Alberta’s New Tourism and Hospitality Immigration Stream


Authored by Samuel Escobar, CILA Board Member, and Canadian Immigration Lawyer, HowTo Immigration Law.

On March 1, 2024, the Government of Alberta under its Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) opened the Tourism and Hospitality Stream, a unique pathway to permanent residency for temporary foreign workers in vital tourism and hospitality roles. Intake for this stream is occurring in stages and aims to attract and retain much-needed workers in Alberta’s vibrant 10+ billion dollar tourism and hospitality industry. This article provides a high-level overview of this new stream and highlights important considerations for applicants and stakeholders.

Understanding the Tourism and Hospitality Stream

Recognizing the pivotal role played by the tourism and hospitality industry in Alberta’s economic prosperity, the provincial government seeks to double its tourism and hospitality economy. The Tourism and Hospitality stream is a strategic response to the industry’s growing demand for skilled workers and targets temporary foreign workers (TFWs) already working in the sector for at least six months with an approved job offer. By retaining skilled TFWs, the province aims to enhance the quality of services, boost tourism infrastructure, and create a positive economic impact. Alberta Minister Muhamad Yaseen expects nominations under this stream to make up about 8 to 10% of the AAIP’s total allocation in 2024.

Key Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible for the Tourism and Hospitality Stream, applicants must meet specific criteria outlined by the Alberta government. Essential requirements include:

  1. Occupational Eligibility: Applicants must be living in Alberta, hold a valid work permit based on a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), and be employed in one of the 18 eligible occupations within the tourism and hospitality industry, as specified by the Alberta government.
  2. Alberta Job Offer: Securing a valid job offer from a single, approved Tourism and Hospitality employer in an eligible occupation is mandatory for applicants. This offer should be for 12 months or more, full-time (minimum of 30 hours per week), and meet or exceed the starting wage for the occupation across all industries in Alberta.
  3. Work Experience: A minimum of six consecutive months of full-time work experience in one of the eligible occupations with an approved employer is required at the time of application. This work experience must have been paid and obtained from the same employer providing the Alberta job offer.
  4. Language Proficiency: Applicants must attain a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark score of 4 in each language skill area in either English or French.
  5. Educational Qualifications: Applicants must have completed a minimum of Canadian high school equivalent education.

Potential Benefits of the Tourism and Hospitality Stream 

The Tourism and Hospitality Stream offers several advantages for both TFWs and the Alberta economy, two of which are:

  1. Permanent Residency Pathway: This stream will provide an additional path for TFWs in the tourism and hospitality industry to stay permanently in Alberta. This offers employers the ability to support their TFWs with their permanent residency so they can continue contributing to and benefitting from the Canadian society and economy.
  2. Access to a Growing Job Market: As noted above, Alberta’s tourism and hospitality industry is experiencing robust growth, creating numerous career development opportunities. TFWs entering through this stream can access a dynamic job market with diverse roles and future career growth potential.

Potential Concerns

While the Tourism and Hospitality Stream presents promising opportunities, it is necessary  to highlight potential concerns associated with this stream:

  1. Suppressed Wages: There are concerns that an influx of TFWs may lead to wage suppression within the industry. As such, it will be essential for the Alberta government and approved employers to ensure competitive practices are upheld so that wage levels remain competitive and fair for all with opportunities for professional growth within the sector.
  2. Employer Leverage: As is the concern with many other employer-supported Canadian immigration pathways, the stream’s reliance on job offers from Alberta employers may create a power imbalance, with employers potentially using their employee’s immigration status as leverage against them. As such, it is vital for regulatory bodies to monitor and address any unfair practices to ensure the well-being of much-needed TFWs.

Concluding Thoughts

The initial intake threshold for the first phase of Alberta’s Tourism and Hospitality stream has been met, with the second phase opening after submitted applications have been reviewed. Through the multi-staged rollout of this new stream, ongoing collaboration/dialogue between the Alberta government, approved employers, TFWs, and all relevant stakeholders will be helpful for evaluating the stream’s effectiveness in addressing labour shortages, driving provincial economic growth, and ensuring a thriving tourism and hospitality industry. So far, we can view the stream optimistically as yet another alternative route to permanent residency for TFWs already in the province that will help further the Alberta government’s desired objectives for its Tourism and Hospitality industry.

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