The Alberta immigration program and its streams
The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), formerly the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, is an economic immigration program that nominates people to work and live in Alberta permanently. The AAIP has streams for foreign workers and for entrepreneurs who plan to live in the province. Therefore, nominees must have skills to fill job shortages or be planning to buy or start a business in Alberta.
If you are nominated through the program, you may apply for permanent residence status together with your spouse or common-law partner, and dependent children. But, remember, it is Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) who manages the applications for permanent residence. The federal government also makes final decisions on these applications.
Now, let’s quickly explore the streams that the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program has for workers and entrepreneurs.
Streams for workers
The AAIP has 3 streams for foreign workers who are living and working in Alberta, or plan to live and work in the province:
1. Alberta Opportunity Stream
This stream is for temporary foreign workers who are already working full-time in Alberta and have a full-time job offer from an Alberta employer in an eligible occupation. Candidates must have a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or hold one of the accepted LMIA exemption work permits. In addition, candidates must meet other minimum eligibility criteria for: residency and work permit type, occupation, language, education, Alberta job offer and work experience.
2. Alberta Express Entry Stream
The Alberta Express Entry Stream allows Alberta to nominate a limited number of qualified candidates from IRCC’s Express Entry system. These candidates must demonstrate strong ties to Alberta and/or support the government’s economic development and diversification priorities. International graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions may also be asked to apply under this stream.
Selection, notification and eligibility requirements differ if you are a general Express Entry candidate or a candidate under the Accelerated Tech Pathway.
3. Rural Renewal Stream
This stream supports the attraction and retention of newcomers to rural Alberta. Qualified candidates who have a job offer from an Alberta employer to work in a designated rural Alberta community can apply for an AAIP nomination. Moreover, candidates can apply on their own using the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program portal.
Also, please be aware that, on September 28, 2022, religious worker and clergy occupations became eligible for the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program’s stream for workers.
Streams for entrepreneurs
The AAIP has 4 streams for entrepreneurs who plan to live in Alberta and buy or start a business in the province:
1. Rural Entrepreneur Stream
Entrepreneurs who want to start a business or buy an existing business in a rural Alberta community can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Each community will have their own process for scheduling an exploratory visit.
Candidates interested in a specific rural Alberta community should connect with the community contact person to discuss their business proposal and schedule an exploratory visit. Entrepreneurs who prove to be successful in taking on the risks of establishing a business are rewarded with profits and continued growth opportunities.
2. Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream allows the AAIP to nominate qualified international graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions who want to start a business or buy an existing business in Alberta to apply for permanent residence. These candidates must have a minimum 34% ownership in the business. Moreover, the proposed business type must not be on the list of ineligible businesses.
3. Farm Stream
This stream is for entrepreneurs who have the financial resources and farm management experience to establish a new or purchase an existing farm in Alberta.
Candidates must submit their application, along with a proposed business plan, to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) for assessment. The AAIP will consult with Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation to ensure the business plan meets the needs of this industry.
4. Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
This is a program for qualified foreign educated graduates from outside of Canada who want to launch start-up enterprises in Alberta. This stream is a collaboration between the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) and approved designated agencies.
The agency will review business plans based on the foreign graduate’s ability to demonstrate several factors, such as, business development. The designated agency will provide a written report on their assessment of the proposed business plan. Foreign graduates must submit this report with their Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Business Application.
Note: to learn more about each of these streams, please visit the province website.
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