2022-05-06T09:07:11-04:00September 14th, 2021|

How to apply for the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP)

Last updated: 17 January 2022

 

Every year, Canada welcomes newcomers looking to work, settle down, and contribute to the community. Alberta, the fourth-largest province in Canada, is a popular choice for newcomers. It is home to Canada’s oil, mining, and natural gas industries. In addition, the province also has robust construction, finance, insurance, and agriculture industries. Alberta’s population is around four million people and its two most popular cities are Edmonton and Calgary

Depending on your work experience and education level, there are several ways to immigrate to Canada and become a permanent resident (PR). One way is through the Provincial Nominee Program (PNP). Individuals looking to live and work in Alberta can apply through the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) (formerly Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). Here is what you need to know about how the program works and how to apply. 

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Overview of Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) 

The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) offers permanent residence to individuals who have the necessary skills to fill the province’s job shortages or plan to start a business in Alberta. 

Each PNP program varies and the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) is different from those of other provinces and territories. AAIP doesn’t reward individuals with specific occupations or skills. Instead, Alberta provides a list of occupations that are NOT eligible for the AAIP.

There are five streams newcomers can take to apply for the AAIP:

  1. Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS): for foreign workers who plan to or are already living in Alberta and have a job offer from an Alberta employer.
  2. Alberta Express Entry Stream: for qualified candidates with an Express Entry profile. 
    • In January 2022, the government of Alberta introduced the Accelerated Tech Pathway under the Express Entry stream, for candidates who are currently working with or have a job offer from an Alberta-based tech employer.
  3. International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS): for international graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions who wish to start a business or buy an existing one. 
  4. Self-Employed Farmer Stream: for experienced farmers who wish to buy or start a farm in Alberta. 
  5. Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS): for foreign graduates who wish to establish a start-up and apply for permanent residence in Alberta. 

How to qualify for an Alberta PR nomination through AAIP

Depending on your qualifications, education, work experience, or entrepreneurial skills, there are multiple streams under AAIP that individuals can apply for. 

Requirements for categories under streams for workers

Stream Criteria Mandatory requirements
Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) 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.
  • Must work in an eligible occupation. Most occupations under the National Occupation Classification (NOC) skill 0, A, B C and D are eligible under AAIP, with some exceptions
  • Applicants must have a temporary foreign worker permit
  • Applicants on a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) must be in an occupation related to their field of study in Alberta 
  • Job offer must be signed by an Alberta employer and offer full-time, continuous, paid employment for 12 months or more
  • Job must be in applicant’s current occupation
  • Salary must meet provincial minimum wage 
  • Minimum 12 months full-time work experience in current occupation in Alberta within past 18 months or minimum 24 months full-time work experience in current occupation anywhere in the world, including Canada, within past 30 months
  • PGWP holders require minimum 6 months full-time work experience in current occupation in Alberta within past 18 months
  • For NOC skill level 0, A or B minimum language skill level of 5 in French or English
  • For NOC skill level C or D minimum language skill level of 4 in English or French
  • For NOC 3413 minimum language skill level of 7 in English or French 
  • Completed a minimum of the equivalent of Alberta high school education (except for PGWP holders)
Alberta Express Entry Stream For qualified candidates from the IRCC Express Entry system to gain permanent residency in move to Alberta.

Note: Candidates cannot apply directly to this stream. Only those who receive a Notification of Interest from AAIP in their IRCC Express Entry profile can apply.

  • Are interested and able to live and work in Alberta
  • Work in an occupation that supports Alberta’s economic development 
  • Have a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score of 300

The following will increase your likelihood of being nominated:

  • An Alberta job offer and/or work experience 
  • A graduate of a Canadian post-secondary institution
  • Have a parent, child, and/or sibling who is a permanent resident or a Canadian citizen living in Alberta

For the Accelerated Tech Pathway (in addition to above mentioned Express Entry stream criteria):

  • Must be working with, or have a valid full-time job offer from, an Alberta-based tech company in one of 23 eligible occupation NOCs
  • Must complete and submit the Accelerated Tech Pathway form
  • Your primary occupation listed in your EE profile should be the same as your current Alberta employment or job offer
  • Must have valid immigration status (work permit or implied status) if you’re already working for an Alberta-based employer.

