The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream allows experienced businesspeople to immigrate to the province of Alberta by starting a new business, or purchasing an existing business, in a rural Alberta community. The Rural Entrepreneur Stream is part of the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) and allows successful applicants to become Canadian permanent residents.

The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream is a lengthy and complex immigration program. Applicants are required to make a substantial financial investment and own and operate their business for at least 12 months before being approved for provincial nomination. Interested applicants should be aware that immigrating through this stream is a significant commitment of time and resources. 

Applicants interested in applying to the Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream must meet the following eligibility criteria and application requirements.

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Eligibility Criteria: The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream

While all candidates must meet the minimum eligibility criteria outlined below, simply meeting the minimum criteria does not guarantee a candidate will be invited to submit a business proposal. Candidates are selected based on the score they are awarded using the Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream Point Grid.

The minimum eligibility criteria for the Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream are as follows:

Exploratory visit & community support

Interested applicants require official support from a rural community in Alberta. In order to obtain this support, candidates should plan an exploratory visit to Alberta in order to meet with local business contacts, economic development officers, and other prospective contacts. 

After completing their exploratory visit, applicants must compile an Exploratory Visit Report detailing their trip. This should include information about meetings with business contacts and economic development organizations, summaries of other business activities, and details of visits to existing business locations & meetings with current owners if the applicant is planning to purchase an existing business. 

Applicants must provide a copy of the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Business Proposal Summary to the contact person from the rural community. If the community decides to approve the business proposal, they will issue a Community Support Letter. This is a required component of the application to the Rural Entrepreneur Stream. 

Work Experience

Applicants must meet one of the following work experience requirements:

  • Minimum of three years of experience as an active business owner/manager within the past 10 years; or
  • Minimum or four years of experience as a senior manager within the past 10 years.

Please note that candidates are awarded more points through the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid for greater amounts of work experience.

Education

Applicants must have completed a minimum of high school education equivalent to the Canadian standard. If education was completed outside Canada, applicants must provide a copy of their Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). 

Please note that candidates are awarded more points through the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid for higher levels of education.

Language ability

All applicants must meet minimum English or French language requirements. Applicants must score a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark Level 4 (CLB 4) on all four language skills. Applicants must submit results from an approved language test as part of their application.

Please note that candidates are awarded more points through the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid for higher levels of language proficiency.

Personal net worth

Applicants must have a minimum personal net worth of CAD$300,000. All assets must be the candidate’s own personal holdings, or those of their spouse or common-law partner.

Higher levels of personal net worth will be awarded more points.

Business investment

Applicants must make a minimum investment of CAD$200,000 from their own equity. Higher levels of investment will be awarded more points.

Business Establishment

If an applicant is creating a new business, they must have a minimum of 51 percent ownership. Any business partners must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

If an applicant is purchasing an existing business, the applicant must have 100 percent ownership of the business (i.e. the succession buy-out must result in a complete change in ownership). 

The business must not be on the list of ineligible businesses.

Job creation

If an applicant is creating a new business, the business must create at least one full-time job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident (not including the applicant’s relatives). More job creation will result in more points. 

Other factors that increase chances of selection

If an applicant meets the minimum criteria, they can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the AAIP. Certain candidates will be invited to submit a Business Application. Applicants will be selected based on the points they are awarded through the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid. However, certain other factors will increase the candidate’s chances of being selected:

  • Economic benefit: If the applicant is purchasing an existing business, they will have a higher chance of being selected. 
  • Age: If the applicant is aged 21-49, they will have a higher chance of being selected. 
  • Spouse: If the applicant’s spouse/common-law partner has completed post-secondary education (minimum of a one-year program) or achieved CLB 4 on an approved English or French language test, the applicant will have a higher chance of being selected. 
  • Alberta relative: If the applicant has a relative in Alberta, they will have a higher chance of being selected. Relatives are defined as father, step-father, mother, step-mother, child, step-child, sister, step-sister, brother, step-brother of candidate or spouse or common-law partner.

The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Points Grid

The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream uses a points-based ranking system to select candidates. All interested candidates begin by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) which is given a score based on the candidate’s profile. Only the candidates with the highest scores will be invited to submit an official business proposal enabling them to operate a business in Alberta.

