Alberta has made a series of changes to its Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) to encourage more immigration to the province for healthcare workers, refugees and entrepreneurs willing to operate businesses in rural areas.
Foreign nationals hoping to immigrate to Canada under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) will now have to make a minimum investment of only $100,000, half of the previously-demanded $200,000 under the program’s Rural Renewal Stream change announced on April 3.
But the need for communities to demonstrate proper settlement plans remains in place.
“Communities are still required to complete a settlement plan as part of the designation application process to demonstrate adequate supports are in place to effectively welcome newcomers,” notes Alberta immigration on its website.
The westernmost Prairie province, which has recently been given the green light by Ottawa to grow its provincial nominations by 67 over the coming three years, is also actively recruiting healthcare workers through the AAIP.
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Earlier this month, the province also announced it is going to use up to 30 per cent of its available Express Entry allocations this year to nominated healthcare workers under its Dedicated Healthcare Pathway.
“Physicians, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, licensed practical nurses, physician assistants, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, psychologists, and clinical social workers are eligible,” notes Alberta immigration.
“Eligible healthcare professionals must have an Alberta job offer with an employer in the healthcare sector in Alberta, and must have verifiable proof of meeting the minimal requirements prescribed by the applicable regulatory organization to be able to practice in Alberta.”
In its bid to grow immigration to the province through its AAIP, Alberta is also now participating in the Economic Mobility Pathways Pilot (EMPP) which helps refugees with the skills and qualifications needed in Canada immigrate through existing economic programs.
AAIP-EMPP Partnership Details To Be Unveiled In The Coming Months
“The AAIP is working with the federal government to implement the pilot and supplement its annual nominations through this unique opportunity,” notes Alberta immigration.
The province is going to be releasing details of exactly how the EMPP will work in tandem with its PNP in the coming months.
A new phone line, 780-644-7534, has also been set up to answer questions about Alberta immigration processes but that new line was already busy and callers could only leave messages at midday on Apr. 17, only two weeks after it first went into effect.
Alberta immigration notes the phone line is to complement “the existing comprehensive suite of AAIP information and contact forms available online, including the self-serve application portal which guides and updates applicants interactively.”
Last year, immigration to Alberta rose by 25.6 per cent as the province welcomed 49,505 new permanent residents, up from 39,410 in 2021.
And immigration to Alberta is off to a strong start this year with 11,790 new permanent residents in the first two months, a rate of immigration that, if continued throughout the year, would result in 70,740 new permanent residents for 2023.
That’s got Alberta Premier Danielle Smith smiling as her government is bullish on immigration as a way of resolving labour shortages there.
Alberta Premier Bullish On Immigration To Fill Jobs Going Begging For A Lack Of Workers
“Alberta is still calling,” the premier wrote on her LinkedIn page in March.
“Right now there are over 100,000 job vacancies to fill in Alberta. We need more skilled workers to keep our economy firing on all cylinders!”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Alberta remained bullish on immigration, launching two new programs to attract international graduate entrepreneurs during the first year of the pandemic.
The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream and the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream, which is aimed at graduates from American universities, opened early during the pandemic.
“With this new stream, international graduates can apply to stay and launch new ventures and start-ups, creating new jobs for Albertans and bringing much-needed investment to our province,” said then-Alberta Immigration Minister Jason Copping.
The two Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AAIP) streams were designed to assist Alberta’s economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
The new International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream works on an Expressions of Interest system and is aimed at international graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions who want to establish or operate a business in the province.
The other new stream, the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa, is to attract talented international graduates from top American universities and colleges to start businesses and settle in Alberta communities.
Simplified Immigration Process
Alberta Opportunity Stream is designed to simplify the AAIP application process, reduce wait times and make the system fairer for candidates who meet the residency, work permit and occupational requirements and their employers.
The Express Entry Stream allows the province to nominate a limited number of qualified candidates from the federal Express Entry pool through periodic draws.
In its first Express Entry draw in six months, Alberta issued invitations to 50 candidates with Comprehensive Ranking System scores as low as 406 in early January this year. It was the first draw under this stream since mid-June last year.
The Self-Employed Farmer Stream is managed by the AAIP in close collaboration with Alberta Agriculture and Forestry and targets applicants with farm management skills and sufficient financial resources to invest in a farming business in Alberta.