The Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Stream (FGSVS) was launched by the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) on January 27, 2021. This new initiative is designed to encourage and facilitate the immigration of international graduates living abroad wanting to establish their business in the Prairie Province of Alberta.
International graduates will be required to meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for this stream. This program is jointly managed by two designated agencies, the Vancouver-based, “Empowered Startups” and Calgary’s, “Platform Calgary”, approved by the AINP. These agencies are responsible for reviewing the business plans presented by the applicants.
A good business plan is an imperative requirement for this stream among others. Receiving a letter of recommendation from the above-mentioned agencies will make the applicant eligible for provincial nomination. Let’s take a look at what else is required to qualify for this stream.
What Are the Requirements for the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Stream (FGSVS)?
The AINP uses the Expression of Interest (EOI) system to assess applicants for this stream. Therefore, you must meet the following requirements and score high on the Points Assessment Grid to qualify for this stream:
Have at least 6 months of business ownership or management experience. It can also be gained by working with a business accelerator or incubator.
Have a degree from a post-secondary institution obtained within the last 2 years of applying with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report to demonstrate that is a Canadian equivalent.
Demonstrate language proficiency with a level 7 on the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for English or French on an approved language test.
Letter of Recommendation:
Gain a letter of recommendation from one of the two approved agencies for this stream.
Present a 10-minute business pitch highlighting the purpose and goals of your business venture.
Submit a business plan including all projections for financials and operations.
Own at least 34% of the business establishment if it is located in an urban center or at least 54% if located in a regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton.
Make a minimum investment from your equity or secure capital from a Canadian financial institution, venture capital or angel investor before coming to Canada. The minimum investment for a business established in an urban center is $100,000. If the business is located outside of Calgary and Edmonton, then the investment requirement is $50,000.
Have sufficient settlement funds to support yourself and your family’s stay in Canada.
If the above-mentioned requirements are met, then you qualify to submit an EOI to the AINP for provincial nomination.
How Do Designated Agencies Review Your Business Plan?
The two designated agencies for the FGSVS include Vancouver-based Empowered Startups and Calgary’s, Platform Calgary, they will review your business plan based on the following criteria:
- The business’s ability to identify the needs or demands of the local market
- The potential for success of the business in the short-term to medium-term in terms of customer acquisition
- The business’s potential for development
- All the key partnerships and other financial institutions invested in the development and operation of the business venture
These factors will affect these agencies' decisions to issue a written report based on your business plan. Without a letter of recommendation from these agencies, you will not be able to apply for the FGSVS.
How to Gain Permanent Residence Through the Foreign Graduate Start-up Stream (FGSVS)?
To obtain permanent residence through this stream, you require a letter of recommendation from the above-mentioned approved agencies. The first step requires you to submit an EOI through the AINP portal. The AINP will review your application based on the eligibility criteria and provide you with an EOI score.
The highest-scoring applicants will receive an invitation to submit a business application. This application must be submitted within 90 days with a nonrefundable fee. This business application will be reviewed by the AINP along with the other supporting documents.
Once, this application is approved, you will receive a Business Performance Agreement (BPA). A BPA is a legal agreement between you and the AINP. It must be signed and returned within 14 days. After this is done, you will receive a Business Application Approval Letter. You can use this letter to apply for a temporary work permit which will allow you to come to Alberta to start establishing your business.
This business must be actively owned and operated for at least 1 year and meet the terms set in the BPA for you to qualify for permanent residence. You must also own at least 34% of the business if it is located in an urban center or 51% if it is located in a regional area.
Once the terms set in the BPA are met, you will submit a final report to the AINP for provincial approval. If this report is approved by the AINP, they will grant you the provincial nomination. This nomination will make you eligible to apply for permanent residence to the government body of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.