Alberta Immigration

Alberta is a province found in the Western region of Canada that is known for its tremendous oil wealth. With 3.8 million residents, Alberta is the fourth largest province in Canada by population and is one of the fastest growing province in Canada. It is the home to two of the country’s major urban centers, Calgary and Edmonton. Due to the  growing number of opportunities in Alberta, it has become one of the most popular provinces for immigrants in the country.

Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) is designed for individuals who possess the skills and abilities to fill labor shortages in Alberta. 

The AINP accepts skilled worker applications under the Opportunity Alberta stream and under the Express Entry system. It also operates one business program, the Self-employed Farmer stream.

The program is operated by the Alberta government in partnership with the federal immigration department, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Interested candidates must follow a two-stage process: apply for nomination to the provincial government, and then, if nominated, apply for permanent residence to the federal government.

IRCC allocates to AINP a limited number of nominations each year. 

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The Alberta Opportunity Stream was started in June 2018 to  replace  the Alberta’s Employer-Driven Stream and Strategic Recruitment Stream.

The Requirements for The Alberta Opportunity Stream

Residency and work permit requirement
At the time your application is postmarked and at the time the AINP assesses your application, you must have a valid work permit (not implied status or restoration status) for an eligible occupation. Valid work permits are based on one of the following:

  • a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • LMIA exemption for workers based on one of the following exemptions as determine by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC):
    • international trade agreements
    • workers transferred within a company
    • International Experience Canada
    • Mobilité Francophone
  • Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) holder

Post-Graduation Work Permit holders must also meet additional education and occupation requirements:

Ineligible applicants

The following people cannot apply for the Alberta Opportunity Stream:

  • refugee claimants or individuals involved in a federal appeal or removal process. The AINP does not intervene in the federal refugee claim, appeal or removal process
  • temporary residents living or working in a province or territory of Canada other than Alberta, or
  • foreign nationals living or working in Canada who do not have valid temporary resident status

Occupation requirements

Eligible occupations

At the time your application is postmarked and at the time the AINP assesses your application, you must:

  • work in an eligible occupation in Alberta
  • work in an occupation that matches your previous work experience

Most occupations under National Occupational Classification (NOC) skill levels 0, A, B, C and D are eligible under the AINP.

Language requirements

At the time your application is postmarked you must demonstrate you meet the following language test score in English or French:

Canadian Benchmark (CLB) test score required Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) test score required
Minimum of 4 for each English language skill Minimum of 4 for each French language skill

If you apply to the AINP under NOC code 3413 (Nurse aides, orderlies and patient service associates), the AINP requires a minimum language test score of:

  • CLB of 7 for each English language skill, or
  • NCLC of 7 for each French language skill

You must provide your official test results with your AINP application for one of the following language tests:

Official test results must be less than 2 years old at the time your application was postmarked. The AINP will not accept confirmation of registration to take a language test in place of a test result.

Check the federal guideline on CLB/NCLC equivalency for each of the tests.

Effective November 1, 2018, changes have been made to the planned increases to language requirements.

As of January 1, 2020

  • if you are working in a NOC 0, A or B occupation, you must meet a minimum of CLB 5 for each English or French language skill at the time of application.
  • if you are working in a NOC C or D occupation, there are no planned changes to language requirements. The minimum of CLB 4 for each English or French language skill at the time of application will continue to apply.

Read more about future criteria requirements.

Education requirements

Eligible applicants

At the time your application is postmarked you must have completed a minimum of high school education in your country of origin.

Starting January 1, 2021, all candidates except Post-Graduation Work Permit holders must have completed a minimum of high school equivalent to Alberta standards.

Read more about future criteria requirements.

Post-Graduation Work Permit holders

Effective November 30, 2018, the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials will apply to Alberta international students enrolled on or after April 1, 2019.

Post-Graduation Work Permit holders must meet additional education and occupation requirements:

Work experience requirements

Your “current occupation” is the occupation you are working in at the time your application is postmarked to the AINP.

Your current occupation must also match your work experience at the time your application is postmarked and at the time the AINP assesses your application.

