This article has been reviewed and approved by Sanchita Chugh a certified RCIC (Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant).
Alberta stands as one of Canada’s provinces abundant in resources. Its thriving economy draws immigrants from various nations and presents a wealth of business prospects for international entrepreneurs. Those aspiring to establish themselves in Alberta can pursue immigration through the diverse Entrepreneur Immigration Program streams available in the province, leading to the opportunity to obtain Canadian permanent residency through investment. This guide will delve into the eligibility criteria and the procedural steps for the Alberta Business Immigration Program.
Table of Contents
- Alberta Business Immigration Program Streams
- Alberta Business Immigration Program- Rural Entrepreneur Stream
- Alberta Business Immigration Program- Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
- Alberta Business Immigration Program- Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
- Graduate Entrepreneur v/s Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur
- Alberta Business Immigration Program- Self-Employed Farmer Stream
- Alberta Business Immigration Program- FAQs
Alberta Business Immigration Program Streams
The Alberta Business Immigration Program encompasses four specific streams. These streams cater to foreign entrepreneurs and business individuals seeking to establish or acquire businesses within the province. These distinct streams are
1. Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream
2. Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
3. Alberta Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
4. Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream
1. Alberta Business Immigration Program- Rural Entrepreneur Stream
The Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream is tailored for foreign entrepreneurs and business individuals aiming to initiate or acquire a business within designated rural Alberta communities, offering a pathway to secure Canadian permanent residency through investment. The term “rural” in this context pertains to communities with populations under 100,000. This entrepreneurial program is designed to invigorate the economy and generate employment opportunities within Alberta’s smaller communities.
Eligibility criteria of Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream
|Work experience||Candidates must possess a minimum of 3 years as an active business owner/manager or a minimum of 4 years as a senior manager within the last 10 years.|
|Education||Completed at least high school education equivalent to the Canadian standard, validated by an Education Credential Assessment (ECA). |
The Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website provides a list of designated organizations for ECAs.
|Language||Candidates must demonstrate a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 4 for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 4 for each French language skill in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. |
Official test results must be within 2 years from the time of Expression of Interest submission.
Accepted language tests for the AAIP include CELPIP General Test, IELTS General Training Test, TEF Canada, and TCF Canada.
The IRCC website provides CLB/NCLC equivalency for these tests.
|Net worth||A minimum net worth of $300,000 is required. |
All assets must belong to the candidate personally or to their spouse or common-law partner.
|Business investment||Candidates need to make a minimum investment of $100,000 from their own equity or that of their spouse/common-law partner. |
Higher investment amounts will receive more points.
For a new business, a minimum ownership of 51% is required, and business partners must be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.
Alternatively, 100% ownership is necessary for business succession, resulting in a complete change in ownership where the candidate assumes full control.
The business should not be on the list of ineligible businesses.
|Business establishment||For a new business, a minimum ownership stake of 51% is required. Business partners are mandated to be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents. |
Alternatively, in the case of business succession, 100% ownership is necessary, resulting in a complete change of ownership where the candidate assumes full control of the business.
It’s essential that the business is not listed among ineligible businesses.
Information on establishing a business in Alberta, including support and services for business plan development, startup assistance, and access to business loans, can be found on the Small Business Resource page.
|Job creation||New businesses must create at least one full-time job for Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents, excluding relatives. |
Additional points will be awarded for more job creation. Jobs created for Canadian citizens or permanent residents (excluding relatives) must be sustained for a minimum of 6 months.
Job creation is not mandatory for business succession.
|Community support letter||Candidates must obtain a Community Support Letter from a participating rural Alberta community.|
Application Process of Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream
Step 1. Research & Preparation
Candidates should initially assess their eligibility for the Alberta Business Immigration Program Rural Entrepreneur Stream based on the outlined requirements. Following this, they should visit the chosen rural Alberta community. Note that certain applicants might require a Temporary Resident Visa (TRV) for entry.
During their visit, entrepreneurs can explore business opportunities, gather information on licenses, zoning regulations, and operational constraints. A summary of their Business Proposal can be presented to a community contact. If endorsed, the community will issue a Community Support Letter.
Step 2. Registration
Upon receiving the Community Support Letter, applicants can express their interest (EOI) online via the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program Portal. Not an application, the EOI signifies the candidate’s intent to apply for the program. Eligible candidates are placed in the EOI pool, and the Alberta Business Immigration Program selects those with the highest scores, sending them a Request to Submit a Business Application.
Step 3. Application
Candidates have 90 days to complete and submit the application with supporting documents online at the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program Portal. The Alberta Business Immigration Program reviews the application, possibly conducting an interview. If approved, they present a Business Performance Agreement. Signing and returning this within 14 days yields a Business Application Approval Letter and a Letter of Support.
