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The Alberta Express Entry program now requires family members as additional eligibility requirements

Calgary Skyline, Alberta

The Alberta Express Entry program now gives applicants who have close relatives living in Alberta extra consideration.

Having relatives in the province was added to the Alberta Express Entry stream (managed under the AAIP) as candidate selection criteria by the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), which serves as Alberta’s Provincial Nominee Program, on January 18.

As a result, candidates in the federal Express Entry pool who are classified as having immediate family members (parent, child, brother, or sister who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents) in the province will now meet additional selection factor criteria (effective immediately). Additionally, this may increase the likelihood that applicants will receive an Alberta Express Entry Notification of Interest (NOI) and an invitation to submit an application for permanent residence. It should be noted that eligibility is determined by the data applicants include in their federal Express Entry pool profile.

Alberta is of the opinion that these close familial relationships are essential for new immigrants to effectively integrate into the province.

The Alberta Express Entry stream is the only one affected by this program update, and it merely adds these selection criteria without changing the existing selection factors. It is important to note that none of the selection criteria for any of the streams under the AAIP have changed (like having a job offer from a company in Alberta, being a graduate of an Albertan post-secondary institution, etc.).

Rajan Sawhney, Alberta’s Minister of Trade, Immigration, and Multiculturalism, declared that “This is not a family reunification plan”. As a result of the modification, the Alberta Express Entry stream is now allowed to devote 25% of its NOIs to applicants who have both close familial ties to Alberta and experience in in-demand professions for which the province has a labor shortage.

Employers in Alberta can get assistance from the AAIP in addressing the labor shortage. The province saw rapid expansion in the previous month alone, generating about 41,000 new employees in December 2022, with the majority of them in the private sector. Although there are currently close to 100,000 open positions in Alberta, it is anticipated that there will be a total of over 33,000 unfilled positions across a variety of industries and occupations by 2025. These are the main justifications for the desire to bring in more immigrants to the province.

What are the Alberta Express Entry stream and the AAIP?

The AAIP is Alberta’s PNP program for luring foreign immigrants to the province. The program now oversees eight streams, which can be broadly classified into worker streams and entrepreneur streams.

Worker streams include:

  • Alberta Opportunity Stream;

  • Alberta Express Entry stream, which includes the Alberta Accelerated Tech Pathway (AATP); and

  • The Rural Renewal stream.

Candidates who want to be considered for the Alberta Express Entry stream must:

  • Having a profile that is active and in the federal Express entry pool (preferably with a validity of at least 5 months);

  • Possess a declared desire to settle permanently in Alberta;

  • Are employed in or have prior experience in a profession that promotes Alberta’s economic growth and diversification; and

  • A CRS score of at least 300.

Now, candidates have a greater probability of getting an application invitation if they also:

  • Possess a legitimate employment offer or work experience in Alberta;

  • Graduated from an Alberta post-secondary institution; or

  • Possess a citizen or permanent resident parent, child, sibling, or other relatives who presently resides in Alberta.

To enter candidates must first submit a profile to the federal express entry pool. If selected and issued an NOI, candidates must email a copy of the document to the AAIP and state that they are interested in applying.

An email asking applicants to apply to the program will be sent to them if the AAIP decides that they match the minimal eligibility requirements. Candidates (now applicants) must apply from this moment on in order to gain an additional 600 CRS points for the federal pool of applicants (functioning as an enhanced provincial nomination). The pool of eligible applicants is then populated with complete applications for processing.

Minister Sawhney concluded the announcement by saying, “The Alberta Express Entry stream modifications announced today is one of the many steps our government will be taking to guarantee that Alberta gets the skilled and knowledgeable individuals that it needs.”

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