In order to create new businesses and job creators in high-demand industries, Alberta’s government is launching two new immigration pathways to attract investment, create new high-paying jobs for Albertans, diversify the economy and encourage international graduates to launch businesses here in Alberta.

“We want the best and brightest talent from around the world to come to Alberta. We’ve heard loud and clear from our technology sector that access to skilled workers has been a challenge. This announcement is a big step towards addressing this talent gap, encouraging the entrepreneurial spirit of newcomers, and helping grow the companies that will diversify our economy.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation

These new streams will support Alberta’s recovery by attracting international job creators and skilled professionals to start businesses and get Albertans back to work.

Starting Oct. 26, recent international graduates from Alberta’s universities and colleges can apply to the new International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream to launch business ventures and startups in Alberta.

In January, Alberta will also launch the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream to attract talented international graduates from top U.S. universities and colleges to start businesses and settle in Alberta communities.

“We are taking bold actions and delivering on our commitment to attract newcomers who will start businesses, invest, and create jobs for Albertans. These actions will help strengthen our economy and let us take advantage of untapped talent by making it easier for international graduates to put their ideas to work here in Alberta.”

Jason Copping, Minister of Labour and Immigration

Combined, these programs will provide new tools to grow Alberta’s tech sector and attract new investments that will create new high-paying jobs.

“With these policies, the Government of Alberta is creating an environment that will allow our tech and innovation ecosystem to flourish, attract more investment and create new opportunities for all Albertans. This is a smart strategic approach and another step forward in our economic recovery.”

Mary Moran, president and CEO, Calgary Economic Development

“Our growth and innovation is fuelled by the leaders of future generations and we are competing globally to attract and retain the brightest young minds. We need to continue to find solutions, like these two new immigrations streams, to help strengthen our economy and create new jobs for all Albertans.”

Chris Simair, managing director, Harvest Builders

“Attracting globally competitive talent is one of the keys to Alberta's ability to continue to grow Alberta's tech sector. Leveraging the strength of Alberta's universities and colleges and connecting graduates to this entrepreneurial vision will build more connections between higher education and our economy.”

Joseph Doucet, dean, University of Alberta School of Business

“I am delighted we are fulfilling our commitment to launch the new International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream for students who have graduated from Alberta’s post-secondary institutions. This will allow graduates to create jobs and opportunities, not only for themselves, but for all Albertans in communities across the province.”

Muhammad Yaseen, parliamentary secretary of Immigration

Information on eligibility requirements and the application process for the new immigration stream can be found at alberta.ca/opportunity.

Changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program

Alberta’s government is limiting the number and types of jobs available to new temporary foreign workers – making jobs available to unemployed Albertans. 

As of Nov. 1, dozens of additional occupational categories will be added to the “refusal to process list,” removing the vast majority of occupations from the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) Program. This will result in more than 1,350 available jobs for unemployed Albertans at a time when they’re needed most.

Alberta is using its authority under the Canada-Alberta Labour Market Pilot of the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration and has reached an agreement with the federal government. These changes will impact 475 occupations in sectors such as accommodation and food services, retail trade, transportation, construction, and professional, scientific and technical services.

A small number of specialized occupations experiencing acute and proven labour shortages will be exempted. These changes will not impact employers recruiting for select occupations in the agriculture, technology and caregiving sectors that heavily rely on temporary foreign workers to fill employment gaps.

Alberta will monitor and adjust the province’s “refusal to process list” quarterly and work with industry experts, businesses, post-secondary institutions, municipalities and organizations as economic conditions improve.

Together, the new streams and changes to the TFW program balance the need to get unemployed Albertans back to work in available jobs while keeping educated and talented entrepreneurs in Alberta to build job-creating businesses.

Alberta’s Recovery Plan is a bold, ambitious long-term strategy to build, diversify, and create tens of thousands of jobs now. By building schools, roads and other core infrastructure we are benefiting our communities. By diversifying our economy and attracting investment with Canada’s most competitive tax environment, we are putting Alberta on a path for a generation of growth. Alberta came together to save lives by flattening the curve and now we must do the same to save livelihoods, grow and thrive.

Quick facts

New immigration programs:

  • In 2018-2019, Alberta was home to more than 25,000 international students enrolled in publicly funded post-secondary institutions.
  • The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration and Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa streams are part of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) – an economic immigration program administered by the Government of Alberta and Government of Canada that nominates individuals for permanent residence in Alberta.

Temporary foreign workers:

  • Current TFWs working in Alberta are not affected by these changes.
  • The changes do not impact 27 occupations in the following sectors:
    • Agriculture
    • Caregiver
    • Technology – such as computer and information systems, software, and information technology
    • Emergency response – such as firefighter and chief, water bomber pilot, and helicopter pilot

Additional quotes

“Alberta’s competitiveness in the technology sector depends heavily on the talent pool that we can provide. These two new programs are additional tools for Alberta entrepreneurs to more quickly and easily access recently graduated tech talent, and will also work to attract dynamic international entrepreneurs to establish their technology and innovation startup in Alberta. As Alberta continues to evolve and diversify its economy, creating easier pathways for people to establish roots in Alberta and build companies is essential.”

Adam Legge, president, Business Council of Alberta

“When an international student leaves their home to study in Canada, they are taking a bold risk and investing in their future. Alberta is made stronger when we attract these students and even more so when we encourage them to stay, start families, and contribute to our society and economy. We applaud these programs for opening pathways for entrepreneurs to invest in Alberta, create jobs, and grow their companies.”

Malcolm Bruce, CEO, Edmonton Global

“The future of work we had imagined far on the horizon is now here and we need to compete for the talent and skills to succeed in all sectors of our economy. By encouraging international graduates to launch businesses here in Alberta, the Government of Alberta is building a robust labour force and resiliency for our businesses and our communities.”

Murray Sigler, interim CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce 

“Access to the best and brightest technology professionals is a challenge globally. Initiatives that encourage talented professionals to come to Alberta, and to remain in Alberta, will help us build global champions here, allowing us to enhance, accelerate, and diversify our economic recovery.”

Irfhan Rawji, founder and CEO, MobSquad
Alberta's Recovery Plan

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