Alberta Signs New Immigration Agreement with Canada
The Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration will streamline immigration to Alberta, making it easier and faster for foreign workers to settle in the province.
Signed last week by the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Canada, the Alberta Minister of Employment, Immigration, and Industry, and the Premier of Alberta, the new agreement addresses Alberta's chronic labour shortages. With a booming economy, the province needs to attract more skilled workers, and more importantly, it needs to retain them. The agreement recognizes that community and integration services are an important part of keeping the newcomers in Alberta to build up the workforce.Under the new deal:
- There will no longer be a limit on the number of immigrants that Alberta can nominate for Canadian Permanent Residency (under the Provincial Nomination Program), allowing the province to select and retain newcomers with skills that are in demand.
- The agreement will develop mechanisms to make it easier and quicker to get the foreign workers needed to meet growing labour force demands.
- A pilot project will be launched, aimed at fast-tracking the entry of foreign health care professionals.
- The Government of Canada has committed to "fair and ongoing" funding for immigrant settlement services in Alberta and recognizes the importance of involving community stakeholders in developing programs and services to help newcomers integrate into Alberta society and the Alberta work force.
The Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration builds on the established collaborative relationship between Alberta and Canada on immigration issues. "It sets out a framework for enhanced federal-provincial immigration cooperation and partnerships," notes Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach who has been pursuing a "made-in-Alberta" approach to immigration since he took office in December.
To qualify for the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program, applicants must receive an offer of employment from an Alberta employer. The position must be in a skilled occupation for which there is a short supply of workers in Alberta. In the past, the program focused on occupations that required more highly-skilled training such as physicians, managers, and educators. Under the new expanded program, nominations can be made for occupations in manufacturing, tourism, and transportation. There is also a new focus on international student graduates who have received a job offer in Alberta.
The news of the Alberta PNP expansion was announced just as this newsletter was being released. Please check the Canadavisa Alberta Provincial Nominee Program webpage in the coming days for details about the new categories.
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