Requirements for categories under the streams for entrepreneurs

Stream Criteria Mandatory requirements
International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) Allows qualified international graduates from an Alberta post-secondary institution to establish or buy a business in Alberta and apply for permanent residence.
  • Must have completed at least two years full-time education from an Alberta publicly funded post-secondary institution
  • Have a PGWP valid for at least two years at time of submission
  • Minimum language benchmark level 7 for English or French
  • Establish or buy an existing valid business in Alberta with minimum 34 per cent ownership
  • Minimum six months full-time work experience of actively managing or owning a business or equivalent experience with a business incubator or entrepreneurship program course 
  • Work experience can be inside or outside of Canada

The following will increase your likelihood of receiving a request to submit:

  • Can provide economic benefit to Alberta in terms of: 
    • Job creation
    • Economic sector
    • Business location
    • Investment
    • Developing intellectual property
    • Business succession
    • Partnership or support from incubator or angel investor
  • Aged 21 to 49
  • Spouse has at least one year continuous full-time employment in Alberta, or completed at least two years post-secondary study in Alberta, or minimum language level of 5 in English or French 
  • You, or your spouse, have an immediate family living full-time in Alberta
Self-Employed Farmer Stream For entrepreneurs with the financial resources and farm management experience to establish a new or purchase an existing farm in Alberta. Must prove they have farm management skills through:

  • Financial documentation of existing farm business
  • Documents proving education, training, and work experience
  • Proposed business plan for farm enterprise 
  • Proof a Canadian financial institution will finance your farming business 
  • Invest a minimum of $500,000 CAD equity in a farming business in Alberta
  • Prove you have a net worth of a minimum of $500,000 CAD or the ability to access equivalent amount of funds from other sources
  • Submit documents with investment plans for proposed farming business
Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) For qualified foreign educated graduates outside of Canada who wish to launch a start-up  enterprise or innovative business in Alberta.
  • Minimum six months full-time work experience or combination of actively managing or owning a business or equivalent work experience with business incubator or accelerator 
  • Completed a post-secondary degree outside of Canada, equivalent of a Canadian degree,  within the last two years of time of submission
  • Business plan with projected financials
  • Pitch presentation that outlines proposed business venture and for a potential investor
  • Language skill level 7 in French or English
  • Minimum 34 per cent ownership in business in urban area or minimum 51 per cent ownership if located in regional area outside Calgary or Edmonton
  • Minimum investment level from personal equity or recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital or angel investor of at least $100,000 CAD for urban centre and $50,000 CAD for regional area
  • Letter of recommendation from an AAIP-approved designated agency 
  • Demonstrate funds needed to set up business and support themselves while launching start-up

Step-by-step application process for AAIP

To follow are the steps involved in applying for AAIP:

1. Confirm you qualify 

Once you have identified which stream you’d like to apply under, it’s important to make sure you meet all the mandatory requirements for that stream before completing your application. Your application will be declined if you do not meet the criteria. 

2. For the Alberta Express Entry stream only, applicants must submit a profile online through Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and meet the requirements for one of the following federal programs:

    1. Federal Skilled Worker Program
    2. Federal Skilled Trades Program
    3. Canadian Experience Class

You will then receive an Express Entry profile number and Job Seeker validation code. If you’ve expressed an interest in living in Alberta, your profile may be taken into consideration for the Alberta Express Entry stream.

If you’re interested in applying through the Accelerated Tech Pathway, you must also fill and submit the Accelerated Tech Pathway form. This form will collect information on your Alberta-based job offer or employment, as well as your federal Express Entry profile.

If you receive a Notification of Interest (NOI) letter from Alberta in your federal Express Entry profile, you must email a copy of the letter along with your Express Entry profile number to AAIP at lbr.pnpoffice@gov.ab.ca within two weeks of receipt of the NOI.

If you are selected to apply, AAIP will send you an email with a link to the AAIP portal.

3. Create a MyAlberta Digital ID (MADI) account

In order to submit your application online to AAIP, you first need to create an MADI account. This is a free online ID required to access Government of Alberta services online. 

