Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (Graduate Entrepreneur Stream)
Foreign nationals who graduated from educational institutions outside of Canada, and who intend to establish a new business in Alberta can apply for permanent residence through the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) formerly known as the Alberta Provincial Nominee Program.

This program is not only for foreign graduates educated outside of Canada and who are outside Canada. Foreign graduates who are in Canada, and who own and operate a business in Alberta can also apply to the AAIP as a pathway for permanent residence.

The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream of the AAIP works in collaboration with designated agencies which:
  • conducts a detailed review of the candidate’s business plans;
  • provides support on the development of the business plan; and
  • determines the candidate’s readiness for entrepreneurship.
The candidates must work with one of the designated agencies, and if the agency is satisfied that they meet the requirements, recommend them for the AAIP and issue them a letter of recommendation.

After recommendation, the foreign graduates submit their letter of recommendation with their Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP portal.

To be eligible for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream of the AAIP, candidates must have a minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience in the active management of a business or ownership of one.

They must have completed a degree outside of Canada within the last 10 years at the time of EOI submission.

The candidate must also:
  • have a business plan that shows the venture’s financial projection;
  • provide a brief presentation that summarizes the proposed business venture;
  • have a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level 5 for each English language skill and NCLC of 5 for each French language skill; and
  • show proof of sufficient funds to set up their business and support themselves.
While candidates may partner with another person who must be a citizen or permanent resident, the candidate must have a minimum of 34% ownership if the business is located in an urban center or at least 51% ownership if outside of Calgary and Edmonton.

Foreign graduates, in order to be eligible for this stream, must invest alone or jointly with their spouse/common law partner, a minimum of $100,000 if the business is in an urban area and $50,000 if outside an urban area.

For the proposed business, it must clearly show a significant economic benefit to the province in order for the business application to be approved.

It must also meet the criteria for eligible businesses under the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream.

For instance, the purpose of the proposed business must be to make profit from active income through the sale of goods and services. Additionally, it must comply with all applicable laws and relevant trade certifications. The business must have a physical place of operation in Alberta at all times, and the candidate is required to live and actively manage the business in Alberta.

The proposed business must be connected to the technology, aerospace, financial services, energy, agriculture, tourism, life sciences, or pharmaceuticals sector.

In the case of a foreign graduate who already owns and is operating a business in Alberta, the established business must have been in operation for at least one year immediately before submitting an Expression of Interest.

Upon the foreign graduate’s submission of all the required information, the program carries out an assessment, and awards points based on the stream’s point grid. Candidates with the highest-ranking points will be invited to submit a business application.

Once the business application is received, it will also be assessed against the eligibility criteria, and Expression of interest points will be verified. If satisfied, the program then issues a nomination to the candidate.

If nominated, the immigrant entrepreneur must apply to Immigration Refugee & Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent residence within 6 months from date of nomination. They must also submit a business report to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program within 6 months from the date of nomination.

Contact us to get started with the Alberta Advantage Program.
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