What exactly is this program and how do I apply?
The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is an immigration program that nominates talented and qualified foreign educated graduates from outside Canada for permanent residence when they start-up an innovative business in Alberta. The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is a collaboration between the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) and approved designated agencies (that’s us).
Alberta is a fantastic home for Oil & Gas tech start-ups, crypto-currency and crypto adjacent innovation, agriculture tech entrepreneurship, software development, mining tech, fintech, environmental start-ups & more!
What is the eligibility criteria for this program?
- Minimum of 6 months full-time work experience that can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business or equivalent (equivalencies are work experience with business incubator or business accelerator).
- Completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA)
- The degree needs to have been completed within the last 10 years at the time of EOI submission
- A business plan with projected financials. Refer to the Business Plan Guidelines.
- A 10-minute presentation (slides only) that outlines the proposed business venture and focuses on what an investor would want to see.
- Minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 5 for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 5 for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- Must have a minimum of 34% ownership if the business is located in an urban centre or a minimum of 51% ownership if located in regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton
- A minimum level of investment from candidate’s (or spouse or common-law partner) own equity or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm prior to coming to Alberta.
- Must have a letter of recommendation from an AAIP-approved designated agency (that’s us)
- Candidates must demonstrate that they have the funds needed to set up their business and support themselves while they are on a work permit and launching their start-up.
Can I apply if I’m already in Canada or own a business in Canada?
Yes! If you meet the eligibility criteria, you can indeed qualify for this program! Foreign graduates who currently own and operate a business in Alberta can apply to the AAIP as a pathway for permanent residency. They must demonstrate they meet the criteria highlighted in the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid and Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream mandatory minimums grid at the time of EOI submission. The established business must have operated in Alberta for at least one year immediately prior to submitting an EOI in the AAIP portal.
Are there businesses that don’t qualify for the program?
Ineligible businesses include:
- any business in contravention of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and Regulations – for example, immigration-linked investment schemes or passive investment
- businesses without a value-add economic component, including:
- pay day loan, cheque cashing and related businesses
- businesses trading in used goods
- businesses that would be considered passive investment or lack active management, including: insurance brokerage or business brokerage
- project based or seasonal businesses
- home-based businesses, including:
- businesses that are not zoned for commercial or industrial operations
- bed-and-breakfasts and lodging houses
- businesses that are part of a succession plan
- businesses involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services, or providing sexually oriented services
- any other type of business that by association would tend to bring the AAIP and the Government of Alberta into disrepute, in the opinion of and as determined by the AAIP
If you’re interested in learning more about the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream or request more information here!