Canada immigration pathway
This new immigration pathway invites graduates of foreign universities to set up their business in Alberta. Source: Andre Furtado/Pexels

Good news, international graduates: you may now apply for a new Canada immigration pathway in Alberta, even if you graduated outside of Canada. Launched on Jan. 27, 2021, the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is the latest pathway introduced to attract fresh, foreign talent into the country. It is now accepting applications along with the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Programme (AINP), according to CIC News.

This comes as Canada announces that 52,000 Post-Graduate Work Permit holders are eligible to apply for the new 18-month open work extension until July 27, 2021. Applicants with expiring permits will be able to finalise arrangements for their work and life abroad in this additional time, including earning enough work experience to qualify for permanent residency.

Each state has a nomination programme through which it invites qualified candidates to seek permanent residency. Here’s what you need to know about the latest Canada immigration pathway in Alberta.

Open to enterprising recent graduates

That’s right, this stream is for foreign graduates looking to grow their entrepreneurial career in Canada. Only candidates who graduated from a post-secondary institution outside Canada in the last two years are eligible for FGSVS. Your educational credential must be equal to a Canadian degree, of course.

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  
  • a 10-minute business proposal presentation
  • a  minimum CLB level of 7 for each skill in English or French
  • the ability to demonstrate 34% ownership (if business is located in an urban area) or 51% ownership (if business is located in regional areas outside Calgary and Edmonton)
  • minimum investment from own equity, along with investment from a recognised financial institution, venture capital, or angel investor in Canada
  • a letter of recommendation from the AINP-approved designated agency
  • the funds needed to set up the business and support themselves while launching the start-up.
Canada immigration pathway

Lake Louise in Alberta is one of the many that freeze over in winter, making it the perfect pitch for the nation’s favourite sport. Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images/AFP

Express your interest to begin the process

Canadian immigration pathways are based on a point system, where each desirable quality is afforded points. The more points you rack up, the more likely you are to be invited to become a permanent resident. Applicants begin the process by letting the AINP know they wish to be considered for a provincial nomination, which is done by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AINP Portal. This involves answering questions about your experience and qualifications, after which you will be given a score which determines your FGSVS eligibility. Only highest-scoring candidates will move on to the next stage: submitting a Business Application.

You are advised to work with an agency to smoothen this process. The official website for Alberta states: “The designated agency will review business plans based on the foreign graduate’s ability to demonstrate market need or demand, the potential for successful market entry in the short-term to medium-term, customer acquisition, business development, key partnerships and financial plans to fund the development and operation of the start-up.”

Explore alternate streams to start a business

Besides the Alberta Opportunity Stream and Alberta Express Entry Stream, skilled workers and international graduates may also apply to buy or start a business in Alberta via two other streams. Recent international graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions may start a business and gain entry to permanent residency via the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream. Besides that, applicants who know how to manage a farm and have the resources to invest in one should consider the Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream