Alberta Speeds Up Immigration Reform In Hopes of Addressing Labour Shortages
Alberta is looking to recruit international students that studied in the U.S. to come live and work in Canada permanently as a part of the province’s recently announced immigration system overhaul.
According to Alberta’s recently released COVID-19 economic Recovery Plan, the province will launch two new immigration streams, called the Foreign Graduate Startup Visa Program and the Student Entrepreneur program. These streams will be heavily promoted to “graduates of U.S. universities who are not welcome in the United States” in hopes of filling jobs in the information and technology sector.
Coincidently, the Alberta Recovery Plan was released on June 29th, not long after United States President, Donald Trump announced an immigration suspension, which would also require international students enrolled in full-time online study programs to leave the U.S.
“One of the key factors holding back Alberta’s technology sector is a lack of people with relevant skills,” the Alberta Recovery Plan further states, “At the same time, the United States has further closed its border to some of the world’s most talented information technology workers and start-up entrepreneurs.”
Despite the toll that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on jobs and the economy, the new Foreign Graduate Startup Visa Program proceed as planned in order to support technology and innovation in the province.
The Negative Effect COVID-19 Has Had on Alberta Immigration
While these new immigration reforms are encouraging, Alberta has also announced some unfortunate news regarding the state of immigration in the province.
According to the Recovery Plan, Alberta will be reducing its new permanent resident targets for 2020 from 6,250 newcomers to just 4,000.
Furthermore, the province will also request that the federal government remove the majority of occupational categories under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) in hopes of “getting Albertans back to work.”
It is not yet known which occupational categories will be removed, however, the province has said that certain specialized occupations experiencing labour shortages will be exempt.
“We know job creators have a hard time filling vacancies in areas such as caregiving, emergency response, hospitality positions in the mountain parks, and agriculture, that is why these sectors will be exempt from these changes,” a spokesperson from the Government of Alberta told CIC News. “Employers in these sectors will be able to access TFWs to fill vacant positions.”