By Uglobal Staff
Canada has started accepting applications for its new visa stream providing a pathway to permanent residency to recent foreign graduates who want to build their own businesses and start-ups in the western Alberta province.
Any foreigner, who graduated with a Canadian-equivalent, post-secondary degree in the last two years and has at least six months of business-related work experience, is eligible under this new program, which is officially called the Foreign Graduate Start-up Visa Stream.
The processing of applications for visas under this new stream, which was launched on Jan. 27, remains ongoing during the pandemic.
REQUIREMENTS FOR ALBERTA’S NEW VISA STREAM
Among the initial steps required is the submission of an online Expression of Interest to the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), which would screen the applicants based on meeting the basic education and language proficiency requirements. If the score is high enough, the nominee program AINP will invite applicants to submit their detailed business plans with projected financials and a 10-minute presentation outlining their proposed venture in Alberta.
If the business plan gets approved by the government's designated body, the main applicant would be required to make a minimum investment, ranging between 100,000 Canadian dollars (if the proposed business is in the urban center) and 50,000 Canadian dollars (for regional areas), prior to arriving in Alberta. The applicant would initially be given a work permit while the startup is formed and launched, but they would also have to meet a minimum threshold of settlement funds on top of the minimum investment, which can be anywhere between 8,922 Canadian dollars to 34,299 Canadian dollars, depending on the size of their family and population of the area where they are making the investment.
THE INVESTORS’ BUSINESS CRITERIA
The main applicant's percentage of ownership in the start-up must be 34 percent, if the investment is in urban center, or 51 percent in the case of regional. The applicant would be required to stay as a resident in Alberta while running the business, and would not be allowed to carry out operations remotely.
The official Alberta website also identifies certain sectors as the province's top priorities, encouraging potential applicants to come up with business plans in the following key areas: technology, aerospace, financial services, energy, agriculture, tourism, life sciences and pharma.
Only active business-for-profit models, as opposed to passive investment income models without a proper management structure, is allowed under the stream. Seasonal businesses as well as bed-and-breakfast and lodging-type businesses are among those listed as ineligible under the program.
There are other immigration pathways as well in Alberta, including the Alberta Self-Employed Farmer Stream, the International Graduate Entrepreneur, the Alberta Opportunity Stream and the Alberta Express Entry Stream.
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