Visa Crunch

Alberta’s newly-implemented immigration policy eyes to help international graduates and budding entrepreneurs

A new form of immigration for qualified international students from outside Canada is now open to Expressions of Interest from eligible nominees.

The Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream was launched on January 27, 2021. The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) was quick to adopt the newly-formed policies. They have started to accept the applications, a spokesman for the Alberta Minister of Labor and Immigration confirmed it via email to CIC News.

One of the primary underpinnings to qualify for the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is that applicants must have passed a post-secondary institution outside Canada for the past two years and have a valid Canadian degree.

Among the other options, candidates must have:

(i) A minimum of six months full-time work experience in management or business ownership or work experience with a business incubator or business accelerator;

(ii) A business plan with financial predictions;

(iii) A 10-minute presentation of the proposed business, focusing on what investors would like to see;

(iv) A minimum level of CLB 7 for each English skill or CLB 7 for every French skill;

(v) The ability to show minimum ownership of 34%, if their business is in the city center, or 51% if it is located in a regional area outside the major cities of Alberta, Calgary, and Edmonton;

(vi) Low level of investment from applicant funding, a well-known Canadian financial institution, affiliate funding, or angel investment company before coming to Alberta.

(vii) Letter of recommendation from a designated agency approved by the AINP;

(viii) The ability to show that they have the funds needed to start their own business and support themselves while they are just starting.

The Expression of Interests (EOI) is not a request but rather a way for interested parties to inform the AINP that they wish to be considered for the province’s permanent residency under the immigration stream. Applicants are invited to submit their EOI by logging into the AINP Portal. It is necessary to answer a number of online questions related to the applicant’s education, job experience, and expertise in English or French, among other things. Profiles will then be awarded high scores based on the FGSVS points grid. Eventually, a set number of applicants with high scores will be invited to submit a Business Application.

The AINP states that it does not have a fixed application rate and also “has the right to reduce the number of applicants and provincial proposals under this river.”

In addition to the new distribution introduced in recent days, AINP offers two other streams for entrepreneurs interested in buying or starting a business in Alberta:

(i) Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream, targeting applicants with farm management skills and sufficient financial resources to invest in the Alberta agricultural business;

(ii) International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream for newly-graduated students from Alberta post-secondary.
The province also uses the Alberta Opportunity Stream and the Alberta Express Entry Stream for skilled workers and international graduates.

In a feeble economy, the policy-makers are trying their best to give a much-needed boost to the businesses in Canada. Alberta has taken the first baby steps towards safeguarding entrepreneur interests, it is expected that other states will also follow suit. Laxer visa regulations and liberal immigration policies are bound to make Canada a thriving place for employers and employees alike.

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