Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa

The Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is one stream of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) operated by the province of Alberta. The FGSVS offers a pathway to permanent residence to recent graduates who have completed a foreign post-secondary credential and who have an intention of starting and operating a business in the province of Alberta.

This stream uses a points-based Expression of Interest system to rank candidates. The highest-ranking candidates in the Expression of Interest pool are invited to submit a detailed Business Application. Applicants with successful Business Applications are issued a nomination by the province, which can be used to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Program Requirements

Requirement
Express Entry ProfileNo
Connection to ProvinceYes
Job OfferNo
Language ProficiencyMinimum CLB Level 5 in English or French
Level of EducationPost-secondary degree
Work ExperienceMinimum six months full-time
Investment RequirementMinimum $50,000 for regional area or $100,000 for urban area

Level of Education

To be eligible for the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream, candidates must have completed a post-secondary degree and obtained an Education Credential Assessment (ECA) report demonstrating its equivalence to a Canadian credential. The foreign credential must have been completed within the last ten years at the time of EOI submission.  

Work Experience

Candidates must have at least six months of relevant full-time work experience. This can be demonstrated through experience as an active business owner-manager, manager, or experience with a business incubator or business accelerator. 

Business Establishment

Candidates must establish a new business or buy an existing business in Alberta with at least 34% ownership if it is located in an urban area or at least 51% ownership if the business is located outside of Calgary or Edmonton.

Qualifying businesses must be in one of the following key or priority sectors:

  •       technology
  •       aerospace
  •       financial services
  •       energy
  •       agriculture
  •       tourism
  •       life sciences
  •       pharmaceuticals

Application Procedure

The Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream operates on an Expression of Interest (EOI) system. Candidates who meet the minimum stream requirements can register a profile using AINP’s online portal. Once the profile has been submitted, candidates will be assigned a score and ranked against one another using the FGSVS Points Grid. The highest ranking candidates will be contacted by AINP and invited to submit a Business Application.

Candidates invited to submit a Business Application must submit a complete application to the stream within 90 days from when they receive the request to do so. The business plan must be evaluated by an AINP designated agency and Qualified Service Provider. All online AINP Business Applications are subject to a $3,500 CAD application fee.

If AINP approves the Business Application, candidates must sign a Business Performance Agreement. This is a legal agreement signed with Alberta that outlines the conditions under which the candidate will receive a nomination for permanent residence. Alberta will issue a Business Application Approval Letter once all parties have signed the Business Performance Agreement. Candidates are expected to meet the conditions of the business performance agreement and reside and operate their business in Alberta for at least 12 months before submitting a final report for AINP Nomination. 

After receiving a provincial nomination, the applicant has six months to submit a federal application for Canadian permanent residence. Applicants in this program must complete and submit a paper-based application for permanent residence and submit it by mail to the appropriate application centre. Paper-based PNP applications for permanent residence are generally processed within 18 months.

Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream Points Ranking System

The Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream uses the following points-grid to rank candidates who have registered profiles. Only those candidates with the most competitive scores will be invited to apply to the program.

Scoring SectionsMaximum Points
Language30
Education35
Business Management/Ownership Experience35
Business Plan40
Investment prior to coming to Alberta25
Proposed investment after launch20
Job Creation15

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