February 28, 2024

Changes in Alberta's Immigration Programs: Pause on processing Alberta Opportunity Stream Applications and Launch of Tourism and Hospitality Stream

As of February 15, 2024, the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) has announced a temporary halt in processing applications for the Alberta Opportunity Stream until further notice. This decision aims to allow the province to manage its current application inventory effectively and prioritize immigration nominations towards addressing critical labor shortages in sectors such as healthcare, technology, construction, agriculture, tourism, and hospitality.

The Alberta Opportunity Stream, a vital component of the AAIP, caters to temporary foreign workers already employed full-time within Alberta on a valid Canadian work permit, as well as Post-Graduation Work Permit holders. This stream serves as a pathway for these individuals to secure permanent residency in Alberta, provided they have a full-time job offer from an employer in the province.

In response to evolving needs, the province is set to launch a new stream targeting the tourism and hospitality sector on March 1, 2024. This initiative seeks to support individuals who have been working within this industry for at least six months and meet the criteria for permanent residency in Alberta. Candidates must hold a valid full-time, non-seasonal job offer from an approved employer within the tourism and hospitality industry to qualify.

The introduction of this new stream aligns with efforts to address labor shortages in the tourism and hospitality sector, benefiting businesses across Alberta, including those in rural areas, by facilitating the retention of skilled workers and fostering economic stability.

It's noteworthy that Alberta, renowned for its natural beauty and attractions, remains one of Canada's most sought-after tourist destinations. In 2022 alone, the province welcomed 32 million visitors, contributing significantly to its economy with expenditures totaling $10.7 billion.

For those considering immigration to Alberta, understanding the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program is crucial. This Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) serves as a mechanism for the Government of Alberta to select economic immigration candidates likely to establish themselves successfully within the province.

Similar to other PNPs, the AAIP features multiple streams tailored to candidates with diverse skill sets and attributes in demand. These include streams targeting skilled workers in specific occupations such as healthcare and agriculture, as well as initiatives for individuals working in rural communities and entrepreneurs.

Throughout 2023, Alberta issued 9,750 nominations to AAIP candidates, contributing to the province's economic growth and diversity. While the exact number of nominations for 2024 remains unconfirmed, it's worth noting that the federal Immigration Levels Plan 2024-2026 outlines Canada's commitment to welcoming 110,000 newcomers through PNPs by the year's end.

As Alberta adapts its immigration programs to meet evolving needs, prospective immigrants and stakeholders are encouraged to stay informed about updates and opportunities within the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program. More details regarding the newly launched stream for tourism and hospitality, including application procedures and eligibility criteria, are expected to be released on March 1, 2024.