Alberta’s immigration plans to develop two new immigration streams to help plug labour market gaps and create jobs.
The Alberta Advantage Immigration plan, highlighted in the recently-released provincial budget, will include the new Startup Visa program alongside a Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur stream.
Both will work alongside the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.
“One of the greatest barriers to development and growth in Alberta’s digital economy is a shortage of manpower with relevant skills and experience,” the budget statement said.
Although only preliminary details are available of the new strategy, the budget statement did not go into specifics about what category of candidates the government wants to attract.
On the Startup Visa program, the budget said: “The startup visa will offer fast track processing for eligible graduates of top universities if they commit to launching a startup enterprise in Alberta, with a bridge to permanent residency via the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.”
Initially, the visa is expected to specifically target “foreign student graduates from the United States.”
For the time being, the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Program “will offer similar fast track immigration programs for foreign citizens who have graduated from Alberta post-secondary institution,” the budget statement said.
It added that the initiatives would be “supported by a renewed strategy to attract highly qualified foreign students to Alberta universities and colleges.”
Presently, the only AINP offering for entrepreneurs is the Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream, aiming applicants with farm management skill and enough financial resources to invest in a farming business in Alberta.
The province also manages the Alberta Opportunity Stream and Alberta Express Entry for qualifying skilled worker and international graduates.
The budget also introduced new immigration streams to help new immigrants find work at their skill level more quickly.
Immigrant immigration initiatives include fast-tracking and simplifying credential recognition in the Alberta, already being tackled via the Fair Registration Practices Act, passed in June 2019.
Alberta immigration is calling its new policy the Fairness for Newcomers Action Plan.