With a shortage of about 40,000 workers, Alberta is expanding its provincial nominee program to allow Canadians to sponsor their relatives from abroad for permanent residence.
Under the program, which has been renamed the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), the province can nominate certain permanent residence applications to be fast-tracked by the federal department, Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
Prior to the changes on June 19, applicants have to be sponsored by an employer to be eligible for fast processing. Now, any Canadian citizen or permanent resident who has lived in Alberta for the past two years can nominate a parent, child, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, niece or nephew for provincial nomination.
Criteria are more stringent for the foreign worker sponsored by a relative than they are for someone sponsored by an employer.
Family sponsored applicants have to be 21 to 45 years of age, hold a post-secondary degree, diploma or certificate, have either been working or been in full-time studies for three of the past four years, and have at least $10,000 in savings plus $2,000 for each dependent.
Family-sponsored applicants don’t have to have a job already lined up to be eligible.
Alberta’s program started in 2002 when an agreement with the federal government allowed the province to nominate 400 individuals for fast-tracking over two years. Since May 2007, there has been no limit on the number o individuals the province can nominate.
In a press release, the department employment and immigration stated that the employer-driven model has worked well, but “we are unlikely to meet our labour needs using the employer-driven model alone.”