Canada has a variety of immigration programs each with different application and eligibility requirements.
Canadian citizens and permanent residents can move freely within Canada.
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Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program is an economic immigration program that nominates people for permanent residence in Alberta. Nominees must have skills and abilities to fill job shortages in Alberta, and be able to provide for their families. The program is operated by the Alberta government in collaboration with the federal government. Available streams include the Alberta Opportunity Stream, Alberta Express Entry Stream and the Self-Employed Farmer Stream.
Alberta Express Entry Stream
The Alberta Express Entry Stream allows 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.
Candidates who have demonstrated strong ties to Alberta or who can help support the government’s economic development and diversification priorities may be asked to submit an application. International graduates will also be considered under this stream.
Candidates will be contacted directly by the AINP and must receive a notification of interest before they are able to submit an application under the Alberta Express Entry Stream.
You cannot use a nomination under a different AINP stream to apply under the Alberta Express Entry Stream or the federal Express Entry system.
Canada Express Entry
Express Entry is an electronic system for managing permanent residence applications under the following existing immigration programs, 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.
Business Immigration Program
This program provides entrepreneurs, investors and self-employed people from other countries with pathways to permanent residence.
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.
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 able to live, work and study in Alberta. The Family Sponsorship Program is run by the Government of Canada.
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. The Caregiver Program is run by the Government of Canada.
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.
IRCC does not consider cost and inconvenience to be an excessive hardship.
Some things to think about
- If you are planning to immigrate to Canada using Express Entry, you may need an Education Credential Assessment (ECA)
- An ECA is required for some applicants to the Alberta Express Entry Stream and can help streamline the assessment process for all applicants to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.
- Once you are in Alberta, you may be able to use your ECA when looking for jobs. Check with employers to determine if you need another assessment.
- If you are planning to study in Alberta you may need a different assessment.
- International Qualifications Assessment Service (IQAS) can assess your educational credentials and compare them to Canadian standards.
- If you work in a regulated occupation or trade, learn more about Alberta requirements.
- Improve your English language skills before arriving.
- You don’t need to hire an immigration representative or lawyer to help you with your immigration application.
- All the forms and information that you need to apply to immigrate to Alberta are free. If you decide to use a representative, be aware that the Government of Canada may still contact you directly about your application. You must fill out a form saying that you are using a representative or your application may be declined. Use the proper form for the program you are applying for:
- Information about use of a representative is included in the AINP Alberta Opportunity Stream form and Alberta Express Entry form
- 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.
- For more information, refer to the section on internet, email and telephone scams on IRCC’s website.
- Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) requires a certified translation.
- Provide a certified translation with any documents that are not in English or French and submit your documents with copies of the original documents. Visit the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Alberta (ATIA) to find a certified translator in Canada.
- Find your National Occupational Classification (NOC) code.
- The NOC system, developed by the Government of Canada, classifies every job in Canada and assigns it a 4-digit NOC code. Your NOC code will determine your eligibility to apply to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) and certain federal immigration programs. Watch our NOC tutorial video to learn more.
- Gather important documents to bring with you, including:
- valid passports
- immigration documents
- work reference letters
- school/university transcripts
- Arrange to get health insurance.
- You will need to get health insurance before you leave. Gather your medical and immunization records and get copies of any prescriptions.
- Learn about resources for newcomers.