What is the change? The provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan have announced updates to their immigration streams.

What does the change mean? Alberta has introduced two new streams—the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program for federal Express Entry candidates and the Alberta Opportunity Stream for foreign employees currently working full-time in Alberta. British Columbia conducted two Tech pilot draws on June 6 and June 20, issuing 26 invitations to apply in each draw, and a wider draw on June 13, issuing 163 invitations to apply across various subcategories. Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker category of the federal Express Entry program reached the cap of 400 invitations to apply hours after it reopened June 13.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. The two new Alberta streams opened June 14.
  • Visas/permits affected: Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), Alberta Opportunity Stream; British Columbia’s Skills Immigration stream, Express Entry BC stream, and Entrepreneur stream; Saskatchewan International Skilled Worker – federal Express Entry stream.
  • Who is affected: Companies in any of the three provinces recruiting foreign workers through their provincial nominee programs.
  • Business impact: Candidates with a provincial nominee generally receive 600 points toward their Comprehensive Ranking System score in the federal Express Entry system. (Candidates under British Columbia’s Skills Immigration scheme and Saskatchewan Experience sub-category applicants are processed outside of the federal Express Entry system.)

Background: The new AINP stream opened June 14 and is capped at 5,600 nominations for 2018. Under the old streams that the AINP replaced, 2,277 nominations have already been used so far this year. The Alberta Opportunity Stream is a new stream for full-time workers in eligible occupations seeking permanent residence without needing an employer to sponsor them.

The British Columbia provincial nominee program consists of three streams—Skills Immigration stream, Express Entry BC stream, and the Entrepreneur stream—with numerous subcategories each having their own eligibility criteria. Generally, candidates must have a full-time job offer from an employer in British Columbia to be eligible for a provincial nomination.

Saskatchewan’s International Skilled Worker – Express Entry category has a federal cap of 2,600 applications. The most recent draw was the second of 2018 and reached its cap of 400 within hours after opening. The program does not require a job offer in Saskatchewan, and candidates may be nominated from the federal Express Entry pool.

BAL Analysis: The provincial nominee programs remain extremely popular, providing significant additional points toward a candidate’s federal Express Entry ranking. Applicants should apply as soon as possible, as nominations are capped based on annual allocations by the federal government.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group. For additional information, please contact your BAL attorney.

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