The Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is designed to attract talented international graduates who are outside Canada and want to start businesses and settle in Alberta communities. This stream was launched in 2021. The Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream is an immigration pathway included in the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). The AINP is a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) operated by the prairie province of Alberta.
To manage the FGSVS, the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program is collaborating with two approved designated agencies. Foreign graduates who wish to use the FGSVS to immigrate to Alberta must first work with one of the approved designated agencies. The designated agency will review the graduate’s business plans and, if they deem the plan worthy, the agency will issue a letter of recommendation.
Receiving a letter of recommendation from an approved designated agency is one of the mandatory requirements for the FGSVS, but it is only one of many steps involved in the process.
Eligibility requirements for the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS)
In order to be eligible for the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS) a candidate must meet the minimum eligibility criteria listed below. However, simply meeting the eligibility requirements does not guarantee success, as the FGSVS uses a points-based ranking system to choose between all eligible candidates. Only those with the highest scores will be selected.
The minimum eligibility criteria for the FGSVS are as follows:
- Work experience: Must have at least 6 months of experience owning or managing the business (working with a business accelerator or incubator may qualify).
- Education: Must have completed a degree from a post-secondary institution outside Canada with the two years prior to applying and hold an ECA showing the credential is equivalent to a Canadian degree.
- Language ability: Must have completed an approved language test in either English or French an achieve a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark of Level 7 (CLB 7) in all four abilities.
- Letter of recommendation: Must submit a letter of recommendation from an approved designated agency for the FGSVS.
- Pitch deck: A 10-minute presentation (slides only) outlining the proposed business venture.
- Business plan: Must submit a business plan with projected financials.
- Business establishment: Must have a minimum of 34% ownership if the business is located in an urban centre or a minimum of 51% ownership if located in regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton.
- Business investment: Must have a minimum level of investment from the candidate’s own equity, or from a Canadian financial institution, venture capital or angel investing firm prior to coming to Canada. Minimum investment requirement is CAD$100,000 for business located in urban centres and $50,000 for those located outside urban centres.
- Settlement funds: Must have enough settlement funds to support themselves and accompanying family members upon arrival in Canada. Settlement funds are based on family size and the population size of the community where the applicant intends to settle.
If you meet the minimum eligibility criteria, you may be eligible to submit an initial Expression of Interest (EOI) to the AINP, but this does not guarantee you’ll receive a nomination. Refer below for details about the application and selection process.
Approved designated agencies for the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS)
The first step for interested candidates interested in applying to the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is to work with an approved designated agency. The agency must review the candidate’s business proposal and issue a letter of recommendation before the candidate can submit their Expression of Interest (EOI) to the FGSVS.
When the FGSVS launched, two organizations were listed as approved designated agencies. Interested candidates should contact one of these agencies.
429 – 8 Avenue SE
Email: [email protected]
Application procedure for the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS)
Like most of Canada’s immigration programs for businesspeople and entrepreneurs, the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS) has a lengthy and complex application process. Candidates may want to consider Canada’s other immigration options for skilled workers, like those included in the Express Entry system and other Provincial Nominee Programs, before committing to the FGSVS.
Those who are interested in the FGSVS will have to follow these steps (detailed information about each step can be found on the AINP website):
- Get a letter of recommendation from an approved designated agency.
- Submit an Expression of Interest to the AINP and receive a score based on the FGSVS Points Grid.
- If invited on the basis of their EOI, submit a business application package.
- If approved, apply for a Canadian work permit, travel to Canada and establish the proposed business.
- After 12 months of active business ownership and operation in Alberta, apply for an official provincial nomination from the AINP.
- If the provincial nomination is approved, apply to the federal government for Canadian permanent resident status.
If you would like professional assistance in determining your eligibility for the FGSVS, or to consider the full range of immigration programs for which you may be eligible, please consider booking a consultation with one of our recommended Canadian immigration consultants.