Be wary of Alberta’s oversubscribed nominee programmes

Be wary of Alberta’s oversubscribed nominee programmes

Wednesday, November 05, 2014    

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Dear Mr Brown:

I am a temporary foreign worker from Jamaica who is currently working in Alberta. I thought that working in Alberta would have provided me with the opportunity to stay in Canada. However, I learned that it may not be true as Alberta programmes are full. Can you provide any information on this situation?

— MM

Dear MM:

It is my understanding, based on recent articles I have read, that thousands of temporary foreign workers who expected to stay permanently under Alberta’s special nominee programme lost their opportunity due to oversubscribed programmes.

Alberta’s Nominee Programme

The main issue is that there are wait times of more than two years in some categories to process applications for the 5,500 available spots. This means that, a two-year temporary work permit would have expired by then. As such, the applications by temporary workers in that situation are invalid.

Increased processing times

For obvious reasons, many foreign temporary workers are disappointed because the provincial nominee programme was a main draw in deciding to work in Alberta. Thousands of workers have already lost their chances and others are in danger of losing their chance as the delay in processing applications increases. Currently, there are more than 10,000 applications that are in the queue.

For workers who arrive after September 1, 2014, the wait time to ascertain if an application is approved is 25 months in the skilled and semi-skilled categories. The wait is 18 months in manufacturing, 15 months in trucking and 14 months for post-graduate workers, many of whom are on 12-month work permits.

Moreover, applications will no longer be considered on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, applications will be considered based on a spread across all sectors of the economy.

Temporary contracts

Temporary foreign workers should be wary if they are told they will likely be able to stay permanently when their contract is over because it is only a temporary contract.

In responding to your specific question, please note that the oversubscription of the Alberta nominee programme does not mean that there are no other avenues to remains in Canada. However, it suffices to state that the specific programme in Alberta may not be of assistance based on oversubscription.

For further information, please visit

Antonn Brown, BA, (Hons), LLB, MSc, RCIC, is an immigration counsel, education agent and managing director of JAMAICA2CANADA.COM — a Canadian immigration education firm in Kingston.

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