Canadian province of Alberta launches new immigration program
August 9, 2022
4 minutes read
The Western Canadian province of Alberta has launched a new immigration program for foreign technical workers called the Accelerated Tech Pathway. It was officially announced on January 13, 2022. It is assumed that now the processing time of applications from foreign labor personnel will not exceed 6 months.
Alberta Minister of Labour and Immigration Tyler Shandro said the program is aimed at rebuilding the province's economy after the pandemic. He also said it will give Canadian and international technicians as little as six months to get permanent residency if they have a job offer in an in-demand technology field.
The new program aims to speed up the processing of applications
Canadian immigration lawyer Stephen Green, a partner at Green and Spiegel LLP, questioned the reported processing times. He warned that delays could occur at the federal level. Green says the reason for Alberta's new program is that some people can't get into the Express Entry selection system and need provincial approval. Currently, the Government of Canada doesn't select qualified people at the federal level and restricts them from working in the country because of the large number of employees.
A program created by Alberta allows for a provincial selection process. Nevertheless, the final stage of processing applications takes place in the federal government, which may be related to the supposed delays.
Alberta plans to address staffing shortages in key technical areas
Canadian immigration consultant Christopher Willis said the new program is prioritizing jobs in key sectors of the province. The innovation, according to him, will allow the Alberta government to give preference to applicants in professions that are in short supply. Applicants will also have to go through a federal screening process to qualify for the permanent residence permit.
Willis added that this is a great opportunity for those employees in scarce occupations whose scores are too low to participate in Express Entry. Notably, since September 2021, only provincial Express Entry selections have been made. The consultant also noted that Alberta is not the only province inviting tech workers: British Columbia, Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador also have relevant immigration programs.
Increasing the popularity of investment in technology in Alberta
Minister Shandro expressed a desire to rebuild the province after the pandemic. In his view, the faster the jobs are filled by skilled and experienced workers, the sooner it will happen. The government, according to Shandro, is taking steps to make Alberta more attractive to tech-savvy workers.
Doug Schweitzer, provincial minister of labour, economic and innovation, said the program will help spur investment in technology. He said the fast-track immigration program will not only help attract talent from around the world, it will make Alberta a prime destination for technology investment, which will help diversify the economy.
Requirements for participants of the immigration program
Applicants for the new stream must first meet Alberta Express Entry Stream eligibility requirements. Applicants who meet the Canadian Experience Class, Federal Skilled Worker Program and Federal Skilled Trades Program requirements are also eligible to apply.
The second and key step is to obtain a job offer or sign a contract with an Alberta-based company in any of the 23 approved occupations. The list includes occupations such as engineer, developer, human resources manager, business management specialist and others.
If all conditions are met, applicants receive 600 points, which greatly increases their overall Express Entry score. According to the Alberta Enterprise Corporation, there are more than 3,000 tech companies located in the province.
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