Alberta is one of the most popular destinations amongst Canadian immigrants, however, recently foreign-trained professionals have been experiencing problems with receiving accreditation due to unfair restrictions. Accreditation is a necessary part of the immigration process as it essentially confirms that the applicant’s skills are certified according to Canadian standards. This has cast some doubt amongst some immigrants with regards to their opinion of Alberta Immigration department.
Labour Minister, Jason Copping, recently commented: “We've heard from many newcomers who are underemployed and unable to contribute to our economy at their skill level. All too often this is because they are waiting for months, even years, for their credentials to be recognized.''
The Government has recognized how this negatively impacts the economy of the province and has recently proposed a bill which would assist in speeding up the accreditation process, by setting up a registration office to work with professional regulatory organizations in the region. The primary objective of the bill is to ensure that fair practices are implemented, more specifically that initial decisions are made within 6 months of application, with the final accreditation time period yet to be defined. The bill would cover a variety of occupations, such as doctors, nurses, engineers, lawyers, accountants, architects, pharmacists, dentists, psychologists, paramedics, social workers, veterinarians, and electricians. Pending the approval of the bill, the start date for the program is estimated to be the end of 2019. Applicants hoping to move to Alberta can now rest assured that their applications will no longer be hindered. But how does one go about applying for immigration to Alberta?
How Do I Immigrate to Alberta?
There are many routes that you could take to immigrate to Alberta but perhaps the most popular option is the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). The AINP aims to recruit aptly skilled individuals with relevant work experience. Once the application has been approved and you have received a Provincial Nomination (PN) from the province, the application for permanent residence, which is subject to medical, criminal, federal and security checks, can begin. This will also allow your partner or spouse and children to apply for permanent residency. A PN can be obtained from one of the following programs:
- Self-Employed Farmer Stream; or
- Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS)
These streams have been fast-tracked by simplifying the process and adding more trade job streams. It is also no longer necessary to be nominated by your employer. There are however certain requirements which need to be met before applying for this program. Let’s take a closer look at what you need to get things started on your journey to Alberta.
The Self Employed Farmer Stream
The self-employed farmer stream was implemented to entice newcomers to immigrate to Alberta and start their own farms. Assessment is based on education (a completed high school certificate and a diploma equivalent to Alberta standards), work experience, language skills(Canadian Language Benchmark or CLB and Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique canadiens or NCLC, for which you will need a score of 5 for both) and available funds (ability to invest $500, 000 and have a net worth of/access to $500, 000). The annual income requirement will increase from $21, 883 to $23,3 92 in 2020 and 2021, so it might be best to take advantage of this amazing opportunity as soon as possible. You will also need to provide a proposed business plan.
Those who do not qualify for this stream are refugee claimants, individuals in the process of being removed from Canada; those employed as a caregiver in Canada; those who work as a Temporary Foreign Worker living outside of Alberta; or International Students in internship or co-op work placements in Canada.
The Alberta Opportunity Stream
In order to qualify for the Alberta Opportunity Stream, you will need to have full-time employment in Alberta in an accepted NOC (National Occupation Classification) as well as the following:
Residency and Work Permit
You must have temporary resident status in Canada to legally work in the country and a valid work permit for a valid NOC job. You are not eligible if you are a deportee or have refugee status.
You will need to be employed in Alberta in a job that is part of the AINP and has sufficient work experience in the field that you are applying for.
There are 2 language tests that need to be taken with specific score requirements, namely: Canadian Language Benchmark or CLB and Niveaux de Compétence Linguistique canadiens or NCLC, for which you will need a score of 5 for both. For job NOC codes, applicable for occupations such as nurses or orderlies, a score of at least 7 is required. Other test results required include the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Test, Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) and Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), General Test. It is important to note that these test results may not be older than 2 years when applying.
A certificate or a completed post-graduate certificate program, a diploma (at least a two-year duration), an undergraduate bachelor’s degree, graduate degree; graduate-level certificate or diploma is required. Note that as of January 2021, all non-Post Graduation Work Permit Holders will be required to complete a high school degree equivalent to Alberta education standards, so it might be a good idea to apply as soon as possible.
