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.
There are federal (Government of Canada) immigration programs and provincial programs (Government of Alberta). In Alberta, the provincial program is called the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). The Government of Alberta nominates individuals for permanent residence, but the federal government makes the final decision on who becomes a permanent resident.
The AINP is an economic program, so Alberta nominates people that can help meet the province’s needs for workers and entrepreneurs. The types of workers and entrepreneurs Alberta needs may change as the province’s economy changes.
Provincial Program – AINP
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) has several streams for individuals who are working or intend to work in Alberta, as well as for entrepreneurs interested in establishing 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.
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 AINP in the Express Entry mailbox are able to apply.
You cannot use a nomination issued under a different AINP stream to apply under the Alberta Express Entry Stream or the federal Express Entry system
Streams for entrepreneurs
Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream
This stream is for international graduates of approved Alberta post-secondary institutions who want to start a business or buy an existing business.
Interested and prospective applicants may contact Entrepreneur Support Service (ESS) if you have questions or need help with your application.
Email: [email protected]
Self-Employed Farmer Stream
This stream is for individuals who have the financial resources and farm management experience to purchase and establish a farm in Alberta.
The Government of Canada oversees all immigration to the country.
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.
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.
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 with the ability to live, work and study in Alberta.
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 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.
Additional programs may be available to you through the federal website.
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 credential(s) 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 Immigrant Nominee Program.
- If you are planning to study in Alberta you may need a different assessment. Check with the education institution you plan to study with what they require prior to completing 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. 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 the use of a representative is available on the Alberta Immigration Nominee 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.
- 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.