Qualifying work experience

At the time your application is postmarked you must have either:

  • a minimum of 12 months full-time work experience in your current occupation in Alberta within the last 18 months; or
  • a minimum of 24 months of full-time work experience in your current occupation in Canada and/or abroad within the last 30 months
    • This work experience can be a combination of experience gained in Alberta, in Canada (outside Alberta) and/or abroad.

Post-Graduation Work Permit holders require a minimum of 6 months full-time work experience in your current occupation in Alberta within the last 18 months.

This occupation must be related to your field of study in Alberta of your Alberta Advanced Education approved credential at an Advanced Education approved Alberta public and private post-secondary institution.

If you are admitted and enrolled in your Alberta credential program on or after April 1, 2019 and you completed an Advanced Education-approved one year post-graduate certificate, your occupation must also be related to your previous undergraduate or graduate field of study outside Canada.

Work experience in the qualifying period:

  • must have been full-time, for a minimum of 30 hours a week
  • must be for the same occupation as your current occupation
  • must have been authorized by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada and with valid temporary resident status if completed in Alberta or Canada
  • cannot have been gained while studying in Canada and doing co-op work placements or internships as part of a study program*

*There is an exception to this rule if you are a Post-Graduation Work Permit holder. Work experience completed during paid co-op work terms that was part of a program of study at an Alberta post-secondary institution can be used to meet the work experience criteria with the following conditions:

  • the paid co-op work term was full-time (minimum 30 hours per week)
  • the work experience is directly related to your current occupation
  • the work experience was all gained in Alberta

You must have the required licensing, registration or certification to work in your current occupation in Alberta at the time your application is postmarked and at the time the AINP assesses your application for nomination.

If you are working in a compulsory trade in Alberta you must have a valid Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Trade (AIT) recognized trade certificate.

If you are working as childcare worker, you must have valid certification as a child development worker (formerly Level 2) or child development supervisor (formerly Level 3).

Eligible job offers

At the time your application is postmarked and at the time the AINP assesses your application for nomination, you must have a bona fide full-time job offer or employment contract from an Alberta employer to work in your current occupation in Alberta.

Your Alberta employer must be incorporated or registered by or under an act of the legislature of a province, territory, or the Parliament of Canada and operating as a business that has an established production capability, plant or place of business in Alberta.

Your job offer or employment contract must be signed by you and your Alberta employer and must offer:

  • continuous, paid work
  • full-time work, defined as a minimum of 30 hours/week
  • employment for 12 months or more
  • work in your current occupation
  • wages and benefits that meet provincial minimum wage and:
  • work for an eligible AINP occupation for which you have a work permit that meets AINP work permit requirements

You must meet the terms agreed to in your job offer or employment contract at the time of application and assessment.

Ineligible applicants based on job offer

The following individuals are not eligible, even if they have a job offer to work 30 hours a week or more in a 12-month period:

  • part-time, casual or seasonal employees, regardless of their working hours
  • independent contractors, business owners or temporary agency workers, including individuals listed as Directors, Shareholders or Agents of the Alberta employer on the Corporate Registry System (CORES)
  • employees who work in Alberta in a place of employment that is not zoned for commercial or industrial operations, such as a home-based business
  • employees who do not work on premises in Alberta, such as those who work in a “virtual” location or serve the employer by telecommuting from a location outside Alberta

AOS planned changes (2018 to 2021)

The selection criteria for language and education will increase over the next 3 years.

The following table contains information on what is expected to change and when it is expected to change. Changes to selection criteria may happen without notice at any time. These changes will be communicated by the AINP. It is for information only and will not be used to assess applications.

