Changes made to H1B fast-track Canadian immigration category

CIC News
Published: May 26, 2009

In the April edition of our newsletter, we had reported that changes were coming to the popular U.S. Visa Holder category of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP).  Earlier this month, those changes were announced and, as suspected, the list of qualifying occupations was reduced.  Eight of the information technology (IT) occupations have been removed from the list.  Though the program remains open to U.S. H1B holders with experience in 73 management, business, science, and health occupations, some IT professionals no longer qualify for the program.  Nevertheless, several other Canadian immigration options remain open to these individuals.

Like the Federal Skilled Worker category, the appeal of the AINP H1B program is that applicants do not need a job offer to qualify.  In order to succeed, AINP applicants simply must have been working in the United States on a temporary work visa* for at least one year in an occupation that is in high demand in Alberta.  Federal Skilled Worker applicants, on the other hand, must achieve 67 points based on six selection factors in order to qualify.

The Alberta H1B fast-track immigration program is still wide open to temporary workers in the United States who have work experience in one of the listed 73 qualifying occupations.  Engineers, Sales and Marketing Managers, Financial Auditors, Biologists, Electrical Technicians, Urban Planners, and Pharmacists, among others, are still welcomed by the program.  Additionally, "Computer and Information Systems Managers" remains on Alberta's list of occupations under pressure.

The eight IT occupations that were removed from the AINP list had been among the most popular under the U.S. Visa Holder category.

"A big chunk of the AINP applicants we've represented are IT professionals on H1B's and I'm glad that so many of them seized the opportunity while it was still available to them," says Canadian immigration Attorney David Cohen.  "Though this option is now closed for IT professionals, there may be several other Canadian immigration options still available to them."

IT workers with North American experience are highly sought-after candidates for immigration to Canada, says Cohen.  They may still be able to qualify for Canadian immigration through the Federal Skilled Worker category or through another Provincial Nomination Program.

"And because their applications can be processed at Canadian immigration visa offices in the United States, they will likely be processed just as quickly as AINP applicants anyway."

This is yet another example, says Cohen, of how government immigration officials can make changes at their discretion with little or no warning and why qualified applicants should not delay in the submission of their Canadian immigration applications.

Do you qualify for Canadian immigration under current regulations?

* includes H1B, H1B1, H1C, and E3.

Share this article
Share your voice
Did you find this article helpful?
Thank you for your feedback.
Subscribe to our newsletter
Did you find this article helpful?
Please provide a response
Thank you for your helpful feedback
Please contact us if you would like to share additional feedback, have a question, or would like Canadian immigration assistance.
  • Do you need Canadian immigration assistance? Contact the Contact Cohen Immigration Law firm by completing our form
  • Send us your feedback or your non-legal assistance questions by emailing us at
Top Stories
8 Tips for the Listening Component of your CELPIP Test
IRCC proposes amendments that require students to re-apply for a study permit if they change schools in Canada
New data suggests growing demand for temporary foreign workers in several Canadian industries
Join our free newsletter. Get Canada's top immigration stories delivered to your inbox.
More in Work
New data suggests growing demand for temporary foreign workers in several Canadian industries
This illustrates the continuation of an upward trend – save for 2020, due in part to the COVID-19 pandemic – that has persisted since at least 2016.
Finding your first job as an international graduate in Canada 
candidate's waiting for a job interview in an office.
Six frequently asked questions about Canadian work permits
A group of working professionals, in an office building.
Why IRCC may refuse your application for a post-graduation work permit
Female entrepreneur working using laptop looking at camera.
Link copied to clipboard