Alberta's Accelerated Tech Pathway
Introduction to the program:
Alberta recently announced their latest immigration program called the ‘Accelerated Tech Pathway’. This new program is specifically designed to welcome foreign professionals especially in tech occupations, who wish to work and live in Alberta. However, this program targets applicants both in Canada and overseas in 38 National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes, that comprises a mix of both technical and non-technical occupations. The Accelerated Tech Pathway will operate through the Express Entry stream of Alberta’s Immigrant Nominee Program.
In order to be eligible to apply under this new immigration program, one must:
a. Be a working professional in one of the 38 NOC codes mentioned in the list of eligible occupations.
b. Be registered in the Express Entry pool with a minimum CRS score of 300.
c. Have a job offer from any Alberta based Canadian Employer, from the list of eligible occupations or is working for an Alberta employer in one of these 38 select occupations. The job offer must also meet all the criteria specified for a valid job offer.
d. Have their primary occupation code in their Express Entry profile same as the occupation code mentioned in their current Alberta job offer.
Eligible National Occupational Classification (NOC) Codes:
There are 38 eligible occupations for Alberta’s Accelerated Tech Program. These include:
0013: Senior managers–financial, communications and other business services; 0112: Human resources managers; 0131: Telecommunication carrier manager; 0211: Engineering managers; 0212: Architecture and science managers; 0213: Computer and information systems managers; 0512: Managers–publishing, motion pictures, broadcasting and performing arts; 0601: Corporate sales managers; 1121: Human resources professionals; 1123: Professional occupations in advertising, marketing and public relations; 1223: Human resources and recruitment officers; 2131: Civil engineers; 2132: Mechanical engineers; 2133: Electrical and electronics engineers; 2147: Computer engineers (except software engineers and designers); 2161: Mathematicians, statisticians and actuaries; 2173: Software engineers and designers; 2171: Information systems analysts and consultants; 2282: User support technicians; 2174: Computer programmers and interactive media developers; 2172: Database analysts and data administrators; 2175: Web designers and developers; 2221: Biological technologists and technicians; 2283: Information systems testing technicians; 2232: Mechanical engineering technologists and technicians; 2233: Industrial engineering and manufacturing technologists and technicians; 2241: Electrical and electronics engineering technologists and technicians; 2253: Drafting technologists and technicians; 2281: Computer network technicians; 3212: Medical laboratory technicians and pathologists’ assistants; 3219: Other medical technologists and technicians (except dental health); 4163: Business development officers and marketing researchers and consultants; 5131: Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations; 3211: Medical laboratory technologists; 5241: Graphic designers and illustrators; 7241: Electricians (except industrial and power system); 7242: Industrial electricians; 7246: Telecommunications installation and repair workers.
For this pathway, having a job offer is a mandatory requirement. Once an applicant is eligible to apply under the Accelerated Tech Pathway, they will be required to submit the application for the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), which will include all the information about their Express Entry profile, the eligible occupation code, the job offer etc. Once the above details are submitted, then the immigration authority of Alberta will do the assessment of the information provided. If the application is approved, then they will send an invite on email to apply for the provincial nomination. Successful applicants will receive the nomination on their Express Entry profile and will have 30 days to accept the nomination. Once the nomination is accepted, an additional 600 CRS points will appear on a nominee’s Express Entry profile. The additional points give an assurance that the applicant will receive an invitation to apply for permanent residence in a federal Express Entry draw. However, if one does not accept the nomination within 30 days, the AINP nomination becomes invalid and applicant will have to wait to be re-selected by the AINP and submit a new application. After the express entry draws, one will have 60 days to submit all the documents for P.R. processing. Accepting of invitation to apply or submitting of documents does not mean that Permanent Residency is guaranteed. Issuing of a Permanent Residency visa is at the sole discretion of IRCC officer assessing one’s file.
Processing of Work Permit and Permanent Residency:
If an applicant is nominated under the Accelerated Tech Pathway and did not have a valid work permit at the time of nomination, the applicant needs to make sure that there is a 204(c) ‘Letter of Support’ in their nomination package. This letter is used to apply to IRCC for a work permit after one applies for permanent residence. However, if one already had a valid work permit at the time of nomination, they will not receive the Letter of Support in their nomination package and will need to apply and pay for a 204(c) Letter of Support if they need one. One can come on a work permit or temporary status to Canada, while their Permanent Residency application is under process simultaneously.
The processing time of Express Entry stream programs are currently expected to go up to 20 months, due to heavy backlogs resulting from the impacts of the pandemic. However, immigration department is putting every effort to bring down the processing times and we are hopeful that once the backlogs are cleared, we will be able to see the processing times getting back to normal. Meanwhile, programs such as the Accelerated Tech pathway could enable those applicants with a job offer to come earlier on a work permit and not have to wait to enter Canada even if their P.R. processing is delayed until normal processing times are resumed.