Step 4. Work Permit
The Letter of Support aids in applying for a temporary work permit to conduct business in the country. Upon arrival, an Arrival Report within 30 days is necessary. The business must operate per the Agreement, and a Business Progress Report is required every 6 months.
Step 5. Nomination
After operating the business for a year and fulfilling the Agreement’s terms, candidates can seek a permanent resident nomination via the Alberta Business Immigration Program by submitting a Final Report for Nomination. Approval results in a nomination certificate used for permanent resident status application with Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Step 6. Permanent Residency
Candidates must maintain a valid work permit while IRCC processes their application. Additional documents may be requested before granting permanent residence.
Rural Entrepreneur Stream – Points Grid
|Business Location||25 points|
|Business Experience||20 points|
|Business Establishment||60 points|
|Business Successions||10 points|
|Human Capital||35 points|
|Relative(s) in the community or Alberta||10 points|
|Spouse’s/Common-law partner’s Language Proficiency or Education||5 points|
|Maximum Points||175 points|
2. Alberta Business Immigration Program- Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream operates within the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (Alberta Business Immigration Program). This stream focuses on the selection and nomination of eligible international graduates from Alberta’s post-secondary institutions who seek to establish or run a business in Alberta with the aim of permanent relocation.
Eligibility Criteria for Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
|Education Criterion||Completion of a minimum of two years of full-time education, culminating in a degree or diploma from an Alberta Advanced Education publicly funded post-secondary institution.|
|Work Permit Necessity||Holding a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) issued by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) at the time of Expression of Interest (EOI) submission.|
|Language Proficiency Specification||Attainment of 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 in reading, writing, listening, and speaking. |
Official test results must be within 2 years from the time of EOI submission.
Approved language tests by the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (AAIP) include CELPIP General Test, IELTS General Training Test, TEF Canada, and TCF Canada.
The federal guideline on CLB/NCLC equivalency for each test should be consulted.
|Business Establishment Requirement||Obligation to either establish a new business or acquire an existing one in Alberta with a minimum ownership stake of 34%. |
The proposed business type should not be listed among ineligible businesses.
|Nationality of Business Partners||Business partners must be either Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.|
|Alberta relative||Either you or your spouse or common-law partner have one or more of the subsequent family members residing in Alberta on a full-time basis: father, step-father, mother, step-mother, child, step-child, sister, step-sister, brother, or step-brother.|
|Spouse||Either at least 1 year of continuous full-time employment in Alberta|
Completion of at least 2 years of full-time study at a post-secondary institution in Alberta
Attainment of a minimum CLB 5 in English or NCLC 5 in French across all four language abilities (Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking)
Step-by-Step Process for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
The application process operates through the Expression of Interest (EOI) system, wherein the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) evaluates all information provided in the EOI, including the Business Proposal Summary and Net Worth Worksheet.
Step 1. Expression of Interest (EOI) Registration
Candidates meeting the minimum stream requirements can create a profile through the AINP’s online portal. Upon submission, candidates are scored and ranked using the GES Points Grid. The highest-ranking individuals are contacted by AINP to submit a Business Plan.
Step 2. Submission of Business Plan
Invited candidates must submit a complete Business Plan within 90 days of receiving the request. The plan undergoes evaluation by an AINP-designated Qualified Service Provider. An online AINP Business Application entails a $3,500 CAD application fee.
Step 3. Signing the Business Performance Agreement
Candidates must sign a Business Performance Agreement, delineating the terms for receiving a nomination for permanent residence. Upon agreement by all parties, Alberta issues a Business Application Approval Letter. Candidates must fulfill the agreement conditions, reside in Alberta, and operate their business for at least 12 months before submitting a final report for AINP Nomination.
Step 4. Provincial Nomination and Permanent Residence Application
Upon receiving the provincial nomination, the applicant has six months to submit a federal application for Canadian permanent residence. Candidates in this program must complete and submit a paper-based application for permanent residence via mail to the appropriate application center. Paper-based PNP applications for permanent residence typically undergo processing within 18 months.
Based on the information furnished and the business application, candidates receive EOI points as per the GES Points Grid. Subsequently, only the highest-ranking candidates are invited to submit their Business Applications to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (Alberta Business Immigration Program).
Graduate Entrepreneur Stream (GES) – Points Grid
|Business Establishment Factors||75|
|Human Capital Factors||25|
3. Alberta Business Immigration Program- Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
This stream caters to qualified graduates educated outside of Canada who aspire to initiate innovative businesses and start-up ventures in the province.
Under the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program (Alberta Business Immigration Program), this economic immigration program selects and nominates foreign graduates working with a designated agency. Candidates must provide a letter of recommendation from the agency and submit it alongside their Expression of Interest (EOI) via the Alberta Business Immigration Program Portal.
