Alberta launching two new immigration pathways

Shelby Thevenot
Published: October 26, 2020

International graduates from Alberta post-secondaries will have two new options to immigrate to Canada.

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) is launching two new immigration pathways to encourage international graduates to open businesses in Alberta that will create new high-paying jobs and help diversify the economy.

The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream is starting October 26. This new Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is for recent international student graduates from Alberta post-secondaries. The new immigration stream operates on an Expression of Interest system, which is now open to submissions.

Candidates who submit an Expression of Interest will be assessed by the AINP and given points. The highest-ranking candidates will receive an invitation to submit a Business Application. Only candidates who receive the invitation, or Request, to apply will be able to access the AINP portal and start the process. Receiving a Request is not a guarantee that applicants will get Canadian permanent residence.

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Alberta will also launch the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream in January, 2021. This stream is for international student graduates from top U.S. universities and colleges, who want to start a business and settle in Alberta communities. More details on this stream will be available later this year.

Eligibility criteria for the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream

International student graduates from Alberta university and colleges must meet the following eligibility criteria in order to be considered for the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream.

They must be immigrating to Alberta to establish a new business or buy an existing business, and have at least 34 per cent ownership of the company. The proposed business type must not be on Alberta's list of ineligible businesses.

Candidates need at least six months of full-time work experience, which can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business, according to the AINP webpage. This could also include an equivalent amount of experience with a business incubator, business accelerator, or entrepreneurship program courses.

They also need at least two years of full-time education in Alberta, with a degree or diploma from a designated post-secondary institution in Alberta. They must also have a Post-Graduation Work Permit that is valid for at least two years at the time their EOI is submitted.

Eligible candidates also need a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of at least seven in all proficiencies in either English or French.

There are also a number of factors that increase candidates' chances of receiving a Request.

The business should have an economic benefit to Alberta through job creation, investment, and developed intellectual property among others.

Candidates ages 21 to 49 years old also have an advantage.

If the candidate or their spouse or common law partner have immediate family lliving full-time in Alberta, it will also increase their chances.

Spouses or common-law partners may contribute to a candidate's application if they have at least one year of full-time work experience in Alberta, or at least two years of full-time study at an Albertan post-secondary. If they don't have Alberta experience, it will also help their application if they have a CLB of at least five in English or French in all language abilities.

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