New Immigration Pathway for Foreign Graduate Entrepreneurs

Alberta has announced the details of its new Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream. First announced in late October last year, Alberta has finally announced the details of its Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS).

This new immigration pathway stream, launched by Alberta, is meant to attract international graduates to start businesses in this province and assist in the recovery of its beaten-up economy.

Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is the second of two programs announced on Oct. 26 and targets international graduates. The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream was launched in late October and targeted the graduates inside Canada.

This new program launched last week is an economic immigration program for qualified foreign-educated graduates from outside of Canada who want to launch startup enterprises and innovative businesses in Alberta.

This startup visa program is launched in partnership with two designated agencies, Vancouver-based Empowered Startups and Calgary’s Platform Calgary.

Eligible candidates for the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) must have graduated outside of Canada within the last two years with at least a Canadian equivalent of a Bachelor’s degree.

Candidates must also have:

  • A minimum of six months of full-time work experience in business ownership/management or business incubator/accelerator
  • A business plan with financial forecasts and a 10-minute business proposal presentation will be required
  • Language proficiency of CLB level of 7 is minimum for each skill in English or French.
  • The candidates must have the ability to demonstrate 34% ownership (if the business is located in an urban area), or 51% ownership (if the company is located in regional areas outside Calgary and Edmonton).
  • Minimum investment from their equity, along with investment from a recognized financial institution, venture capital, or angel investor in Canada, is also required.
  • Along with the required funds, you would also need a letter of recommendation from the AINP-approved designated agency.

The application under this program is based on Expression of Interest (EOI), submitted on the AINP portal.

Profiles will then be given a ranking score based on the FGSVS points grid, and a set number of highest-scoring candidates will be invited to submit a Business Application.
If approved, you can apply for a Canadian work permit and travel to Canada to establish the proposed business.
After 12 months of active business ownership and operation in Alberta, you will be able to apply for an official provincial nomination from the AINP.