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Is AINP a good strategy in 2016? - Russ Weninger Immigration Lawyer in Calgary, AB :: Russ Weninger Immigration Lawyer in Calgary, AB
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The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, after several months of hiatus, resumed intake operations in late January of this year. Apparently, during the hiatus, AINP was able to reduce its queue by several thousand applications, bringing its queue total down to approximately 5000 applications. Given this, many people have been asking me whether now might be the time to consider an AINP application.

Here are three things to consider.

1. The annual quota of AINP is 5500.
During the recent break from application intake, AINP was able to bring its queue down by 4000 to 5000 applications. Most of this reduction was not due to success stories of happy people receiving nomination certificates in the mail. That vast majority of these cases were of people being stricken from the queue due to the fact that they either had lost their jobs or lost their status as workers.

AINP will not nominate applicants who lack economic stability. What does that mean? Someone who has lost his or her job or lost his or her status is someone the AINP program considers to be a lost cause. Unfortunately, most cases of people losing status were due to the excessive wait times of the AINP program. Had these people received timely AINP nominations, most of them would have been able to maintain their worker status and qualify for permanent resident status. That being said, if your work permit is done, you are done as far as AINP is concerned.

To date, no significant efforts have been made on the part of the Alberta Government to obtain concessions from the federal government to extend the status of workers who have applied for nomination under AINP. As of late March 2016, the AINP program has a queue of approximately 6000 applications, which works out to 500 applications more than can be accommodated in 2016 by the program. This excess will only increase. I’ve been told that currently AINP is receiving something like 40 applications per day. Given the above numbers, it is only a matter of time before AINP calls another halt to program intake.

I wouldn’t be surprised if the program is once again halted in the spring of 2016. If you are thinking of submitting an AINP application, I would do so quickly.

2. Most applications submitted have been under the skilled worker stream and the international graduate category.

To date, most AINP applications have been under the Employer Driven Skilled Worker stream and under the International Graduate stream. What this means is that if you are applying under either of those streams, your wait for a nomination is likely to be in excess of 1 year. It is by no means inconceivable that you could in fact wait more than 2 years just for a nomination. If at any time during your wait your work permit expires, your efforts will have all been in vain. I have heard that applicants with certain occupations, such as Retail Sales Supervisors, can expect particularly long waits.

If any of the above applies to you, you should be strongly considering other options, such as the federal Express Entry system.

3. AINP will not be participating in Express Entry in 2016.

Even if you are lucky enough to receive an AINP nomination, you will not be receiving your permanent residence any time soon. You will still have to apply for permanent residence by submitting a paper-based application to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. This extra step will likely take another 12 to 18 months. While you can probably qualify for a bridging work permit at this stage, if you lose your employment during the IRCC processing stage, your permanent residence application will in all likelihood be rejected.
While other provinces are participating in the Express Entry system, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program has opted not to do so at this time, ostensibly so that it can bring down its intake queue before entering into Express Entry. I’m not sure, I understand why Alberta is waiting to bring down the queue before participating in Express Entry, but I understand that AINP will not be participating in Express Entry at all in 2016.
The nice thing about Express Entry is that it moves very quickly. Someone receiving an invitation to apply under Express Entry can expect to receive his or her permanent residence within 6 month or less, assuming a complete application is submitted. If you currently qualify for Express Entry under one of the federal immigration streams, you should apply as soon as possible. In most cases, I’m advising clients to treat AINP as a much less attractive Plan B.

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