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Saskatchewan creates new immigration category for graduate entrepreneurs New pathway will help international student graduates start their business and obtain Canadian permanent residence

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Saskatchewan International Graduate Entrepreneur Category A new immigration pathway is now open for international graduates of eligible post-secondary institutions in Saskatchewan who want to start a business in the province.


The Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP) unveiled the new International Graduate Entrepreneur Category on December 3.

“This new immigration pathway will help retain international students who have often already successfully integrated into communities in the province,” Immigration and Career Training Minister Jeremy Harrison said in a government media release.

“It will also help create new businesses and jobs, as well as keep Saskatchewan competitive in attracting and retaining international students and investment.”

The new SINP category supports Saskatchewan’s Growth Plan for 2020 to 2030, which includes a focus on increasing the number of skilled and entrepreneurial newcomers in Saskatchewan.

The province’s Advanced Education Minister, Tina Beaudry-Mellor, said Saskatchewan’s Post-Secondary International Education Strategy also aims to attract more international students to the province.

“International [student] education is an important driver for Saskatchewan’s future economic and cultural growth,” Beaudry-Mellor said in the release.

“This new category will help encourage international students to make Saskatchewan their home once they complete their studies.”

The new category is for international graduates of full-time, post-secondary degree or diploma programs of at least two years in length.

Those who are approved will have to operate and manage a business in Saskatchewan for at least one year and own at least one-third of the equity in a qualified business in order to be eligible for a provincial nomination for permanent residence.

Who is eligible?

Candidates for the SINP’s International Graduate Entrepreneur Category must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have completed a fulltime Saskatchewan post-secondary degree or diploma of at least two years in length from an eligible institution.
  • Have a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) with at least two years of eligibility remaining.
  • Resided in Saskatchewan for the duration of their academic program.
  • Have a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7.
  • Graduated from a post-secondary institution in Saskatchewan that is listed as a designated learning institution by Canada’s federal government.

Distant learning programs and accelerated academic programs are not eligible.

How to apply

There are four steps in the application and nomination process through the International Graduate Entrepreneur Category.

  1. Submit an Expression of Interest: Applicants will first need to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the SINP. Eligible candidates are awarded a score based on the EOI points grid and entered into the pool of candidates.
  2. Invitation to Apply: The top-scoring candidates will be selected from the EOI pool. Applicants who pass the SINP’s assessment stage will need to sign a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) based on their previously submitted Business Establishment Plan (BEP).
  3. Business Establishment: Those who are approved on a valid PGWP will then actively operate their proposed business. They must establish their enterprise within the terms outlined in their BPA and they must fulfil the BPA requirements before their PGWP expires.
  4. Nomination: After the conditions of the BPA are met, candidates can apply for a provincial nomination for permanent residence. Those who are nominated must continue to meet the terms of their BPA during the permanent residence application process. If candidates close or sell their business after receiving the SINP nomination and before obtaining permanent resident status, they will have their nomination revoked.

Find out if you are eligible for any Canadian immigration programs

Photo courtesy of Tourism Saskatoon.

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