Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream

Alberta, one of the wealthiest provinces of Canada, has always been reluctant to accept business immigrants. However, they recently changed their mind and introduced a considerable opportunity for young entrepreneurs. Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is that opportunity. Nonetheless, you must meet the eligibility requirements to apply. Also, the process is relatively tumultuous.

Eligibility requirements for Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream

To qualify for FGSVS, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Education: Completion of a post-secondary degree outside Canada within the past two years
  • Educational credentials assessment: You must hold an ECA report that attests to your education.
  • Work experience: At least six months of full-time experience as a business owner or senior manager.
  • Knowledge of English or French: At least CLB 7. Of course, this requirement is similar to the minimum language requirements for Express Entry.
  • Business plan: Submitting a business plan that includes financial projections.
  • Pitch deck: A slide show that pitches the plan. However, you must present the slides only, and the presentation must last for about 10 minutes.
  • Business ownership: You must own at least 34% of the Canadian business in urban areas. However, the ownership requirements increase to at least 51 percent if the company is outside Calgary CMA or Edmonton CMA.
  • Investment: Your minimum investment must be at least $100,000. Nonetheless, if you invest in regional areas, you may invest as low as $50,000. Moreover, if you are married or in a common-law relationship, you and your spouse could collectively invest.
  • Recommendation letter: A designated agency must issue you a recommendation letter. Of course, you may hire a professional to assist you with the process.
  • Settlement funds: Alberta expects minimum settlement funds from FGSVS candidates.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements, you may not apply under this program. However, you must also receive a high score when you submit an EOI.

Minimum settlement funds for FGSVS candidates

Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream requires a settlement fund. Of course, this amount is on top of the investment you make. The best way to show you have access to the unencumbered funds is to present your bank statements—moreover, the amount changes based on your family size and where you will settle.

Population size of community and funds required
Number of family members Less than 1,000 1,000 to 30,000 30,000 to 99,999 100,000 to 499,999 500,000 and over
1 $8,922 $10,151 $11,093 $12,961 $12,960
2 $11,107 $12,636 $13,810 $16,135 $16,135
3 $13,655 $15,534 $16,977 $19,836 $19,836
4 $16,579 $18,861 $20,613 $24,084 $24,083
5 $18,803 $21,392 $23,379 $27,315 $27,315
6 $21,208 $24,127 $26,367 $30,807 $30,806
7 $23,611 $26,861 $29,356 $34,299 $34,299

Source: Statistics Canada but taken from the AINP website.

Keep in mind; these figures are subject to change. Regardless, you also have to make the minimum investment.

The point system for Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream

When you show your interest in FGSVS, a point system compares you with other candidates. Of course, you must meet the minimum requirements before even thinking of EOI. Here is a brief list of points.

The factors that have mandatory components

  • Language (max 30): CLB 7 – 10 points, CLB 8 – 20 points, and CLB 9 or more – 30 points! However, you must consider all your skills individually rather than your overall score.
  • Educational credentials (max 35): Bachelor’s degree – 5 points, Master’s degree – 10 points, Doctoral degree – 15 points! Regardless, you could receive an extra 10 points if your education is in the field of business. You could also receive another 10 points for studying in the field of science, engineering, mathematics, or technology.
  • Business management or ownership (max 35): 6 months – 5 points, between 6 and 12 months – 10 points, one to two years – 15 points, more than two years – 20 points! Moreover, you could receive another 15 points for business ownership.
  • Business plan (max 40): You could receive up to 40 points because of your business plan.
  • Investment (max 25): 
    • Urban centres: Minimum mandatory investment – 5 points, $100,001 to $150,000 – 11 points, $150,001 to $200,000 – 18 points, over $200,000 – 25 points! These figures are for those who invest in Calgary CMA or Edmonton CMA. However, if you are investing in other regions, refer to the following bullet point.
    • Regional areas: Minimum mandatory investment – 5 points, $50,001 to $100,000 – 11 points, $100,001 to $150,000 – 18 points, over $150,000 – 25 points!

The other factors that are not mandatory

  • Proposed additional investment after launch (max 20): If you promise to invest more money in the business after launch, you could receive up to 20 extra points. However, the points associated with the investment depend on the region you target.
    • Urban centres: $100,000 to $150,000 – 5 points, $150,001 to $250,000 – 10 points, $200,001 to $250,000 – 15 points, over $250,000 – 20 points!
    • Regional areas: $50,000 to $100,000 – 5 points, $100,001 to $150,000 – 10 points, $150,001 to $200,000 – 15 points, over $200,000 – 20 points!
  • Job creation (max 15): one job – 5 points, two jobs – 10 points, three jobs or more – 15 points! Of course, the expectation is to create jobs for Canadians or permanent residents of Canada.

The maximum number of points you could receive is 200. By obtaining a high score, you will enhance your chances of receiving an invitation to apply. However, there are no minimum points per se.

Who is ineligible to apply

The following people are not eligible to apply under the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream. Therefore, do not apply if you fall under any of these groups even if you meet the minimum requirements:

  • Candidates who already have another open AINP application: Moreover, if AINP has already identified you as ineligible for any program, you may not apply.
  • Persons who have received a removal order: Also, you may not apply if you are subject to a removal hearing or appeal.
  • Refugee claimants
  • People who reside in Canada without a valid status

AINP has a list of eligible and ineligible businesses. Thus, you may not apply if your business is ineligible.

The process for Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream

Here is a quick review of the process for a successful candidate. Of course, if you fail at any step, then you may not become a permanent resident under this program.

  1. Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements.
  2. Obtain a letter of recommendation from a designated entity.
  3. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). AINP will review your application within 30 days. Of course, if they find you eligible, you will receive some points and enter the EOI pool.
  4. Submit your business package when you receive a request to submit a Business Application. However, if you do not receive the request in 12 months, you will be out of the EOI pool.
  5. As part of the process, a Qualified Service Provider (QSP) must evaluate your financials.
  6. If AINP approves you, then you must sign the Business Performance Agreement (BPA) document. Consequently, they will issue you a letter to apply for a work permit.
  7. Upon receiving the work permit, you will start your business in Canada. However, you may submit the Final Report for AINP Nomination only if you fulfill all your promises.
  8. You may apply for permanent residence if AINP approves your final report.

Of course, if you go through all these steps successfully, you become a permanent resident of Canada.

Let us help!

As you can see, the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream is a complex process. However, it could be an excellent opportunity for some candidates. If you believe you meet the requirements, fill out the following form. Of course, you may book an appointment with me instead. For other immigration options, please fill out our assessment form.

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.