The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid awards points as follows:

CriteriaDescriptionsPoints
Rural Factor (25 points)
Business Location(Maximum of 25 points)
Mandatory requirement
Rural Community
Community outside the Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas and under 100,000 population size (mandatory minimum)
Tier 1: Less than 10,000 population25
Tier 2: 10,001 to 50,000 population17
Tier 3: 50,001 to 99,999 population10
Business Experience Factor (20 points)
Business owner-manager or senior management experience within the past 10 years (Maximum of 20 points)
Mandatory requirement
Business owner-manager
3 to less than 4 years (mandatory minimum)12
4 to less than 5 years16
5 or more years20
or Senior manager
4 to less than 5 years (mandatory minimum)12
5 to less than 6 years16
6 or more years20
Business Establishment Factors (60 points)
Total Business Investment (Maximum of 20 points)
Mandatory requirement
$200,000 to $399,999 (mandatory minimum)5
$400,000 to $599,99910
$600,000 to $799,99915
$800,000 or more20
Net Worth (Maximum of 10 points)
Mandatory requirement
$300,000 to $399,999 (mandatory minimum)6
$400,000 to $499,9998
$500,000 or more10
Job Creation
Jobs must be created for Canadian Citizens or Permanent residents (not including relatives) for a period of at least 6 months.

(Maximum of 20 points)
Mandatory requirement
For business succession, job creation is not mandatory; however, candidates will be awarded points for job creation.
1 job (mandatory minimum)4
2 jobs8
3 jobs12
4 jobs16
5 jobs or more20
Business Successions (Maximum of 10 points)
Not a Mandatory requirement
Investment to takeover an existing business10
Human Capital Factors (35 points)
Language Proficiency (Maximum of 25 points)
Mandatory requirement
Proficiency in English or French:
CLB/NCLC 4 (4 for each Reading, Writing, Learning and Speaking) (mandatory minimum)15
CLB/NCLC 5 (5 for each Reading, Writing, Learning and Speaking)20
CLB/NCLC 6 or higher (6 for each Reading, Writing, Learning and Speaking)25
Education (Maximum of 10 points)
Mandatory requirement
High-school Diploma equivalent to Canadian standards (mandatory minimum)4
Associate Degree or Diploma (at least one year)7
Bachelor’s degree or higher10
Adaptability Factors (35 points)
Canada/Alberta experience from work or studies within the past 10 years (Maximum of 15 points)
Not a mandatory requirement
In rural Alberta
12 to 24 months10
More than 24 months15
And / Or
In non-rural Alberta (Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Area)
18 to 30 months6
More than 30 months10
And / Or
In Canada
24 to 36 months3
More than 36 months5
Relative(s) in the community or Alberta (Maximum of 10 points)
Not a mandatory requirement
Relatives are defined as father, step-father, mother, step-mother, child, step-child, sister, step-sister, brother, step-brother of candidate or spouse/common-law partner
Relative(s) living in Alberta5
or
Relative(s) living in the community where you intend to reside and operate a business10
Spouse’s/Common-law partner’s Language Proficiency or Education (Maximum of 5 points)
Not a mandatory requirement
Proficiency in English or French:
CLB/NCLC 4 (4 for each Reading, Writing, Learning and Speaking)3
CLB/NCLC 5 (5 for each Reading, Writing, Learning and Speaking)4
CLB/NCLC 6 or higher (6 or higher for each Reading, Writing, Learning and Speaking)5
and / or Education:
Certificate, Associate Degree or Diploma (at least one year)3
Bachelor’s degree or higher5
Age (Maximum of 5 points)
Not a mandatory requirement
21 to 495
Maximum Points175

How to apply to the Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream

In order to apply to the Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream an applicant must take the following steps:

Step One: Exploratory visit & community support

The first step for any interested applicant is to obtain a Community Support Letter from a rural Alberta community. Usually, this will involve an exploratory visit to the community, followed by the submission of a Business Proposal Summary to the contact from the community. 

You can find a list of participating communities on this page.

If the community approves the Business Proposal Summary, the candidate will be issued a Community Support Letter, which is one of the requirements to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI).

Step Two: Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Candidates who meet the minimum eligibility requirements for the Rural Entrepreneur Stream can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the AAIP Online Portal.

After submitting an EOI, all candidates receive a score based on the Rural Entrepreneur Stream Points Grid. Periodically, Alberta will invite the highest-ranking candidates from the pool to submit an official Business Application package. 

Step Three: Business Application package

Candidates who are invited from the EOI pool of candidates, must submit a detailed Business Application package to Alberta indicating how they will create or purchase a business in the rural community and own and operate said business. 

The Business Application must be evaluated by an AAIP Qualified service Provider. As well, applicants must pay a non-refundable fee of $3,500 when submitting the Business Application package. 

Step Four: Establishing the business

If the Business Application is approved, the applicant will be issued a Business Performance Agreement from Alberta. Upon signing the Business Performance Agreement, the applicant will be eligible for a two-year work permit enabling them to establish their business in Alberta. 

After owning and operating the business for at least 12 months, the applicant may apply to Alberta for provincial nomination. 

Step Five: Provincial nomination & permanent residence

If the applicant is approved for provincial nomination, they become eligible to apply for Canadian permanent resident status. This application is submitted at the federal level. The applicant may apply for themselves and any accompanying family members (spouse, common-law partner, and dependent children).

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