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Alberta Launches New Foreign Graduate Start-up Business Program!

It’s a new year and as many graduates celebrate their newly acquired academic degree, the question on most international student’s minds is, “What do I do with my qualification?”. 

Well, if you’ve studied in Alberta and have an innovative idea for a start-up business in Canada you may now be able to apply for permanent residence through it’s brand new International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream.

What is the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream?

The Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) is a new initiative by the Alberta government to help international students who have obtained a post-secondary qualification in the province, to start or set up their business venture while living and working in Canada.

There are, of course, some requirements that need to be met in order to be considered eligible before candidates can apply for permanent residency.

Requirements for the Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS)

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There are various requirements that you will need to be meet in order to apply for permanent residency through the IGEIS, regarding your education, work permit, language, business ownership and work experience.


Requirements for the Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS)
EducationHave completed at least two years of full-time education in Alberta, resulting in a degree or diploma from a designated post-secondary institution in Alberta. Completion of program of study must result in a Post-Graduation Work Permit.
Work PermitHave a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) valid for at least 2 years at the time of your Expression of Interest (EOI) submission.
LanguageHave a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 7 for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Official test results must be less than 2 years old at the time your EOI is submitted.
Business EstablishmentMust establish a new business or buy an existing business in Alberta with a minimum 34% ownership. The proposed business type must not be on the
Work ExperienceHave a minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience that can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business or equivalencies. Equivalencies include experience with a business incubator or business accelerator, or completion of entrepreneurship program courses


How Do I Know if I’m Eligible?

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The Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) selects applicants on a points based system under the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP). If you meet all the program requirements you will be able to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) and will be entered into a draw pool and scored according to the IGEIS points grid based on the factors mentioned above. You will need a minimum of 75 points and could score a maximum of 125 points. Those with the highest scores will be invited to submit a business application to live and work in Canada.

Below are the number of points that you could potentially score under each section.


IGEIS Points Factors (75 Points)
Business Management or Ownership Experience (Mandatory)15 points
Economic Benefit (Not Mandatory)40 points
Business Investment (Not Mandatory)20 points
Human Capital Factors such as language and education (Mandatory)25 points
Adaptability Factors such as age, spouse/common-law, relatives (Not Mandatory)25 points

How to Increase Your Chances For Success in Your IGEIS Visa Application

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1. Can You Provide Economic Benefit to Alberta?

There are various factors that the Alberta government will look at when considering your Expression of Interest in starting your business in Canada such as whether or not you can:

  • Create jobs;
  • Which economic sector your business fall under
  • Where your business will be located (for example, rural areas in Alberta);
  • Business succession;
  • Investments;
  • Developed Intellectual Property;
  • Partnerships or support from business incubator/accelerator, venture capital or angel investor.

2. Are You the Right Age?

Although there is not officially a cut off age to apply for permanent residency through the IGEIS, you are more likely to be successful if you are between the ages of 21 and 49 years old. This is because the Alberta government will factor in the longevity of your business as well as your potential participation.

3. Do You Have a Spouse or Common-Law Partner With the Right work experience, qualification or Language Skills?

If you have a spouse or common-law partner who has one of the following attributes under their belts, you may be able to boost your chances to get permanent residency through the Alberta International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS). They will need to have at least one of the following:

  • At least 1 year of continuous full-time employment in Alberta;
  • Completed at least 2 years of full-time study at a post-secondary institution in Alberta; or
  • A minimum level CLB 5 in English or NCLC 5 in French in all 4 language abilities (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking).

4. Do You or Your Spouse Have a Relative in Alberta?

If you, your spouse or common-law partner has at least one relative living in Alberta permanently, you will automatically have increased chances in receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residency in Alberta. The following relatives classifications qualify:

  • Mother/Step Mother;
  • Father/Step Father;
  • Child/Step Child;
  • Brother/Step Brother; or
  • Sister/Step Sister;

How Long Does it Take to Apply?

Alberta has recently launched it's new online Portal, which means that you can now enjoy faster processing, in as little as 6 months!

Ready to take the next step in your Canadian business venture?


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