Calgary, boomtown for immigrants

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Calgary Skywalk

With the fastest growing immigrant population in Canada, and the country’s first Muslim mayor, Calgary is poised to reap the rewards of Alberta’s energy boom for a wide spectrum of Canadians, including many of its newcomers.

Calgary is the largest city in Alberta, and as such is benefitting from the province’s current status as Canada’s top oil-producing region. Several statistics point to Alberta’s rising fortunes:

  • Alberta’s population has risen 37 percent in the last decade.
  • Alberta has the most highly educated population per capita in Canada.
  • Alberta has the highest gross domestic product per capita in Canada at CAD$70,824.00.
  • Alberta has been named the most economically free jurisdiction in North America.

Calgary is serving as the hub of this economic transformation. Calgary was ranked the world’s fifth most livable city by The Economist magazine last year, and a quarter of its population is made up of visible minorities, including its mayor Naheed Nenshi. Nenshi’s parents are immigrants from Tanzania.

“There are very few places in the world where a kid from a minority ethnic community, a minority faith community, could be elected… mayor without anyone blinking an eye,” said Nenshi.

What’s more, a large proportion of Calgary’s coming 100,000 jobs over the next eight years in the oil industry will have to be filled by new immigrants according to industry sources.

Some of the main jobs that will be on offer are for engineers, electricians, and construction workers. Among these positions are several that are on the list of 29 qualifying occupations under the Federal Skilled Worker program.

These include electricians:

  • NOC 7241 – Electricians
  • NOC 7242 – Industrial electricians

And construction workers:

  • NOC 7265 – Welders and related machine operators
  • NOC 7312 – Heavy-duty equipment mechanics
  • NOC 7371 – Crane operators
  • NOC 7372 – Drillers and blasters – surface mining, quarrying and construction

Additionally, engineers are one of the three strategic recruitment streams of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program, which can mean a fast-track to immigrating to Alberta from outside Canada for several types of engineers. For a list the specific engineering specialities that fall under this stream, see Engineering Occupations.

Lastly, it can’t hurt that Canada’s now long serving Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, who last year finally won a majority in Parliament, represents a district in Calgary, and remains committed to his vision of Canada as an “emerging energy superpower”. To realize this vision, Calgary, Alberta, and their growing pool of skilled immigrant labour, will surely be part of the mix.


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