There are a variety of immigration programs and paths you can take to move to Alberta. They each have different application and eligibility requirements. Once you become a permanent resident or Canadian citizen you can move freely within Canada.

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    Opportunity Alberta guide

    Available in 15 languages, the guide will help you learn about moving to Alberta for a short time and about ways of making the province your home.

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Immigration options

There are federal (Government of Canada) immigration programs and provincial programs (Government of Alberta). In Alberta, the provincial program is called the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP). The Government of Alberta nominates individuals for permanent residence, but the federal government makes the final decision.

The AAIP is an economic immigration program that nominates people that can help meet the province’s needs for workers and entrepreneurs. Needs may change as Alberta’s economy changes.

All streams have a non-refundable application fee.

Provincial program – AAIP

The AAIP has several streams for individuals who are working or intend to work in Alberta, as well as for entrepreneurs interested in establishing or operating a business in the province. Eligibility differs for each stream.

Streams for workers

Available streams for those who are working or intend to work in Alberta are:

  • Alberta Opportunity Stream

    This stream is for temporary foreign workers who are already working full-time in Alberta and have a full-time job offer or employment contract from an Alberta employer in an eligible occupation. Candidates must have a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or hold one of the accepted LMIA exemption work permits.

    Other minimum eligibility criteria must be met for residency and work permit, occupation, language, education, and work experience.

    Learn more about the Alberta Opportunity Stream

  • Alberta Express Entry Stream

    This stream allows the Government of Alberta to nominate a limited number of qualified candidates from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s Express Entry system. Candidates cannot apply directly to the Alberta Express Entry Stream. Only candidates who have an Express Entry profile with the Government of Canada and receive a Notification of Interest letter from AAIP in the Express Entry mailbox are able to apply.

    Learn more about the Alberta Express Entry Stream

    Accelerated Tech Pathway

    A pathway under the Alberta Express Entry Stream is the Accelerated Tech Pathway. This pathway provides expedited processing to foreign workers who are currently working for, or have a job offer with, an Alberta-based tech industry employer in an eligible tech occupation. You must have an active Express Entry profile in the federal Express Entry pool with a minimum Comprehensive Ranking System Score of 300.

    Learn more about the Alberta Express Entry – Accelerated Tech Pathway

    You cannot use a nomination issued under a different Alberta Advantage Immigration Program stream or the previous AINP stream to apply under the Alberta Express Entry Stream or the federal Express Entry system.

  • Rural Renewal Stream

    This stream is for rural Alberta communities (population less than 100,000). Communities collaborate with an Economic Development Organization, local employers, and a Settlement Providing Organization to apply to the Government of Alberta for a Community Designation. Communities must be designated to participate in this stream. The community is responsible for attracting, recruiting, and settling immigrants into their community.

    Individuals interested in this stream for immigration must be selected by a designated community and receive an endorsement letter before applying to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program. Individuals interested in the stream will need to contact the designated community directly.

    Learn more about the Rural Renewal Stream

Streams for entrepreneurs

  • Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

    This stream is for international graduates of approved Alberta post-secondary institutions who want to start a business or buy an existing business.

    Learn more about the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

    Interested and prospective applicants may contact Entrepreneur Support Service (ESS) if you have questions or need help with your application.

    Email: [email protected]

  • Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

    This stream is for talented recent foreign graduates from around the world who have the skills and financial means to launch an innovative start-up enterprise in Alberta.

    Learn more about the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

    Interested and prospective applicants may contact Entrepreneur Support Service (ESS) if you have questions or need help with your application.

    Email: [email protected]

  • Rural Entrepreneur Stream

    This stream is for entrepreneurs with the skills and financial means to start a new business or buy an existing business in rural Alberta with the support of the community.

    Learn more about the Rural Entrepreneur Stream

    Contact Entrepreneur Support Service (ESS) if you have questions or need help with your application.

    Email: [email protected]

  • Farm Stream

    This stream is for experienced farmers who plan to buy or start a farm in Alberta. Individuals that are interested in this stream will need to provide documentation that they have farm management skills and sufficient financial resources to invest a minimum of $500.000 Canadian of equity in a primary farming business in Alberta.

    Learn more about the Farm Stream

    Interested and prospective applicants may contact Entrepreneur Support Service (ESS) if you have questions or need help with your application.

    Email: [email protected]

Federal programs

The Government of Canada oversees all immigration to the country.

Additional programs may be available to you through the federal website.

