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.

Program Information

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.

beautiful night view of lake and mountains

Program Eligibility Criteria

Job 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 Criteria
  • 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

Employer requirements

The employer who is providing your Alberta job offer must demonstrate to the AAIP’s satisfaction that:

  • the business is legitimate
  • they are providing a good or service in Alberta
  • you are being offered employment consistent with their business activities or needs
  • they can fulfill all of the terms of the job offer or employment contract, based on the following employer requirements, which must be verifiable by the AAIP

The Alberta employer must:

  • be incorporated or registered by or under an act of the legislature of a province, territory or the Parliament of Canada and that is operating an established production capacity, plant or a place of business in Alberta
  • have been in continuous and active operation in Alberta for a minimum of 2 complete fiscal years (the year used for tax or accounting purposes) prior to application submission
  • have a place of doing business in Alberta where employees can report to work regularly as needed and where work assignments are issued
  • demonstrate the need for the position, by providing:
    • a valid work permit issued under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker or International Mobility programs, or
    • evidence the employer made reasonable efforts to fill the position with a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, as demonstrated by recruitment outcomes (federal recruitment and advertising requirements of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program will be used as a broad guideline when a nominee applicant is not already living and working in Alberta), or as pre-existing stream or pathway criteria already stipulates.
  • have a minimum total gross annual revenue of $400,000 for the most recent fiscal year (the year used for tax or accounting purposes) and employment of a minimum of 3 full-time (or full-time equivalent) employees in Alberta –
    • Independent contractors are not considered as indeterminate employees and do not count.
    • Two part-time employees may be considered as 1 full-time equivalent position, as long as the total hours add up to at least an average of 30 hours per week.

Note: If an employer cannot demonstrate a gross annual revenue of $400,000 for the most recent tax year and a minimum of 3 full-time employees, the employer can qualify for the program but will be restricted in the number of nominee applicants they can support, based on the number of years the employer has been operating in Alberta:

  • 2 years of operation in Alberta: a total of 1 nominee.
  • 3 years of operation in Alberta: a total 2 nominees.
  • For each additional year of operation, 1 additional nominee can be supported.
  • Indigenous, municipal, provincial, and federal government employers do not need to meet revenue and minimum employee requirements.
  • Caps on number of nominees an employer can support will be applied to applications received on or after March 18, 2024. Note, if a nominee leaves the employer, the nomination will continue to be counted towards job offer eligibility/employer operations.
  • You must confirm with your employer that they are able to support your application. Your application fee will not be refunded if your employer supports more applicants than permitted based on their years of operation in Alberta.

Application Process

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.

contact us

Candidate Endorsement Request Form

If you are an employer and have an eligible candidate, please complete the Candidate Endorsement Request Form.

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wednesdays 6-7:30pm

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.

More Information

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.