Eligibility Requirements – Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
|Work Experience:||A minimum of 6 months of full-time work experience, which could involve actively managing or owning a business, or an equivalent, such as experience with a business incubator or accelerator.|
|Education||Completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada, assessed by an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA). |
The degree must meet specific criteria:
Completed within the last 10 years at the time of submitting the Expression of Interest (EOI).
Equivalent to a Canadian degree. Designated organizations for ECAs are listed on the Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) website.
|Business Plan||Submission of a comprehensive business plan with projected financials. Refer to the Business Plan Guidelines for specifics.|
|Pitch Deck:||A concise 10-minute presentation using slides, outlining the proposed business venture, focusing on elements crucial for potential investors.|
|Language Proficiency:||Attainment of a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 5 for each English language skill or Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 5 for each French language skill, covering reading, writing, listening, and speaking. |
Accepted language tests include:
Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General Test
International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Test
Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) Canada
Test de connaissance du français (TCF) Canada.
Refer to the IRCC website for CLB/NCLC test equivalency.
|Business Establishment:||Ownership requirements for business locations:|
A minimum of 34% ownership for businesses in urban centers.
A minimum of 51% ownership for businesses located in regional areas outside Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas.
Business partners are mandated to be Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents.
The business should not be among the list of ineligible businesses.
|Business Investment:||Mandatory minimum investment requirements vary based on the business’s location:|
Urban center: $100,000
Regional area: $50,000
Higher investment levels before coming to Alberta will earn more points.
Points are awarded based on the business’s location in either an urban center or a regional area, not both.
|Letter of Recommendation:||Necessity of a letter of recommendation from an AAIP-approved designated agency.|
|Settlement Funds:||Candidates must exhibit the necessary funds to establish their business and support themselves while on a work permit during the start-up phase.|
Application Procedure for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream
Step 1. Expression of Interest (EOI) Registration
Candidates meeting the minimum stream requirements create a profile using the AINP’s online portal. Upon submission, candidates receive scores and are ranked using the FGES Points Grid. The highest-ranking individuals are contacted by AINP for Business Application submission.
Step 2. Business Application Submission
Invited candidates must submit a comprehensive Business Application within 90 days of the request. The business plan undergoes evaluation by an AINP-designated agency and a Qualified Service Provider. An online AINP Business Application incurs a $3,500 CAD application fee.
Step 3. Business Performance Agreement
Upon AINP’s approval of the Business Application, candidates sign a Business Performance Agreement. This legal agreement with Alberta delineates conditions for receiving a nomination for permanent residence. Upon all parties’ agreement, Alberta issues a Business Application Approval Letter. Candidates are expected to comply with the agreement, residing and operating their business in Alberta for a minimum of 12 months before submitting a final report for AINP Nomination.
Step 4. Provincial Nomination and Permanent Residence Application
Upon receiving the provincial nomination, candidates have six months to submit a federal application for Canadian permanent residence. Applicants in this program must complete and submit a paper-based application for permanent residence by mail to the appropriate application center. The processing time for paper-based PNP applications for permanent residence is typically around 18 months.
Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Points Ranking System
The Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream uses the following points-grid to rank candidates who have registered profiles. Only those candidates with the most competitive scores will be invited to apply to the program.
|Scoring Sections||Maximum Points|
|Business Management/Ownership Experience||35|
|Investment prior to coming to Alberta||25|
|Proposed investment after launch||20|
Graduate Entrepreneur v/s Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur
The eligibility requirements for the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream and the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream are compared side-by-side in the table below.
|Requirements||Graduate Stream||Foreign Graduate Stream|
|Work Experience||There isn’t a mandatory minimum requirement; however, applicants can garner extra points for their experience in owning or managing a business.||Applicants are required to have at least six months of experience as a business owner or manager.|
|Minimum Education||Candidates are required to have finished a program lasting two years or longer at an Alberta College or University. Subsequently, they should have obtained their degree or diploma upon program completion.||Candidates should hold a College or University degree obtained from an educational institution outside of Canada. This degree must be deemed equivalent to a Canadian qualification and acquired within the past decade.|
|Business Proposal||Not required||Required|
|Minimum Business Ownership Percentage||34% or higher||34% or higher if the business is in an urban center. 51% or higher if the business is in a rural center.|
|Minimum Investment Amount||None||$100,000 CAD if the business is located in an urban center. $50,000 CAD if the business is a rural center.|
|Pitch Deck||Not required||Required|
|Letter of Recommendation from Designated Agency||Not required||Required|
|Settlement Funds||Not required||Applicants must show that they have enough funds to settle in the province with their families.|
4. Alberta Business Immigration Program- Self-Employed Farmer Stream
The Alberta Farm Stream is a segment of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), a Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) administered by Alberta province. Specifically tailored for seasoned farm owners and operators aspiring to own and manage a farm in Alberta, successful nominees through this stream will receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence. As the program necessitates a personalized application contingent upon the intended type of farm in Alberta, it is crucial for applicants to collaborate with both AINP and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) before submission.