  • Canada Express Entry

    Express Entry is an electronic management system for permanent residence applications run by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).

    To access Express Entry, candidates must first complete a profile which demonstrates how they meet the criteria of one of the economic federal immigration programs (Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program, or Federal Skilled Trades Program).

    Once complete, the candidate will be scored using a ranking system. The highest ranked candidates will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence from IRCC. Under Express Entry, candidates do not apply for permanent residence until they are invited to do so.

    Use the Come to Canada Tool to determine if you are eligible.

  • Immigration pilot programs

    Rural and Northern immigration pilot

    This pilot program is a community-driven program to help spread the benefits of economic immigration to smaller communities by creating a path to permanent residence for skilled foreign workers who want to work and live in one of the participating communities.

    Agri-food pilot

    The Agri-food Pilot helps address the labour needs of the Canadian agri-food sector. The pilot provides a pathway to permanent residence for experienced, non-seasonal workers in specific industries and occupations.

  • Business immigration programs

    These programs provide entrepreneurs and self-employed people from other countries with pathways to permanent residence.

    Start-up visa

    If you have an innovative business idea or venture, you can apply for a Start-Up Visa. Your venture must be supported by a designated organization.

    Get the support of a designated organization

    Self-employed persons program

    If you intend to be self-employed in Alberta you can apply for the Self-Employed Persons Program. You must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics.

  • Family Sponsorship Program

    The Family Sponsorship Program enables Canadian citizens or permanent residents to sponsor relatives to become permanent residents with the ability to live, work and study in Alberta.

  • Caregiver Program

    The Caregiver Program is for caregivers who provide child care or home support for seniors or people with disabilities. People who work as a caregiver in Canada for 2 years can apply for permanent residence under this program.

  • Refugee resettlement

    The Refugee and Humanitarian Resettlement Program is for people in need of protection who are outside of Canada and their home country. It also provides opportunities for people to sponsor refugees.

    Refugees must have left their home country or country where they usually live. They must be unable to return home because of a fear of persecution, or are seriously affected by civil war or armed conflict.

    A refugee is different from an immigrant. An immigrant is a person who chooses to settle permanently in another country. Refugees are forced to flee.

    Refugees must be able to eventually establish themselves in Canada and must also pass medical, security and criminal screenings.

  • Other immigration pathways

    If you are in Canada, and would suffer from excessive hardship if you had to return to your home country to apply, you might qualify for humanitarian and compassionate considerations.

    If you are in Canada on a valid temporary resident permit, you may be able to apply for permanent residence under the permit holder class if you were deemed inadmissible to Canada.

Things to think about

Here are some things to think about as you start your immigration journey:

If you are planning to immigrate or study in Alberta you may need to have your education credentials assessed.

  • International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) is one of several assessment agencies in Canada that can assess your completed educational credentials and compare them to educational standards in Canada.
  • If you are applying to Canada using Express Entry, you may need an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).
  • An ECA is required for some candidates applying under the Alberta Express Entry Stream and can help streamline the assessment process for all candidates applying under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program.
  • Check with the educational institution you plan to study with to find out what they require before you complete an ECA for educational purposes.

You do not need to hire an immigration representative or lawyer to help you with your immigration application.

  • If you use an immigration representative or lawyer, your application will not be processed faster. You are responsible for the content in your application.
  • All the information you need to apply to immigrate to Alberta is free, however there is an application fee. If you decide to use a representative, be aware the Governments of Canada and Alberta may still contact you directly about your application. Use the proper form for the program you are applying for.
  • Information about the use of a representative is available on the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program page.
  • Only authorized representatives can charge a fee for their services. Before you pay anyone a fee, check their credentials to make sure they are authorized. Processing fees are the same at all Canadian visa offices.

Beware of Internet scams and false websites.

The AAIP requires a certified translation.

Find your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code.

  • The National Occupational Classification (NOC) is Canada’s national system for describing occupations. Use the NOC to help you determine if your work experience is eligible under immigration or work permit programs.  On November 16, 2022, the Government of Canada will switch to using the 2021 version of the NOC for its programs.  These changes include replacing the NOC 2016 skill type and skill level structure (NOC 0, A, B, C and D) to a 6-category system representing the training, education, experience and responsibilities (TEER) needed to work in an occupation.
  • To understand how the change to the 2021 version of the NOC affects your occupation please visit - National Occupation Classification 2021.
  • The NOC 2016 system is still in use up to and including November 15, 2022. For more information on the NOC 2016 system, please visit - Find your NOC.


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