The Canadian province of Alberta announced the coming into effect of two new immigration streams on Thursday, June 14, one of which is a new Express Entry pathway to Canadian permanent residence.
The Alberta Immigrant Nomine Program (AINP) says the changes will provide many benefits for current and potential applicants, including international student graduates.
Alberta has the highest number of international students in the Canadian Prairies, with 26,255 studying there in 2017, according to Government of Canada data.
The AINP said the changes are designed to:
- simplify processes;
- reduce wait times; and
- provide fair access for applicants across all sectors and industries in Alberta.
Alberta Express Entry Stream
The now active Alberta Express Entry stream offers international students with a profile in the federal Express Entry system a route to Canadian permanent residence.
In reference to this new stream, the AINP announced that
Candidates who have demonstrated strong ties to Alberta and who can help support the government’s economic development and diversification priorities will be invited to apply. International graduates will also be invited under this stream.
In order to be considered under the Alberta Express Entry Stream, international students must first create an Express Entry profile and meet program requirements to enter the Express entry pool.
Alberta Opportunity Stream replaces Employer-Driven and Strategic Recruitment
The second stream that the AINP unveiled June 14 is the Alberta Opportunity Stream.
In order to become eligible for the Alberta Opportunity Stream, individuals must meet all eligibility requirements, which include residency language, education, work experience and income level requirements.
Even through the program is not exclusively designed for international students, the eligibility criteria welcome applications from individuals with sufficient language proficiency (CLB 4), high school level education, and work experience in the province.
To apply for the Alberta Opportunity Stream, international students will need to:
- show that they have at least six months of work experience in Alberta in an occupation related to their field of study (this is less than the requirement for other applicants).
- meet the same minimum language and income requirements as other applicants.
The Alberta Opportunity Stream requires applicants to be currently working full-time in Alberta in an occupation deemed eligible by the AINP.
Many international students interested in applying to this stream may already be working in the province on a Post-Graduation Work Permit, which remains valid for up to three years after graduation from a participating post-secondary institution.
The AINP says international students who graduated from an approved Alberta post-secondary institution and are working on a Post-Graduation Work Permit are eligible for the Alberta Opportunity Stream.
The AINP says international students holding a Post-Graduation Work Permit who completed their studies in other Canadian provinces are not eligible for the program.
What programs ceased?
Prior to the changes implemented on June 14, 2018, the AINP had two Canadian immigration categories dedicated to international student graduates in Canada under the now closed Employer Driven and Alberta Strategic Recruitment Streams.
- The International Graduate Category was designed for students who graduated from a Canadian post-secondary institution and have received a full-time, permanent job offer from an Alberta employer.
- The Post-Graduate Worker Category was designed for students residing in Alberta, who graduated from an eligible post-secondary educational institution in Alberta and who hold a Post-Graduation Work permit.
While applications to these categories and all other categories under the Employer Driven and Alberta Strategic Recruitment Streams are no longer being accepted, the AINP says applications to the streams that are post-marked on or before June 14 will be processed.
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