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All the inside details of the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS)

Posted on February 1, 2021
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Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream

In order to help the province of Alberta revive its economy and recover from the loss of jobs and businesses due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP) announced two programs in October 2020.

The first program called the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream opened in October itself while the details of the second program the Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) was released recently.

The FGSVS is an economic immigration program intended for foreign educated graduates who are from outside Canada but wish to set up a startup or business in Alberta.

Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream details

The Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa Stream (FGSVS) is a partnership between the AINP and two agencies designated by the provincial government- Vancouver-based Empowered Startups and Calgary’s Platform Calgary.

These two agencies will review the business plans of the foreign graduate applicants based on the following criteria:

  • The plan should be able to demonstrate a market need or demand
  • The business should have the potential to be successful in the market from short-term to medium-term
  • The plan should have details of customer acquisition and business development
  • The plan should have details of key partnerships and financial plans that will help to fund the development and operation of the start-up.

After finishing the assessment, the designated agency will submit a written report. The applicants have to submit this report along with their application to the program.

Path to permanent residency

Foreign graduates who wish to apply for permanent residency under the FGSVS must get a letter of recommendation from a designated agency and then submit their Expression of Interest. Here are the steps in more detail.

  1. Submit the Expression of Interest

Applicants may request an EOI by accessing the AINP Portal after ensuring that they follow all the FGSVS requirements. Within 30 days, the AINP will assess and score the EOI. The highest-ranking candidates will be invited to submit a business application.

  1. Submit the Business Application package

Candidates who are selected must submit a Business Application within  90 days. They should also pay the application fees of CAD 3,500 which is non-refundable.

  1. Assessment of the Business Application assessment

After receiving the candidate’s Business Application and supporting documents the AINP will assess their Business Application.

On approval, they will receive a signed Business Performance Agreement (BPA). This is a legal agreement between the province of Alberta and the candidate. This must be signed and submitted to the AINP within 14 days. Once the AINP receives the agreement, it will issue a Business Application Approval Letter to the candidate.

  1. Setting up the business in Alberta

Candidates may live in Alberta and actively own and operate their business for at least 12 months after obtaining the Business Application Approval Letter and work permit. They can have with at least 34 percent ownership in an urban center or 51 percent ownership in a regional area.

  1. Applying for AINP Nomination

A final report for candidacy shall be sent to the AINP once the terms of the Business Performance have been fulfilled.

If the final report is approved, the AINP will send the Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) a nomination certificate and send a letter of nomination to the immigration candidate.

After this the candidate can apply for permanent residence to the IRCC.

Program requirements

Here are the requirements for the FGSVS program:

Work experience:  A minimum of six months of full-time job experience that may be a mixture of actively management or ownership of the business or equivalent experience (equivalencies are work experience with business incubator or business accelerator).

 Education: Completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada within the last two years with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) .Education credential must be equivalent to a Canadian degree.

Business plan: A business plan with financials projection.

Pitch deck:  A 10-minute (slides only) presentation that explains the business venture proposed and focuses on what an investor would like to see.

Language:  Candidate must score level seven in the minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) for each English language skill or level seven for each French language skill: reading, writing, listening and speaking. At the time of EOI request, official test results must be less than two years old.

Business establishment: If the company is situated in an urban core, it must have a minimum of 34 percent ownership or a minimum of 51 cent ownership if located in a regional area outside Calgary and Edmonton Census Metropolitan Areas in the surrounding area.

Business investment: A minimum amount of investment before coming to Alberta from the candidate’s own equity (or spouse or common-law partner) or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment company. The mandatory minimum investment is $100,000 for an urban center, while the mandatory minimum investment is $50,000 for a regional area.

Letter of recommendation: The candidate must have a letter of recommendation from an AINP-approved designated agency.

Settlement funds: Candidates must prove that they have the funds required to set up their company and support themselves while they are on a work permit and beginning their start-up. The minimum requirements for settlement funds would be focused on the low-income cut-offs (LICOs).

Getting a place in the EOI pool

The AINP will assess each application within 30 days of submission. Candidates who score the highest points based on the points grid will be invited to submit a business application.

FGSVS points grid

Maximum points-200

Criteria Description Points
Human capital
Language proficiency

·       Maximum of 30 points

·       Mandatory requirement

First official language
CLB 7 (7 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) (mandatory minimum) 10
CLB 8 (8 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) 20
CLB 9 or higher (9 for each reading, writing, listening and speaking) 30
Education

·       Maximum of 35 points

·       Mandatory requirement

Minimum requirement is the completion of a degree from a post-secondary institution outside of Canada within the last 2 years with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA).

Education credential must be equivalent to Canadian standards.

Bachelor’s degree (mandatory minimum) 5
Master’s degree 10
Doctoral degree 15
Preference given to candidates with the following degrees:
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics 10
Business 10
Business management, ownership or equivalent

·       Equivalencies are work experience with business incubator or business accelerator

·       Maximum 35 bonus points

·       Mandatory requirement

Business ownership or management experience (more points allocated for additional years of experience)
6 months (mandatory minimum) 5
more than 6 months to less than 1 year 10
1 to 2 years 15
More than 2 years 20
Preference will be given to candidates with business ownership experience. 15
Business Factors
Business Plan

·       Maximum of 40 points

·       Mandatory requirement

A business plan with projected financial information. Business plan guidelines are available on the AINP website. 40
Investment: prior to coming to Alberta

·       Maximum 25 points

·       Mandatory requirement

Minimum level of investment from candidate’s own equity, and/or from a recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm before coming to Alberta.

(Candidates with higher levels of investment available before coming to Alberta will be awarded more points. Points will also be awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both).

Urban centre: Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

Regional area: Communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary CMAs

Urban centre:

$100,000 (mandatory minimum) 5
$100,001 to $150,000 11
$150,001 to $200,000 18
Over $200,000 25
Or, Regional area:
$50,000 (mandatory minimum) 5
$50,001 to $100,000 11
$100,001 to $150,000 18
Over $150,000 25
Proposed investment: additional investment after launch

·       Maximum 20 points

·       Not a mandatory requirement

Additional investment after launching start-up from candidate’s own equity, or from recognized Canadian financial institution, venture capital, or angel investment firm.

Higher levels of investment after launch will be awarded more points. Points awarded for urban centre or regional area, not both.

Urban centre: Edmonton and Calgary Census Metropolitan Areas (CMAs)

Regional area: Communities outside the Edmonton and Calgary CMAs Urban centre:

$100,000 to $150,000 5
$150,001 to $200,000 10
$200,001 to $250,000 15
Over $250,000 20
Or, regional area:
$50,000 to $100,000 5
$100,001 to $150,000 10
$150,001 to $200,000 15
Over $200,000 20
Job Creation

·       Maximum of 15 points

·       Not a mandatory requirement

1 job 5
2 jobs 10
3 jobs or more 15
Total points: maximum 200

 

The FGSVS is an attempt by Alberta to revive its economy and encourage foreign graduates to set up business in the province.

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