You will need to have enough funds to support you and your family at the time of application. This includes your spouse or common-law partner and your dependents, regardless of whether or not they will be immigrating with you. These funds refer to your gross annual income or your annual pay after tax deductions.
It is important that your work experience matches the job you applied for under the AINP. You will need one of the following:
- 12 months of full-time work experience in Alberta for an AINP accepted job within a period of 18 months;
- 24 months of full-time work experience in Canada within a period of 30 months; or
- Post Graduate Work Permit with six months full-time work experience within an 18 month period(This work experience must be related to your degree or field of study)
The Alberta Credential Program
The Alberta Credential Program requires that applicants work at least 30 hours a week, full-time, apply with the same job you qualified for and have temporary legal status in Canada as a permanent resident. If you gained this status while studying as an international student or through an international internship program you will need to hold a Post Graduation Work Permit, work at least 30 hours a week, full-time or have work experience in your occupation in Alberta. You will also need to have completed an Advanced Education Approved Post Graduate Certificate and have a job that relates to your studies. For more helpful information about the Alberta Opportunity Stream and it’s requirements, visit our blog here.
Why Immigrate to Alberta?
Alberta is one of the 3 prairie provinces of Canada with over 4 million people residing in 2 of its largest cities, Edmonton and Calgary. It provides a multitude of employment opportunities in the industrial and service industries, as well as in its prominent oil and gas sectors. Calgary not only has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation but the highest per capita earnings in Canada too, which makes it the perfect choice for those looking to make a change. With long, warm summer days, low humidity and relatively mild winters, outdoor activities are a popular pass time, whether it be to enjoy a leisurely stroll through scenic landscapes or go hiking in The Rocky Mountains. Edmonton is a truly green city, with over 22 parks and 150km of walking and hiking trails to choose from. It is also known as the sunniest city in Canada and despite its relatively extreme winters and summers, you won’t ever have to be concerned about natural disasters. Edmonton has earned the nickname of “festival city” as it hosts over 50 festivals and events each year, which means that there’s always something happening in Alberta.
The province has a high standard of living which is both affordable and accessible. It also has the added benefit of lower taxes, for example, the Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) and Provincial Sales Tax (PST) do not apply to Albertans. Albertans, across all income ranges, pay the lowest overall taxes when compared to other provinces. In other words, if Alberta had the same taxes and carbon charges as any other province in Canada, Albertans and Alberta businesses would pay at least $11.2 billion more in total taxes in 2019.
Alberta’s tax advantage - 2019(billions of dollars)
Source: Alberta Treasury Board and Finance
Premier Jason Kenney has also announced that corporate taxes are set to decrease from 12 per cent to 8 per cent over the next 4 years, which means that by 2022 the corporate tax rate will be 45% lower than the next highest tax rate in Canada, which makes it the perfect destination for business owners and investors. It also has a lower property tax rate as opposed to cities like Toronto or Montreal, which makes homeownership more affordable. A typical home in Calgary is half that of the average cost of real estate in Vancouver. Crime rates are low which means Alberta citizens can feel safe taking a night stroll.
It boasts an excellent education system which offers free public education to all citizens or permanent residents under the age of 20 years to complete their high school education. It also offers a publicly funded post-secondary education system with 26 institutions to choose from, with an average tuition fee of $5,700 per annum. There are however several programs aimed at assisting parents in paying for their children's tertiary education. As in all Canadian provinces and territories, universal, publicly funded healthcare is provided to all citizens and residents. This excludes certain procedures that are considered to be unnecessary, such as some dental procedure or elective surgeries.
Alberta has a vibrant global culture which has been influenced not only by its history of frontier settlement and traditional farming but by its fusion of immigrant culture, which can be found in the cuisine, music and thriving art community of the province. Although 2 of the most favoured choices for newcomers are Calgary and Edmonton, another appealing option to consider is Claresholm, which is one of the 11 communities that have been selected as part of the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot.
So, in short, if you love good weather, exquisite scenic views, fantastic job opportunities, higher quality of living, lower taxes and free education and healthcare, then Alberta is the place for you. Let us help you start your journey towards permanent residency in Canada. Apply now to start your assessment and let one of our RCIC professionals assist you in your choice of over 60 programs.