October 27, 2020

The Province of Alberta has announced that they are creating two new immigration streams for foreign nationals interested in Entrepreneur and Start-Up Ventures. This move is in line with other provinces, where tech jobs have been a major part of their Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP’s).  These programs are being implemented to “attract investment, create new high-paying jobs for Albertans, diversify the economy, and encourage international graduates to launch businesses here in Alberta”.

The first program has already launched and began accepting Expression of Interests (EOI’s) on October 26th. The new Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) opened up for recent international graduates of an Alberta college and/or university to apply under the new International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) to establish or operate an existing business in Alberta, with a minimum of 34% ownership interest. The business must not be on Alberta’s ineligible list of businesses.

The IGEIS program requires candidates to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). Candidates which will be assessed on several factors established by the AINP and those with the highest scores will receive an invitation, or request, to submit a Business Application. Receiving a Request does not guarantee that you have been approved for Canadian permanent residence. There are also minimum eligibility requirements to be met.

Under the IGEIS, the applicant must have the following:

  1. Minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience that can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business or equivalencies;
  2. Completion of a degree or diploma, that is at least two years full-time in Alberta, from a designated learning post-secondary institution in Alberta, resulting in a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP);
  3. Have a PGWP valid for at least 2 years at the time of your Expression of Interest (EOI) submission; and,
  4. Language skill of CLB 7 in English / French

There is an online assessment now available to check your eligibility through the AINP website. Several adaptability factors will also increase your chances of being invited, such as being between the ages of 21-49 or having immediate relatives living in Alberta.

In January, the AINP will launch a second business immigration pathway, called the “Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream”, which will “attract talented international graduates from top U.S. universities and colleges to start businesses and settle in Alberta communities”.

Unfortunately, this comes at a time where the Province is also trying to limit Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW’s) from entering the Province. Starting November 1st, the Province of Alberta will limit the number and types of jobs available that will be available to new temporary foreign workers in order to create more jobs for out of work Albertans.

In Canada, after you have worked and/or attended school in a specific Province, you are typically eligible to apply for permanent residence so long as you meet the requirements under the chosen PNP stream. The AINP has two programs currently available for a TFW to apply for permanent residence; the Alberta Opportunity Stream, or the Alberta Express Entry Stream. Now, with these restrictions and limitations, fewer immigrants will be eligible to work and eventually live in the Province. In June, the Province previously requested that the Federal government suspend many TFW programs, especially in the food industry, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the current limitations to be in place in Alberta, the sectors that will be affected include 475 occupations in accommodation and food services, retail trade, transportation, construction and professional, scientific and technical services, but not in the agriculture, technology, and caregiving sectors where there is a shortage of Canadian or Permanent Resident workers and requires foreign workers to fill these jobs.

If you are interested in investor and/or entrepreneur visas for Canada, please contact us for additional information!