Sr.noAOS Selection requirements (Applies to all candidates unless otherwise noted)Effective April 1, 2019Effective January 1, 2020Effective January 1, 2021
1Residency Status/Work PermitNo changeNo changeNo change
2OccupationNo changeNo changeNo change
3LanguageCanadian Language Benchmark (CLB) or Niveaux de competence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 4CLB/NCLC 5 for candidates working in NOC 0, A or B occupation. No change for NOC C or D occupationsCLB/NCLC 5 for candidates working in NOC 0, A or B occupation. No change for NOC C or D occupations
4Education (for all applicants except Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders)Minimum High School in Country of OriginMinimum High School in Country of OriginMinimum High School equivalent to Alberta standard
5Education (Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders only)Change in eligible Alberta post-secondary certificates/diplomas. If admitted and enrolled in Alberta program on or after April 1, 2019, must have post-graduate-certificate or diploma on the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials. No change to other eligible credentials (degrees and graduate level certificates/diplomas)Change in eligible Alberta post-secondary certificates/diplomas. If admitted and enrolled in Alberta program on or after April 1, 2019, must have post-graduate-certificate or diploma on the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials. No change to other eligible credentials (degrees and graduate level certificates/diplomas)Change in eligible Alberta post-secondary certificates/diplomas. If admitted and enrolled in Alberta program on or after April 1, 2019, must have post-graduate-certificate or diploma on the Alberta Opportunity Stream List of Alberta Advanced Education Approved Post-Secondary Credentials. No change to other eligible credentials (degrees and graduate level certificates/diplomas)
6Work Experience (for all applicants except Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders)No changeNo changeNo change
7Work Experience (Post-Graduation Work Permit Holders only)Eligible post-graduate certificate holders must show occupation/work experience is related to their prior post-secondary field of study outside CanadaEligible post-graduate certificate holders must show occupation/work experience is related to their prior post-secondary field of study outside CanadaEligible post-graduate certificate holders must show occupation/work experience is related to their prior post-secondary field of study outside Canada

Alberta Express Entry Stream
The Alberta Express Entry Stream allows the province of Alberta to nominate a limited number of candidates from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Express Entry system. These are the candidates who have demonstrated strong ties to Alberta or who can help support the government’s economic development and diversification priorities.  International graduates from Canadian post-secondary institutions may also be asked to submit an application under this stream.

Only candidates who are asked to submit an application to the Alberta Express Entry Stream are considered.

Candidates will be contacted directly by the AINP and must receive a notification of interest before they are able to submit an application under the Alberta Express Entry Stream.

Based on available profile information of the applicants  in the Express Entry portal, Alberta selects candidates and send them a Notification of Interest letter in their federal Express Entry profile. You may receive a Notification of Interest letter if you:

  • Have an active Express Entry profile in the federal Express Entry pool
  • Have stated an interest in immigrating permanently to Alberta

Having one or more of the following adaptability factors increases your chances of receiving a Notification of Interest letter:

  • Alberta job offer and/or work experience
  • A graduate of a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • A relative that is living in Alberta: parent, child, brother and/or sister

If you meet one or more of the following factors, this may decrease your likelihood of receiving a Notification of Interest letter:

  • Your Express Entry profile expires in 3 months or less

The Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream is managed by the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) in close collaboration with the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, and targets applicants with farm management skills and sufficient financial resources to invest in a farming business in Alberta.
Requirements

To qualify under the Self-Employed Farmer Stream, the applicant must meet the following criteria:

Farm management skills
Applicants must prove that they have farm management skills.
Proof of this may include, but is not limited to:

  1. Financial documentation of an existing farm business
  2. Documentation of education, training and work experience
  3. A proposed business plan for the farming enterprise you are considering in Alberta
  4. Proof that a Canadian financial institution is willing to finance your proposed farming business

Financial resources
Applicants must be able to invest a minimum of CDN $500,000 of equity in a primary production farming business in Alberta. Documents must be provided that show a minimum net worth of CDN $500,000 or confirmation of the ability to access to a similar amount of funds from other sources. This is the basic requirement and applicants may be required to show the ability to invest more than the minimum requirement.

Primary production investment

Applicants must document their investment plans in a proposed business plan.

Applications representing the best opportunity for growth relevant to Alberta’s agri-food targets will be given priority.

The following individuals are not eligible to apply under the AINP Self-Employed Farmer Stream:
Refugee claimants
Live-in caregivers currently living in Canada
Temporary foreign workers working and residing in a province other than Alberta
International students studying in Canada.