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Alberta Decreases Requirements for Entrepreneur Immigration Streams

Published on: December 14th, 2021

Alberta just made it easier for graduate entrepreneurs to obtain Canadian permanent residency. On December 7, 2021, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) made significant changes to both of their graduate entrepreneur immigration streams.

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Among the changes implemented include decreasing the language requirements for the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream and removing the mandatory work experience requirement for the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration stream.

Alberta currently hosts two immigration streams for graduate entrepreneurs that hope to run a business in the province: the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream and Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream.

Launched in October 2020, the streams are designed to encourage international graduates to open businesses in Alberta that will create jobs and diversify the economy.

What changes were made to Alberta’s Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream?

The Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) offers a pathway to permanent residence to 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.

The stream previously required eligible candidates to have completed a foreign post-secondary credential within two years before submitting an Expression of Interest. The AINP recently changed this requirement from two years to ten years. That means candidates who graduated from a post-secondary institution within ten years before applying to FGSVS may now be eligible for this program.

Alberta has also decreased the minimum language scores needed for FGSVS candidates from the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) from 7 to 5.

In addition to the above requirements, Candidates must meet all FGSVS minimum eligibility requirements to be considered under this program.

What changes were made to Alberta’s International Graduate Entrepreneur stream?

The International Graduate Immigration Stream offers a pathway to permanent residence to international students that have graduated from an Alberta post-secondary institution that wish to start and operate a business in the province.

Alberta recently removed the minimum 6-month work experience requirement for this stream. Instead, this has been indicated as a factor that could increase a candidate’s chances of success under this program.

The International Graduate Entrepreneur stream uses a points-based system to rank Expression of Interest (EOI) profiles and decide who to invite to submit a full Business Plan. To claim points for work experience, it must have been while actively managing or owning a business or equivalent. An equivalency can include the completion of entrepreneurship program courses or experience with an incubator or business accelerator.

Another recent change made to the International Graduate Entrepreneur stream was related to the minimum required Post-Graduate Work Permit (PGWP) validity. The AINP previously required International Graduate Entrepreneur candidates to hold a PGWP valid for at least 2 years at the time of submitting an Expression of Interest profile. As of December 7, candidates are only required to hold a valid PGWP at the time of applying, with no minimum required validity period.

Candidates interested in apply under the International Graduate Entrepreneur stream must meet all additional eligibility requirements to submit an Expression of Interest profile.


In addition to the above, entrepreneurs who are operating existing businesses are eligible to apply under either of the AINP’s graduate entrepreneur streams.

Alberta has also changed the process for requesting application updates and submitting requests for services, which can now be submitted through the online AINP portal.


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