Alberta-bound immigrants can now apply online for most immigration programs, but the province has also introduced new fees.

As of October 1, applications to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) can be done online, unless they are for the Self-Employed Farmer Stream. Candidates in the Alberta Express Entry Stream must receive authorization from AINP to access the new portal.

The AINP says, in a media release, that the portal was designed to make immigration applications easier. Candidates applying for one of Alberta’s Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) get tips on how to enter data, a customized list of documents, and they can save a draft to complete their application at another time. The system does an initial assessment on eligibility, ensuring that candidates who do not meet basic criteria do not waste time and money submitting an application.

Here are more of the changes implemented by the AINP:

Find out if you are eligible for Canadian immigration

Fees for the portal

Applications submitted to the province using the online portal are subject to a $500 processing fee. This fee is non-refundable once an application has been submitted. The fee covers the cost of processing the application and is required whether candidates get a provincial nomination or not.

Candidates who applied for the Alberta Opportunity Stream or Alberta Express Entry Stream by mail on or before October 1 do not have to pay the fee.

Self-Employed Farmer Stream applicants who submitted their applications by mail after October 1 must pay the fee.

New fees for post-decision services

All requests for post-decision services must now be emailed, the AINP says.

Alberta now requires fees for post-decision services such as requests for reconsideration, nomination extensions, and nominee requests for letters of support. Requests for services that were sent to the government on or after October 1 are now subject to a $100 service fee.

Letters of Support will no longer be issued with a nomination and must be requested by the PNP recipient. Provincial nominees who have a written request from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada for a letter of support do not have to pay the fee.

Fees cover the cost of processing requests, and are required even if candidates are not eligible to have their nominations extended, or to receive a letter of support. Refunds will only be given for requests for reconsideration where the original rejection is reversed. All other service fees are non-refundable.

Update applications by email

Application updates will have to be sent by email, even if candidates applied by mail. Candidates must now send emails to inform the AINP about:

  • corrections or updates to information or documents in an application;
  • updates to employment status, immigration status, contact information, or family composition;
  • updates to use of a third party representative; or
  • application withdrawal.

Coronavirus measures

Alberta has made some of the following changes to their temporary coronavirus measures:

  • The AINP will no longer accept incomplete applications. Incomplete applications mailed on or after October 1 or submitted in the online portal will be declined.
  • All candidates who have lost their job after applying to the AINP, regardless of the date they applied, and all nominees, will have up to six months from the time their application is assessed to find a new job that meets AINP criteria. This employment requirement must be met at the time an application is submitted or mailed. The AINP will send an email when an application is on hold. This change provides more opportunity to meet AINP employment criteria and extends the time to find employment by up to four months for candidates and nominees. Previously, nominees and select candidates were given up to 60 days to find qualifying employment.

The AINP told CIC News that the new portal is meant to reduce red tape, and create a “streamlined application process for candidates.”

It is only accessible to the person applying, and if applicants want to share their application with family or representatives they can print off a preview.

The AINP says that feedback from candidates about the application process is welcome, and they will make adjustments if necessary.

Alberta also confirmed that this change is not COVID-19 related.

1. Give The ‘Why’

No one likes just being told what to do (OK, maybe some people enjoy that, but most employees don’t). Instead of bossing around, try giving the full picture. Explain why the change ahead is important. Explain what exactly the new technology will help with. How will it impact your overall efficiency? How will technology changes affect other parts of the processes?

2. Be Transparent Open communication is everything.

Give your employees an overview of the process and what specific changes will be made. Have a meeting that provides a clear outline of what they can expect. If employees are already feeling anxious or overwhelmed, surprises or unexpected changes will only add to their stress. Be as transparent as possible with your team members throughout the change process.

3. Provide A Timeline

If you have a timeline or road map for the technology changes you’re making, share that with your team. There’s going to be a learning curve for everyone, and it will be steeper for some than for others. As a leader, you can’t expect everyone to learn this new skill or new technology at the same pace. If you are able to, provide time for the new process to be implemented in a transition phase where the old process can still be used if they get stuck.