Immigration Info

Alberta Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream Requirements

Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Program (AAIP – FGES)

Obtain Canada Residence by Investment

Immigration by investment is a pathway whereby business people who have the capital to invest in Canada can, under certain circumstances, start or purchase a business in Canada and receive Permanent Residence as a result.  Most of the investment visa pathways in Canada are operated by the Provinces through the Provincial Nominee Streams.  Alberta offers some of the newest entrepreneur visa programs, one being for recent University graduates who have business management experience.

Alberta’s Investment Immigration Program

IN 2021, Alberta introduced an entrepreneur program that hoped to target foreign IT graduates who studied in the United States but might not have a pathway to Permanent Residence there.  The original program was so narrowly constructed that almost no one qualified to apply, and so after several months with no applicants, Alberta has revised the program to be more reasonable.  The program was originally called the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa program and was renamed the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream when the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program changed its name to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program in early 2022.

Who is Eligible for the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Program (FGES)?

To qualify for the AAIP Foreign Grad Entrepreneur Program, at a most basic level, you will need:

  • to have graduated with a degree within the past 10 years, 
  • between $50,000 – $100,000 to invest in a business, 
  • at least 6 months of business ownership or management experience,
  • a min CLB of 5 in English or French 
  • the support of an incubator

Often the most difficult part of any entrepreneur’s application to Canada is achieving the support of an incubator.  For the AAIP program, thus far only 2 incubators have been designated, and really only one of those seems to actively be accepting clients throughout the year – Empowered Startups.

What type of business idea is acceptable under the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream?

The business plan presented for this program must demonstrate a connection to one of the following 8 industries:

  • Technology
  • Aerospace
  • Financial services
  • Energy
  • Agriculture
  • Tourism
  • Life Sciences
  • Pharmaceuticals

How much money do I need to qualify under the FGES?

Although there is no formal net worth requirement to demonstrate under the criteria for this program, there are a few significant financial considerations in order to access the program:

  • Incubator fees – expect costs between $75,000-$100,000 depending on the degree of incubation you require to successfully launch your business
  • Immigration fees – expect costs between $25,000 -$40,000 including professional fees and government fees, depending on the number of family members included with your application
  • Minimum investment – the minimum required investment into your business before arrival in Alberta is between $50,000 – $100,000 depending on where you plan to establish operations
  • Cost to sustain yourself in Canada – you will need to show that you have enough remaining cash to meet the LICO requirements for Alberta, depending on your family size and where you plan to live

What are the benefits of the AAIP FGES?

Compared to many other Provincial Entrepreneur programs, the net worth requirement and the previous business experience requirement for the AAIP FGES are relatively low.  You can be eligible for the program with a net worth of around $250,000 depending on the type of business you want to establish, and where you want to set up shop.

This is a program that intentionally targets young people; therefore, where most other Provincial entrepreneur programs require at least 2-3 years of business management experience, the AAIP FGES requires just 6 months.

With the AAIP FGES being a relatively new program, processing times are quite fast compared to other Canadian Provincial investment programs.  Alberta is motivated to get the program up and running and applications are processed on a priority basis as compared to other AAIP program streams.  As well, because Alberta offloads much of the business assessment portion of the program to the incubator, Alberta officials have a more streamlined application process to work with and can render decisions more quickly than if they were expected to formally assess the business prospects.

What are the drawbacks of the AAIP FGES?

Although the financial and experience requirements of the AAIP FGES are lower than other immigration investment programs in Canada, gaining the attention of an incubator is a necessary first step for entry to the program, and it’s not an easy feat to achieve.  

You must successfully run your business for at least 18 months, if not longer, in order to successfully achieve PR status through this program.  It is not a program to buy immigration status for Canada only – you must also have a decent business idea that you can afford to finance for a few years.

Finally, the time from entry to the program until you receive Permanent Resident status will probably be longer than the Federal Start-Up Visa program, because there are many required steps for the AAIP FGES stream.  You should expect it will take approximately 4 -6 months until you can apply for work permits, then another 12-18 months inside Canada before you receive your nomination certificate.  Once you have been nominated, it will take the federal government around 17 months to process your Permanent Residence.  Of course, there are ways to maintain legal temporary status in Canada during this time so that you can be working and running your business, but overall, anytime you go through a Provincial Nominee Program, the processing time is going to be longer than applying outright through a federal program.


How to Apply for Immigration to Alberta as an Investor

The costs to apply for immigration through entrepreneur and investor pathways are substantial.  When that kind of money is on the line, you want to ensure that your application is going to be managed properly, so that you obtain the approval you need to immigrate to Canada as an investor.  Your best option for an Alberta Immigration Consultant are the experts at The Way Immigration.  Contact us today to learn how you can turn your business idea into a Canadian Permanent Residency.

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