The new Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program AINP Alberta Opportunities Stream and What you Need to Know

Last week, after signifying that changes were in the works at it for several months, significant changes were announced to the AINP. These changes essentially swept aside the “Employer Driven” and “Strategic Recruitment” streams replacing it with the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS). These changes to the AINP indicate a clear “Alberta first” attitude. If you fit the new cookie-cutter mold, you’re in luck. If you don’t, well…


What are these ideal profiles? One profile comprises graduates of Alberta DLI (and that too certain programs and remember these programs/credentials are subject to change, so someone that takes a program now assuming that it gives him/her access to the AINP/AOS in the future will need to pray that by the time they are eligible the program has not found disfavour from the powers that be) and not graduates from other provinces; these PGWP holders moreover need to be working for their Alberta employers for 6 months and need to show that their work is related to their studies – something that causes me some concern as this allows significant discretion into the equation. It is the end, I imagine, of business administration grads applying for permanent residency as food service supervisors or retail service/restaurant supervisors.


But -imagine the heartache and tears if, after tens of thousands of dollars of tuition, a hard working graduate with work experience in Alberta is denied, is found wanting by a stroke of a bureaucrat’s pen (and with limited avenues for redress)?. In my opinion, there is significant and unwarranted uncertainty here; perhaps international graduates may do well to look to other provinces before beginning their expensive studies in Canada.


Another preferred profile includes candidates with either the open IEC work permit (“working holiday”) and intra-company (highly skilled) transferees. This is clearly a nod towards the hotel/hospitality/tourism industry that employs many such individuals that may find settling down in Alberta desirable after working here for a year. Both hospitality and O&G employers however probably found navigating (and committing to a “permanent” job offer) the previous AINP requirements difficult. This is great for nationals of countries that are eligible for the IEC (all with populations displaying striking shortfall in melanin levels, by the way) -particularly tiny Ireland that has as many/more slots than all of England -and not so great for nationals of other countries (even those countries that make up the top 3-5 source countries for permanent residents to Canada).


The third preferred profile for the new Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) are those temporary foreign workers that are here on LMIA based work permits. The AINP has an interest in supporting those employers that have gone through the headache of obtaining a LMIA and supporting the permanent residency of those workers that were blessed by a work permit by CIC. Other than the ineligible list, all skill levels are allowed to access the program (providing that the foreign workers have been here working for 12 months minimum). Workers no longer need to be in thrall to employers either; employer support is not necessary. Workers will have to demonstrate a modicum of language proficiency.


Finally -and least of all- there is a chance that those left out (post graduate open work permit holders that have graduated from another province and working here; those from an Alberta DLI but with a non-qualifying program/credential; spouses of international students that have open work permits) that have been working in Alberta and have ties here to be selected under the new Alberta Express Entry (Alberta will select directly from the pool, so make sure you’ve indicated the province as the intended settlement destination). Alberta has limited slots -a little over 5500 in total-and I don’t know how many they are going to dedicate to selecting worthy candidates from the pool. Let’s call this the “hope and prayer” stream; most that find themselves in this position should be hedging their bets and looking to other provincial programs.


It’s too bad that family ties in Alberta didn’t make the cut in terms of criteria for selection and success under the new AOS. I would imagine that close, established family in Alberta would be an excellent gauge of an individual’s commitment to this Province.


Further, I’m not sure I would agree with the AINP characterization that these changes make the program “simpler”. The AINP is now much more of a square peg, square hole type of process. The bureaucrats have spoken and this is the final word (for now).