Last Updated on January 29, 2021
Three months after announcing its Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) in late October, Alberta immigration unveiled the details of the program designed to get international graduates to open businesses in the province.
The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) stream is designed to assist Alberta’s battered economy recover from the massive loss of jobs and business closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the second of two programs announced Oct. 26 and targeting international graduates. The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream opened in late October.
Details of the FGSVS, an economic immigration program for qualified foreign-educated graduates from outside of Canada who want to launch start-up enterprises and innovative businesses in Alberta, were only released this week.
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It’s a partnership between the AINP and two designated agencies, Vancouver-based Empowered Startups and Calgary’s Platform Calgary.
Those agencies are to review the foreign graduates’ business plans based on:
- their ability to demonstrate market need or demand;
- the potential for successful market entry in the short-term to medium-term;
- customer acquisition;
- business development, and;
- key partnerships and financial plans to fund the development and operation of the start-up.
Once that’s done, the designated agency provides a written report on its assessment of the proposed business plan.
Foreign graduates then submit this report with their FGSVS business application.
Alberta’s Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream
Any foreign graduates who are interested in applying for permanent residency under the FGSVS need to get a letter of recommendation from a designated agency and then submit it with their Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AINP Portal.
Steps to Permanent Residence
1. Submit an Expression of Interest
After ensuring they meet all the FGSVS criteria, applicants can submit an EOI by accessing the AINP Portal. The AINP will review and score the EOI within 30 days. Highest-ranking candidates will be invited to submit a business application.
2. Submit A Business Application Package
Candidates selected from the EOI pool must submit a Business Application with 90 days. A non-refundable $3,500 application fee must also be paid.
3. Business Application assessment
Once a candidate’s Business Application and supporting documents are received, the AINP will assess the Business Application.
If a candidate’s Business Application is approved, he or she will be sent a signed Business Performance Agreement (BPA).
That’s a legal agreement between the candidate and the province of Alberta. It must be signed and returned to the AINP in 14 days. After the AINP receives the signed BPA, candidates will be issued a Business Application Approval Letter.
4. Establish Your Business in Alberta
After receiving the Business Application Approval Letter and work permit, candidates can live in Alberta and actively own and operate their business for at least 12 months, with at least 34 percent ownership in an urban centre or 51 per cent ownership in a regional area.
5. Final Report for AINP Nomination
Once the conditions of the Business Performance have been met, a final report for nomination is submitted to the AINP.
If the final report is approved, the AINP will send a nomination certificate to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) and send the candidate a nomination letter.
Candidates can then apply for permanent residence to IRCC.
Requirements for the FGSVS
|Work experience||Minimum of six 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).|
|Education||Completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada within the last two years with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) .
Education credential must be equivalent to a Canadian degree.
|Business plan||A business plan with projected financials..|
|Pitch deck||A 10-minute presentation (slides only) that outlines the proposed business venture and focuses on what an investor would want to see.|
|Language||Minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of seven for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens of seven for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Official test results must be less than two years old at the time of EOI submission.|
|Business establishment||Must have a minimum of 34 per cent ownership if the business is located in an urban centre or a minimum of 51 cent ownership if located in regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas.|
|Business investment||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. The mandatory minimum investment for an urban centre is $100,000 while the mandatory minimum investment for a regional area is $50,000.|
|Letter of recommendation||Must have a letter of recommendation from an AINP-approved designated agency.|
|Settlement funds||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.
Minimum settlement funds requirements will be based on the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs).
Expression of Interest Pool
The AINP will review and score each EOI within 30 days of submission. The highest-ranking candidates will be requested to submit a Business Application.
FGSVS Points Grid
Maximum available points: 200
||First official language|
|CLB 7 (seven for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) (mandatory minimum)||10|
|CLB 8 (eight for each reading, writing, listening and speaking)||20|
|CLB 9 or higher (nine for each reading, writing, listening and speaking)||30|
||Minimum requirement is the completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada within the last two years with an Educational Credential Assessment.
Education credential must be equivalent to Canadian standards.
|Bachelor’s degree (mandatory minimum)||5|
|Preference given to candidates with the following degrees:|
|Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics||10|
Business management, ownership or equivalent
||Business ownership or management experience (more points allocated for additional years of experience)|
|Six months (mandatory minimum)||5|
|more than six months to less than one year||10|
|One to two years||15|
|More than two years||20|
|Preference will be given to candidates with business ownership experience.||15|
||A business plan with projected financial information. Business plan guidelines are available on the AINP website.||40|
Investment: prior to coming to Alberta
||Minimum level of investment from candidate’s own equity, and/or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm before coming to Alberta.
(Candidates with higher levels of investment available before coming to Alberta will be awarded more points. Points will also be awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both).
Urban centre: Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas.
Regional area: Communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary CMAs
|$100,000 (mandatory minimum)||5|
|$100,001 to $150,000||11|
|$150,001 to $200,000||18|
|Or, Regional area:|
|$50,000 (mandatory minimum)||5|
|$50,001 to $100,000||11|
|$100,001 to $150,000||18|
Proposed investment: additional investment after launch
||Additional investment after launching start-up from candidate’s own equity, or from recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm.
Higher levels of investment after launch will be awarded more points. Points awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both.
Urban centre: Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)
Regional area: Communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary CMAs Urban centre:
|$100,000 to $150,000||5|
|$150,001 to $200,000||10|
|$200,001 to $250,000||15|
|Or, regional area:|
|$50,000 to $100,000||5|
|$100,001 to $150,000||10|
|$150,001 to $200,000||15|
|Three jobs or more||15|
|Total points: maximum||200|
Settlement Funds Required for FGSVS
|Population size of community and funds required|
|Number of family members||Less than 1,000||1,000 to 30,000||30,000 to 99,999||100,000 to 499,999||500,000 and over|
Ineligible businesses under the FGSVS 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 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 AINP and the Government of Alberta into disrepute, in the opinion of and as determined by the AINP.