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LMIA-exempt work permit options for employers in Alberta

Alberta Advantage Immigration Program – Rural Renewal Stream:

This stream supports Alberta employers located in rural communities to attract and retain newcomers. This is a community-driven approach where communities must apply for and become designated before they can recruit and endorse candidates for the Rural Renewal Stream. Interested communities must complete a Community Designation Application form first and receive approval from the Government of Alberta. Once a community is designated, it can attract and support newcomers with their Permanent Residency and work permit applications simultaneously. This work permit application is LMIA-exempt.

The Rural-renewal stream is a two-step process:

  1. A community applies for a designation.
  2. An applicant submits an AAIP application.   

General criteria for communities: Interested communities will have to fill out a Community Designation Application form, send an application and receive approval first.

  • Rural communities with a population of less than 100,000 (rural communities in the same economic region may form a partnership to submit an application)
  • Communities must fall outside of Calgary or Edmonton metropolitan area.
  • There is at least one interested employer in the community who have a permanent and full-time employment offer.
  • Application is signed and submitted by the economic development organization with a primary function in economic development. There is an endorsement letter of support from the community or town council. This application will have to include an economic development plan or similar document.

How to apply: the completed application and supporting documents need to be submitted for designation by email to: ruralrenewal@gov.ab.ca

Processing time: the estimated processing time is 8 weeks, and the designation is issued in the duration period of 3 years. There is an option to extend it for 2 additional years after that.

Job Offer criteria: The employer must provide a job offer to the successful candidate, and the community partnership ensures the candidate meets the criteria of the stream.An endorsement letter will be provided to the foreign national pending criteria below.

  • Red Seal or a professional license or designation for compulsory and regulated occupations
  • Employment offer has to be full-time (min 30h per week or more) and non-seasonal
  • Most of the occupations are eligible in both skilled and non-skilled stream of hospitality, retails, and other sectors. The list of ineligible occupations is here https://www.alberta.ca/aaip-rural-renewal-stream-eligibility.aspx
  • The pay rate doesn’t have to follow the median pay rate on the Job Bank website but instead has to fall in the range displayed on the Alis website unless a worker is already working in Alberta on an LMIA-based work permit.

General criteria for applicants: A candidate must be selected and endorsed by a designated community and meet all criteria for the Rural Renewal Stream. Applicants can’t apply to the province of Alberta directly if they do not have an endorsement of a candidate letter from a designated community.

  • Work experience: applicants would need to demonstrate a minimum of 12 months of full-time work experience in an eligible occupation within the last 18 months prior to the application. The work experience can be gained in Alberta, Canada, or a combination.
  • English or French language test: CLB 5 for Job Offers in NOC 0,1,2,3 and CLB 4 for Job Offers in NOC 4,5.
  • Education: High-School and ECA are required for experiences outside of Canada.
  • Settlement funds for people outside Canada or people from inside Canada but not working.

After you are nominated: You must apply for Permanent Residency within 6 months. If you are in Canada, you have to maintain legal status and intention to live and work in Canada. You can use your nomination to extend or apply for a new work permit. The AAIP can issue one 204(c) Letter of Support per nominee.

All nominees must complete and submit a request for 204(c) Letter of Support. You cannot submit a request for a 204(c) Letter of Support until you have received a nomination certificate. An applicant can apply for the work permit application while applying for the PR at the same time. The processing time for each application is displayed here: https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/application/check-processing-times.html

As of April 2nd 2023, eligible communities are:

CommunityDesignation Date
City of Brooks (including: Town of Bassano, Village of Duchess, County of Newell, Village of Rosemary)May 13, 2022
City of Grande PrairieJuly 6, 2022
Town of WhitecourtJuly 20, 2022
Town of Taber (including: Municipal District of Taber, Town of Vauxhall, Town of Coaldale)July 20, 2022
Town of InnisfailSeptember 9, 2022
Municipal District of Smoky River (including: Town of Falher, Town of McLennan, Village of Donnelly, Village of Girouxville)September 9, 2022
County of Grande Prairie (including: Town of Sexsmith, Town of Wembley, Town of Beaverlodge)September 9, 2022
Town of TrochuSeptember 9, 2022
Fort McMurray Wood BuffaloSeptember 9, 2022
Municipality of JasperSeptember 13, 2022
Town of EdsonNovember 8, 2022
County of Barrhead (including: Town of Barrhead)November 8, 2022
Big Lakes County (including: Town of High Prairie)November 8, 2022
Town of HintonNovember 8, 2022
Town of Fairview (including: Village of Hines Creek)January 13, 2023
City of Medicine Hat (including: County of Forty Mile, Cypress County, Town of Bow Island, Town of Redcliff)January 13, 2023
Town of Fox CreekFebruary 13, 2023
City of Cold LakeMarch 10, 2023
County of St. Paul (including: Town of St Paul, Town of Elk Point, Summer Village of Horseshoe Bay)March 10, 2023
Town of Drayton ValleyMarch 10, 2023
Athabasca County (including: Town of Athabasca, Village of Boyle)March 10, 2023
Town of Slave LakeMarch 10, 2023