Starting or Acquiring a Business in Alberta

The International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) allows qualified international graduates from Alberta post-secondary institutions who want to start or acquire an existing business in Alberta to be nominated for Permanent Residence in Canada as an entrepreneur in Alberta.

Why is this program important for Alberta?

It encourages international students who have committed to at least 2 years of study in Alberta and have worked/resided in Alberta for two years after their studies to remain in Alberta. It encourages and rewards entrepreneurial graduates and newcomers with a pathway to permanent residency outside the traditional ‘study to immigrate’ pathway. Typically, students will gain at least 1 year of skilled work experience after graduation and be eligible to apply in Express Entry under Canadian Experience Class. For graduates that would rather take the entrepreneurial leap then enter the workforce; they now have a realistic pathway to permanent resettlement that benefits Alberta by creating jobs, investing capital, and supporting innovation and private enterprise.

Alberta is rewarding job creating entrepreneurs with this immigration pathway. These applicants necessarily understand the Albertan way of life, as they must have resided here for at least 4 years: a minimum of 2 years of study and 2 years on a post-graduate work permit. They likely speak very good English as a result of their studies and require a CLB 7 to participate in this program. It is an innovative policy that will help fuel the growth of private business in Alberta and create private sector jobs with foreign capital.


Step 1. AINP Terms and Conditions

The AINP is currently accepting Expression of Interests (EOI) under this new IGEIS program. However, before commencing with this program, you must first read through the AINP Terms and Conditions. It is important to be up to date with any immigration changes and upcoming news. You can find additional information on AINP here AINP – Updates.

Step 2. Evaluate your Eligibility Criteria

Before submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI), you will have to review the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) eligibility criteria. What is required: a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) valid for at least 2 years from an Alberta post secondary institution, a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) level of 7, a minimum 6 months full-time work experience that can be a blend of managing or owning the business or equivalencies including study, and a minimum ownership of 34% in a newly proposed or existing business.

Step 3. Submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)

Once you’ve met the IGEIS criteria – IGEIS Eligibility  an applicant can proceed to an Expression of Interest (EOI) by accessing the AINP Portal and within 30 days of submission. The AINP will review and score your EOI and the candidate must be residing in Alberta when the EOI is submitted. The highest-ranking applicants will be asked to submit a business application and only applicants who received this request will be able to access the AINP Portal to start the business application process.

 Step 4. Submit your Business Application Package

Once the applicant receives a request to submit business application, you can submit your business application online using the AINP Portal. The fee to submit your business application package is $3,500 (non-refundable). Be sure to upload all the necessary forms and supporting documents on the AINP portal.

Your business plan will be reviewed by an AINP approved Quality Service Provider (QSP) and your net worth and business investment may be assessed by QSP. These reports should be submitted along with your business application.

Step 5. Business Application Assessment

The AINP will review your application once the business application and supporting documents are received. However, it is important to note that there is no guarantee that all complete business applications will be reviewed or that all candidates who meet the criteria will be given a nomination.

Your business application will be reviewed according to the eligibility criteria and your EOI points will be validated. An AINP officer will contact you via e-mail or telephone if additional information is required to evaluate your business application and will tell you how to send the information.

When your business application is approved, you will be sent a signed Business Performance Agreement (BPA) for your signature and review. A BPA is a legal contract between you and the Province of Alberta. This contract must be signed, scanned, and emailed to the AINP within 2 weeks.

Step 6. Start your business in Alberta

Once you have received your Business Application Approval Letter, you are required to:

  • Live in Alberta
  • Actively own and run an eligible business in Alberta with at least 34% ownership for at least 12 months
  • Meet the conditions of Business Performance Agreement that you signed with the Government of Alberta
  • Show that the business is successful by generating product or services after one year

Once the conditions of the BPA have been retained, submit the Final Report for AINP nomination.

Step 7. Final Report for AINP Nomination

Once applicants meet the requirements of the BPA, they can apply to be nominated by the AINP for permanent residency. In addition, applicants must submit a Final Report for AINP Nomination along with the supporting business documents.

The AINP will evaluate your Final Report for AINP Nomination and will notify you of the decision. You will be evaluated based on your compliance with your BPA and any other criteria in place at the time you began your application process.

At Canada Immigration and Visa Services (CIVS) we are a licensed immigration practice and business development firm. We perform all immigration services and have a practice speciality in business and investor immigration. We believe in entrepreneurial newcomers and we believe in the province of Alberta. We are thrilled to announce the first of Alberta’s four new programs. Our team is on standby to assist you and help you navigate the entire process. Contact CIVS today for more information regarding this new and exciting International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) from the Province of Alberta.

For more information on being a Canadian investor immigrant and obtaining permanent residency, please contact us.

Sean G McKinsley, Managing Partner & Founder
RCIC & ICCRC Member R529731
Office: +1-587-400-3350
Fax: +1-587-400-4515
WhatsApp: +1-587-703-9805

Nikola Misina, Partner
RCIC & ICCRC Member R524218
Office: +1-587-400-3350
Fax: +1-587-400-4515
WhatsApp: +1-587-893-7427

Steve Paolasini, Senior National Vice-President, B. Eng
Office: +1-587-400-3350
Fax: +1-587-400-4515
WhatsApp: +1-587-703-9805