Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)
Like PNPs in other provinces, The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) fast-tracks the permanent residence process of high-skilled foreign workers who can fill job shortages in areas of the province’s labour market in order to support its economic growth.
The AINP is employer-driven, meaning that Albertan employers apply to the program to recruit or retain employees (with exceptions). These companies must be incorporated or legally registered in Alberta or Canada, and operate in the province.
These high-skilled occupations typically fall within the Skill Type O, or Skill Levels A or B of the National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.
Note: if the applicant does not have an employer or job offer, the applicant cannot apply to the AINP. This would include refugees who cannot apply here under humanitarian grounds.
There are several streams under which a skilled worker can apply. First, decide which stream is most appropriate.
Employer-Driven Stream: International Graduate Stream
Apply here if the applicant recently graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and has secured a permanent, full-time job offer related to the applicant’s field of study from an Alberta employer in a skilled occupation (NOC 0, A, B). The educational program must have lasted at least two (2) years at the undergraduate level or a minimum of one (1) year at the graduate level. Further, the applicant must be employed with his/her Albertan employer on a post-graduate Work Permit for at least six (6) months in a skilled occupation related to his/her field of study prior to applying to the AINP.
In all, expect at least 10 months for the application to be processed.
Strategic Recruitment Stream: Compulsory Trades Category
Apply here if the applicant has successfully completed the Qualification Certificate Program with Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) and holds both the Qualification Certificate for the Compulsory Trade and, most importantly, a letter of invitation from AIT allowing the applicant to apply to this category. The applicant receives this when he/she successfully completes the Qualification Certificate examination(s) for the Compulsory Trade.
Foreign nationals who currently reside in Alberta and possess an Alberta Qualification Certificate in a Compulsory Trade may be eligible to apply without an application from an Alberta employer.
The applicant must be able to show that he/she is either currently or in the past two years has been working for an Alberta employer in their trade. Also, the applicant must prove that he/she intends to live in Alberta permanently.
If AINP approves the application, then the applicant becomes a Provincial Nominee. The AINP will then advise him/her on how to proceed with the applicant’s permanent residence application.
Expect at least seven (7) months for the application to be processed.
Strategic Recruitment Stream: Engineering Occupations Category
The applicant must have education and training as an engineer, designer, or drafter, and possess Alberta work experience in an eligible AINP engineering occupation. Foreign nationals with credentials as engineers, designers, or drafters can apply to the AINP without an application from an Alberta employer.
The applicant must demonstrate that they currently reside in Alberta and intend to live here permanently. The applicant also needs to prove their related education, training and experience as an engineer, designer, or drafter. If the applicant holds engineering credentials provide a “Letter of No Objection” from the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists, and Geophysicists of Alberta (APEGGA) or demonstrate the applicant’s registered with APEGGA as a foreign licensee.
Further, the applicant need to document that they’re currently (or have worked) within the last two years in Alberta directly or on contract for a recognized, reputable and well-established Alberta engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) company, and/or Albertan firm that’s a member of the Consulting Engineers of Alberta. Also, the applicant must prove that they intend to live in Alberta permanently. Finally, the applicant’s occupation must be on the AINP Strategic Recruitment Stream – Engineering Occupations List.
If AINP approves the application, then the applicant becomes a Provincial Nominee. The AINP will then advise the applicant on how to proceed with their permanent residence application. In all, expect at least seven (7) months for the application to be processed.
Strategic Recruitment Stream: U.S Visa Holder Category
To be eligible, the applicant must be currently working in the United States on a valid temporary skilled worker visa in an occupation that’s in demand in Alberta. Those in certain visa categories can apply to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) without an application from an Alberta employer.
Valid visas include those in one of the following temporary skilled worker visa categories: H1-B, H1-B1, H-1C and E-3. The applicant must have worked a minimum of one (1) year in the United States in one of these categories, and their current occupation must be on the AINP Occupations Under Pressure List for the Strategic Recruitment Stream – U.S. Visa Holder Category. (Note that this list is regularly updated to reflect Alberta’s current labour market needs.) Lastly, the applicant must prove their intention to live permanently in Alberta.
