Alberta’s New Pilot Program for Foreign Workers


Facing a severe labour shortage, Alberta has recently set up a temporary foreign worker pilot project to help employers hire highly skilled foreign workers in positions that cannot be filled by Canadians or permanent resident.

The Alberta FSW Pilot Program Objective

Launched in June 2011 under the Temporary Foreign Worker Annex to the Agreement for Canada-Alberta Cooperation on Immigration, the aim of the project to is grow the labour market in the province by allowing foreign nationals to come to Alberta in order to take part in a specific occupation.  

Although the program was originally scaled to steamfitters and pipefitters, the program now includes welders, heavy duty equipment mechanics, and other highly skilled occupations to name of few. 

Initial Job Offer Requirement

According to Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney, temporary foreign workers who participate in the pilot program will be required to have an initial job offer from an Alberta employer or an employer acting on behalf of a recognized group of employers.

Objectives of the Requirement

  • The goal of that requirement, according to Kenney, is to ensure protection of the Canadian labour market.
  • In addition, the job offer must indicate that the wages being offered are consistent with the prevailing wages paid to Canadians or permanent residents in the same occupation in the region as well as proof that the working conditions meet the provincial labour market standards.

Applicants with Approval Letter

  • Applicants who are in possession of an approval letter from Alberta Apprenticeship and Industry Training (AAIT) for an application in the program for one of the trades in the pilot and an job offer located in the province are eligible to apply between July 16, 2012 and July 31, 2013.
  • If the application is approved, the foreign national will be given a one-year work permit which will allow them to be employed in a specific occupation for one employer prior to obtaining the appropriate provincial certification.

Applicants with Alberta Qualification Certificate

  • Applicants who are in possession of an Alberta Qualification Certificate or trade certificate recognized in the province in one of the occupations listed in the pilot program and are currently employed or as a job offer from an Alberta employer may also apply between July 16, 2012 and July 31, 2013.
  • If approved to participate in the program, these participants will be given a two-year occupation specific open work permit that will enable them to move between employers in the province provided they remain within the same occupation.

Applicants with Legal Assistance

Under the program, applicants who have sought the help of an immigration lawyer have better chances for approval. In most cases, the number of overseas workers who refused the help of a licensed immigration attorneys failed to accomplish the purpose.

Niren and Associates is an immigration firm that has over 15 years of experience in providing high quality of immigration services to countless clients. The firm has offices across the country and the United States.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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