Immigration & Support Services
Workforce Immigration & Support Program (WISP)
The Government of Alberta has created the Rural Renewal Stream to address current labour needs and skill shortages at the local level and help newcomers settle into rural communities. Find out more about the program here.
The Workforce Immigration & Support Program (WISP) is our community approach to the Government of Alberta's Rural Renewal Stream. The WISP supports local employers experiencing ongoing labour shortages by providing a fast-track to permanent residency combined with newcomer support services.
The program’s goal is to attract and retain newcomers that will become long-term residents of Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo.
The rural immigration streams are part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program, a federal-provincial program which nominates individuals for permanent residence.
The Rural Renewal Stream supports the attraction and retention of newcomers to rural Alberta through a community-driven approach that supports local economic development needs and contributes to the growth of the community. The Rural Renewal Stream empowers rural communities to recruit and retain foreign nationals to live, work and settle in their communities.
Alberta Advantage Immigration Program
The Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP), operated through the Government of Alberta, created the Rural Renewal Stream to address current labour needs and skill shortages at the local level and help newcomers settle into rural communities. Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo is a designated community under the Rural Renewal Stream.
Program Eligibility Criteria
- Job is full-time (minimum 30 hours per week)
- Job is permanent (12 months or more)
- Job is year-round
- Job is genuine and represents a labour market need
- Job wage and benefits meet or exceed the lowest starting wage for the occupation (as set out on the Alis website)
- Job is in an eligible occupation
- Job was attempted to be fulfilled locally
- Candidate meets all criteria laid out by the Rural Renewal Stream Program
- Candidate has required licensing, registration and certification requirements
- Candidate has 12 months full-time work experience in an eligible occupation within the last 18 months (or is a Post-Graduation Work Permit Holder)
- Candidate meets all language test score in English or French
- Candidate meets educational requirements (Educational Credential Assessment, or a recognized Canadian degree, diploma or certificate, or a valid Alberta Qualification Certificate or a trade certificate)
- Candidate meets settlement fund requirements if not currently working in Canada.
- Candidates are expected to remain in the community for at least 3 years
- Candidates cannot be participating in another AAIP Stream at the same time
Note: Ukrainian Nationals have priority as part of this program. Applications are still run through employers and require signed job offers, but endorsement letters will be expedited for Ukrainians.
WISP Application Process
Want to apply for the WISP? Depending on if you're a candidate or an employer, follow the steps laid out here.
Candidate Endorsement Request Form
If you are an employer and have an eligible candidate, please complete the Candidate Endorsement Request Form.
English for Foreign Workers
The English for Foreign Workers conversation circle is for temporary foreign workers and other non-permanent residents (18+) who want the opportunity to practice and improve their English ability. We will focus on speaking, reading, and writing, with a different topic covered at each informal session. No registration required.
Employer Information Sessions
For employers, free-to-attend in-person and virtual information sessions will be hosted throughout 2023 as an opportunity to learn more about the WISP and ask questions of the program's partners. You can register for those sessions on Eventbrite.
FMWBEDT's role in the program
Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism (FMWBEDT) provides Letters of Endorsement to Candidates who meet the Criteria of Workforce Immigrant & Support Program (WISP) outlined above. We deal directly with Employers on these requests.
If you are a Candidate, please contact a prospective Employer directly. Once you receive our Endorsement Letter, you are still required to apply for provincial nomination of permanent residency through the AAIP, which is a detailed process.