberta employer in an eligible occupation and are already working full time in the province. Candidates must meet minimum eligibility requirements such as occupation, language, education, Alberta job offer, work experience, residency, and work permit (having a positive LMIA [Labour Market Impact Assessment] or be LMIA exempt). Rural Renewal Stream • This new stream is community driven and empowers rural communities to recruit and retain foreign nationals to work, live and settle in their communities. The current designated communities are Brooks, Grande Prairie, Taber and Whitecourt, Alberta. Candidates may be recruited from within Alberta, Canada or outside of Canada. A candidate must be endorsed by a designated community and meet all other criteria for this stream. Streams for entrepreneurs: Graduate Entrepreneur Stream • This stream is ideal for international students who graduated from an Alberta post-secondary institution and want to establish or operate a business in Alberta to apply for permanent residence. Graduates must have a minimum of 6 months full-time work experience managing or owning the business or equivalency (experience with a business incubator/accelerator, or completion of entrepreneurship program/courses) among other requirements. Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream • This stream nominates talented and qualified foreign educated graduates outside of Canada for permanent residence. It is ideal for those who are educated graduates from outside of Canada who want to start an innovative business or launch a start-up enterprise in Alberta. Candidates must work with an AAIP approved designated agency whose role is to determine entrepreneurial readiness of the candidate, validate the business idea, and provide business plan support, networking opportunities, and business coaching. The designated agency will also issue a letter of recommendation which needs to be included when submitting an Expression of Interest to AAIP where candidates with the highest-ranking points will be invited to submit a Business Application. Rural Entrepreneur Stream • This stream is designed for those who have a minimum net worth of $300,000 CND with the intent to invest a minimum of $200,000 CND to buy an existing business or to start a new business in a rural Alberta community. AAIP defines rural communities as communities with a population of less than 100,000. Interested candidates must connect with a community contact person and schedule an exploratory visit. Factors which increase chances for receiving a Request to Submit a Business Application are business succession, being aged 21-49, having an Alberta relative and their spouse/common-law partner has at least one year of full-time post-secondary education or a minimum of a CLB 4. Farm Stream • This stream is ideal for entrepreneurs who have the financial resources and farm management experience to purchase an existing farm or to establish a new farm in Alberta. Candidates must be able to invest at least $500,000 CND of equity in a farming business and show a minimum net worth of $500,000 or confirmation of the ability to access funds from other sources, among other requirements. Last year, in 2021, the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program issued 6,250 nomination certificates to skilled and semi-skilled immigrants. As of September 2, 2022, the province issued 4,497 nominations of the 6,500 nomination certificates the IRCC allocated to Alberta for the 2022 year. With the new immigration strategy, Alberta Calling campaign, AAIP and Alberta’s Recovery Plan, it is obvious that the government of Alberta has an ambitious mandate to attract new foreign nationals to the province to start businesses, fill labour shortages and to support more immigrants to make Alberta their home permanently. It is clear that the province is well on its way to meeting this year’s nomination allocation and working towards fulfilling it’s recovery, immigration and campaign strategies.