4. Register with the AAIP

Regardless of which category you apply for, you’ll need to create a profile:

  1. Create a profile with AAIP online portal 
  2. Complete all sections of the registration
  3. Submit your registration online

Once you have completed your application, the AAIP portal will provide a list of documents you need to upload based on the information provided.

Tip: Read AAIP Portal Helpful Hints before beginning your application.

5. For International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) or Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) only

If you’re applying through the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) or Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS), you will first need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP portal and submit required documents. 

Note Icon  Note
An EOI is NOT an application. There is no guarantee that if you meet the selection requirements you will receive a letter of invitation or be asked to submit a Business Application.

Once your application has been reviewed, you may be asked to submit a Business Application package.

If the AAIP determines that you meet the program criteria, you will be invited for an interview where you’ll have to present your business plan and showcase how it meets the program requirements.

Upon selection, you will receive a Business Performance Agreement that you’ll need to sign. Following this, you’ll be given a 205(a) Letter of Support to apply for a two-year work permit and a Business Application Approval letter. 

You can then apply for a work permit and move to Alberta to establish your business. Only once you’ve satisfied all the conditions of your Business Performance Agreement can you apply to be nominated for permanent residency by the AAIP.

6. Pay an application fee 

Pay a non-refundable application fee of $500 CAD within 24-hours once your application has been submitted to the AAIP. 

7. Receive decision on your application

The AAIP will send a decision on your application by email. If your application is approved, you will become a Provincial Nominee and receive a nomination package by email with instructions on how to apply for permanent residence.

Tip: If your application is declined, you may submit a Request for Reconsideration

8. Apply for permanent residence

If your application is successful, the last step is to apply for permanent residence through IRCC. It will be up to the Government of Canada to make the final decision on your permanent residency. 

What happens after you get nominated under the AAIP

  1. Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS): You must apply for PR within six months after being nominated. The AAIP may also be able to extend your nomination, if required.
  2. Alberta Express Entry Stream: You will have 30 days to accept the nomination in your IRCC Express Entry profile. Once you receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA), you must apply for a PR within 60 days.
  3. Self-employed Farmer Stream: Your nomination is valid for six months and you must apply to IRCC for permanent residency during this time.
  4. International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) or Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS): You must apply for PR within six months or ask for an extension on your nomination. You must submit a Business Progress Report to the AAIP six months after receiving the nomination. You are also required to keep the AAIP informed about any changes to your personal circumstances.

Changes to AAIP due to COVID-19

There have been some changes to AAIP due to the COVID-19 pandemic. They include:

  • Candidates who lost their job or who are no longer able to meet the employment criteria after submitting an application to AAIP have up to six months from the date their application is assessed to find employment that meets AAIP criteria. This includes candidates who were unable to renew their work permit because of COVID-19.
  • Nominees no longer able to meet employee criteria have up to six months to find qualifying employment.
  • Applications will be put on hold for a maximum of six months. After that time, the AAIP will make a decision based on the information available and a candidate’s circumstances.
  • Changes to the Alberta EE stream means candidates who have an Alberta job offer or experience in an occupation that contributes to the province’s economic development may be selected for a NOI letter.
  • Candidates to the Alberta Opportunity Stream (AOS) who are working in a location not zoned for commercial or industrial use due to social distancing (e.g. at home) may be eligible for nomination. 
  • If a candidate under AOS is still working for their employer and continues to perform some job duties in their job description, they may be eligible if they can demonstrate they will be returning to their regular job duties after COVID-19.
  • For AOS candidates who changed employers to maintain employment during the pandemic and are working from home, their application will be placed on hold for up to six months to allow them to meet the criteria of the application. 
  • All candidates under AOS are eligible to apply even if they are working in an occupation the federal government refuses to process a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

For more information on program updates because of the pandemic, visit Changes due to COVID-19 on AAIP’s website. 

Where to get more information on AAIP

For more information on the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, visit the contact us page on the AAIP website. 

If you’re looking for information on your application for permanent residence, contact Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada online or at telephone 1-888-242-2100.  

The AAIP process may seem daunting, as there are a number of options and steps involved. However, if you follow the instructions provided by the provincial government and consult with authorized immigration representatives, you’ll be able to realize your dream of settling in Alberta.