Immigration Pilot Project Extended

On Friday, July 26, it was announced that the Alberta Pilot Project for Occupation-Specific Work Permits has been extended by one year, thereby extending the application deadline for the pilot to July 31, 2014. This news was a relief to many employers seeking to use this program.

Launched on June 1, 2011, the pilot project allows foreign nationals to come to Canada to work temporarily in designated trades and as estimators in Alberta’s engineering, construction and procurement industries. The occupation-specific permits granted under the program allow temporary foreign workers to work in Alberta without a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) from Service Canada, if specific requirements are met. The specific occupations eligible for the program were not changed in the announcement. They are as follows:

  • Steamfitter/pipefitter;
  • Welder and Welder-wire process operator;
  • Heavy-duty equipment mechanic and Heavy Equipment Technician – Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic (Off Road); Transport Trailer Mechanic; Truck and Transport Mechanic;
  • Ironworker – structural/ornamental; reinforcing; metal building systems erector;
  • Millwright and industrial mechanic;
  • Carpenter; and
  • Estimator.

Foreign nationals seeking to work in Canada under the pilot are required to have an initial job offer from an Alberta employer or an employer acting on behalf of a recognized Group of Employers (GoE) under the Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)–Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC) GoE pilot.

To maintain industry standards in Alberta and promote workplace safety, Alberta’s Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) evaluates and tests out-of-country tradespersons intending to work in the province. One clarification of Friday’s announcement is that for optional (rather than compulsory) trades such as Carpenters or Millwrights, applicants may not always need an Alberta Qualification Certificate Program (QCP) approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AIT) to present with their work permit application. Otherwise, you should allow time to obtain AIT approval.

Under the pilot, workers can obtain 1-year, 2-year, or short-term work permits.

For more details regarding the extension and the ongoing clarifications of the pilot requirements, the CIC Operational Bulletin can be found here (or contact us).