Eligibility Requirements for the Alberta Farm Stream
|Demonstration of Farm Management Skills||Applicants must validate their proficiency in farm management skills. Evidence could include, but is not limited to:|
Financial records from an existing farm business
Documentation exhibiting education, training, and work experience
A comprehensive business plan for the intended farming enterprise in Alberta
Confirmation of support from a Canadian financial institution to finance the proposed farming business
|Adequate Financial Resources||Applicants must be capable of investing a minimum of CDN $500,000 in equity into a primary production farming business in Alberta.|
Submission of documents indicating a minimum net worth of CDN $500,000 or confirmation of access to a similar fund from alternative sources is essential.
Applicants may be requested to display the capacity to invest more than the specified minimum amount.
|Primary Production Investment||Applicants are mandated to outline their investment strategies in a detailed business plan and include this in their application to the AAIP. |
Alberta Agriculture and Irrigation will scrutinize the proposed business plan to ensure alignment with Alberta’s farming industry requirements.
Priority will be given to applications demonstrating the most potential for growth relevant to Alberta’s agri-food targets.
Application Procedure for the Alberta Farm Stream
Step 1. Contact and Assessment
Eligible candidates can submit applications at any time, and they are processed on a first-come, first-served basis. Before preparing an application, candidates should contact the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) and Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF). Candidates must undergo assessment by Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development before application submission.
Step 2. Exploratory Visit and Research
Candidates may consider arranging an exploratory visit to Alberta to research the farming environment in Alberta and Canada before submitting an application.
Step 3. Paper-Based Application Preparation
Interested candidates must prepare a complete paper-based application. All documents should be in hard copy format and submitted in a single envelope via mail to the Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (AAF) office (not the AINP office). The application necessitates substantial documentation and forms validating the applicant’s alignment with stream requirements, including evidence of farm management skills, financial resources, and a proposed business plan. If AAF approves the application, it’s forwarded to AINP for further assessment.
Step 4. Provincial Nomination Notification
Upon AINP’s approval, Alberta will notify successful applicants that they’ve been chosen for provincial nomination. Selected candidates will receive an official nomination package by mail from AINP.
Step 5. Federal Permanent Residence Application
Once nominated provincially, applicants have six months to submit a federal application for Canadian permanent residence. Candidates in this program must complete a paper-based permanent residence application and mail it to the appropriate application center. Paper-based PNP applications for permanent residence generally undergo processing within 18 months.
In conclusion, the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program stands as a promising gateway for entrepreneurs, skilled workers, and graduates seeking to establish themselves in Alberta, Canada. Through its diverse streams, such as the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) and its specific pathways like the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream and Alberta Farm Stream, the province offers unique opportunities for individuals with varying skill sets and ambitions.
Alberta Business Immigration Program- FAQs
Here are the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for Alberta Business Immigration Program
Q. What is the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP)?
A. The AINP is a provincial immigration program designed to nominate individuals with the skills and experience needed to contribute to Alberta’s economy. It facilitates the immigration process for foreign workers, entrepreneurs, and graduates seeking to settle and work in Alberta.
Q. What are the key streams under the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. The program includes diverse streams such as the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, Alberta Rural Entrepreneur Stream, Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream, and more. Each stream targets specific groups such as entrepreneurs, graduates, and farm owners.
Q. What are the eligibility criteria for the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. Eligibility varies depending on the specific stream. Common eligibility requirements include qualifications such as work experience, educational credentials, language proficiency, a solid business plan, financial resources, and in some cases, a nomination from a designated agency.
Q. How can I apply for the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. The application process involves steps like creating an Expression of Interest (EOI), preparing a detailed business plan, and, in certain cases, undergoing assessments from designated agencies. The application procedure varies depending on the specific stream and requires compliance with set guidelines.
Q. Can I apply directly to the AINP for the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. Candidates usually initiate their application through the AINP portal or in collaboration with associated provincial departments based on the specific stream. Seeking guidance from these agencies is beneficial in ensuring accurate and complete submissions.
Q. What are the benefits of the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. The program offers a pathway for entrepreneurs, skilled workers, and graduates to establish businesses, work, and contribute to Alberta’s economy. Successful candidates receive provincial nominations, expediting the process of obtaining Canadian permanent residence.
Q. Is there a quota for applications under the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. The AINP doesn’t have a set limit on the number of applications it can accept. Applications are assessed on a first-come, first-served basis, allowing for flexibility in submissions throughout the year.
Q. How long does it take to process applications for the Alberta Business Immigration Program?
A. Processing times may vary based on the specific stream and individual circumstances. Generally, it can take several months to complete the assessment and approval process, and paper-based applications for permanent residence typically take around 18 months for processing.