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Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream

alberta foreign graduate
The Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS), which debuted in 2021, is intended to draw talented foreign graduates who are currently living outside of Canada who wish to establish enterprises and relocate in Alberta towns.

The Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream is an immigration pathway under the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), which is the Prairie Province of Alberta’s Provincial Nominee Program (PNP).

The Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program works with two certified designated entities to operate the FGSVS. Foreign graduates who want to immigrate to Alberta through the FGSVS must first work with one of the recognized designated agencies.

The authorized agency will assess the graduate’s business ideas and, if the plan is deemed worthy, will provide a letter of reference.

Obtaining a letter of recommendation from an authorized designated agency is one of the FGSVS’s essential requirements, however, it is only one of several phases in the application.

What are the approved designated agencies for Alberta (FGSVS)?
Working with an approved designated agency is the starting point for individuals wanting to apply to the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream (FGSVS).

Before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the FGSVS, the agency must assess the candidate’s business proposal and offer a letter of recommendation.

Two organizations were recognized as approved designated agencies when the FGSVS was established. Interested candidates should contact one of these agencies.

Empowered StartupsPlatform Calgary

420-744 West Hastings

Vancouver, British Columbia

V6C 1A5

Phone: 604-229-1052

Fax: 604-229-2037


429 – 8 Avenue SE

Calgary, Alberta

T2G 0L6

Phone: 403-284-6400



What are the minimum requirements?

Candidates must satisfy the following criteria to be considered for this stream:

Work ExperienceAt least 6 months full-time work experience, which can include actively managing or running a business, or equivalent (equivalencies are work experience with a business incubator or business accelerator).

Obtaining an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) after completing a degree at a post-secondary institution outside of Canada.

This degree must be equivalent to a Canadian degree and must have been completed within the past two years at the time of EOI filing.

Business PlanA complete business plan which includes the projected financials.
Pitch deckA 10-minute presentation (slides only) that summarizes the proposed business endeavour and concentrates on what an investor would like to see.
Language Ability

At least a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7 for each English language competence and a Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) level of 7 for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

At the time of EOI filing, official test results must be less than two years old.

The AINP only accepts the following language tests for English:

●     Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General Test  and International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training Test

For French, the AINP requires the following language tests:

●     Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) Canada  and Test de connaissance du français (TCF) Canada.


Business EstablishmentIf the business is located in an urban area, it must have a minimum of 34% ownership, or a minimum of 51% ownership if it is located in a regional area from outside the Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs).
Business Investment

Before arriving in Alberta, a minimum amount of investment from the candidate’s (or spouse’s or common-law partner’s) personal equity or a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment company is required.

The obligatory minimum investment for an urban centre is $100,000 whereas the mandatory minimum investment for a rural location is $50,000. More points will be rewarded for higher levels of investment before moving to Alberta.

Points are granted for either the metropolitan core or the regional area, but not both.

Letter of recommendationApplicants are required to have a valid and legitimate letter of recommendation from an AINP-approved designated agency.
Settlement funds

Applicants must show that they have the necessary funds to establish their business and sustain themselves while on a work visa and starting their start-up.

Minimum settlement money criteria will be based on the Low Income Cut-Offs (LICOs).

If you match the minimum qualifying criteria, you may be able to submit an initial Expression of Interest (EOI) to the AINP, but this does not assure that you will be nominated.

How do I apply?
Individuals considering to apply to the FGSVS must complete the following stages. Further information on each step may be obtained on the AINP website.

1. Obtain a letter of recommendation from a designated approved agency.
2. Submit an Expression of Interest to the AINP, after which you will be assigned a score based on the FGSVS Points Grid.
3. Submit a business application package if invited based on their EOI.
4. If granted, apply for a work visa in Canada, go to Canada, and start the intended business.
5. Apply for an official provincial nomination from the AINP after 12 months of active company ownership and management in Alberta.
6. If the provincial nomination is granted, apply for Canadian permanent residence status with the federal government.

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