If AINP approves the application, then the applicant becomes a Provincial Nominee. The AINP will then advise the applicant on how to proceed with their permanent residence application. In all, expect at 12 months for the application to be processed.
Apply here if the applicant has a relative in Alberta who could help him/her live and work in Alberta permanently. Family members include: Parent, Child, Brother, Sister, Aunt, Uncle, Niece or Nephew, but not a Cousin. Step-relatives or half-relatives are eligible if the applicant can clearly demonstrate a blood connection. The relative must have been living in Alberta for the past two years without interruption (i.e. moved to another province then moved back to Alberta).
Common examples of official documents which may help prove a family relationship include: Birth Certificates, Adoption Documents, Citizenship Documents, Passports, and/or Family Register Documents. Unfortunately, a legal affidavit would not count.
The applicant must be between the ages of 21 and 45 at the time of application.
The AINP will accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS, general or academic version) or Test d’evaluation de français (TEF) results as proof of English or French fluency.
For self-employed applicants, managing or owning their own business in their home country counts as work experience. Of course, the applicant has to document this.
Also eligible are those already in Canada on a study permit/Work Permit.
On September 14, 2009, several changes were made to the application process of the Family Stream, including:
- the applicant’s relative must now provide a Settlement Plan that outlines how he/she would help him/her find housing and work in his/her field
- the applicant’s relative can no longer prove on their behalf that they have sufficient funds to move to Alberta; instead, the applicant must prove this
- the applicant or spouse/common-law partner must demonstrate that the applicant completed a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate program of at least two, not one, year’s duration
- the applicant or spouse/common-law partner must prove that they have worked at least three of the past four years full-time, with work that is related to their post-secondary degree; in other words, AINP wants to see a direct connection between the applicant’s studies and work
In all, expect at least 36 months for the application to be processed.
Self-Employed Farmer Stream
Apply here if the applicant is a farm owner or operator with proven management skills and financial resources to run a farming business in Alberta.
The applicant should present documentation detailing the applicant’s existing farm operation, education, training and work experience; a business plan explaining their proposed Alberta farm; proof that a Canadian financial institution will finance at least C$500,000 of equity into the farm; and documentation to prove that the applicant has a minimum net worth of C$500,000 or can access that amount from other sources.
Basically, the applicant must prove that they have the financing to sustain a farming operation. This amount may exceed the minimum investment as specified under the Farmer AINP category.
Finally, successful AINP candidates must pass federal health, criminal and security checks before receiving their immigration visa.
Employer-Driven Stream: Skilled Worker Category
English as a Second Language Guidelines
For the Hotel and Lodging, Manufacturing & Trucking Industries
- A Candidate competent in listening, speaking, reading and writing English shall be exempt from English as a Second Language (ESL) training. A Candidate who’s not competent shall undergo training.
- The Candidate shall have their English language capability assessed upon arrival and once again prior to nomination to demonstrate progress. The Employer shall be responsible for paying the cost of two assessments (additional assessments above this limit shall be the responsibility of the Candidate). Employers must ensure that initial and subsequent testing is performed through the same assessment service or provide an identical method of assessment.
- An Employer shall provide the Candidate with an in-house ESL program or cover the cost of the ESL training. For in-house ESL programs the Employer shall establish a program that contains language and essential skills used in their company and incorporates some traditional settlement and integration themes.
- The in-house ESL program shall only be taught by certified ESL teachers.
- An Employer shall ensure that each Candidate participates in ESL training for a minimum of six hours per week regardless of work schedules. Participation shall be on employee time. However, the Employer shall supply and pay for teachers, materials and classrooms. Participation in the ESL program shall begin within sixty days of the arrival of the Candidate and continue for the duration of the Work Permit.
- A representative from the Government of Alberta may audit compliance to these conditions on a periodic basis.
Failure to comply with these conditions/requirements may result in three possible scenarios:
- The issuing of a warning letter by the Government of Alberta indicating that immediate correction of the problem is required.
- A reduction of the Employer’s allocation request.
- The cancellation or ineligibility of the Employer’s allocation