Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Program (AAIP – FGES) – Explained

Obtain Canadian Residence through Investment Immigration by investment is a pathway for business people with capital to invest in Canada to start or purchase a business and receive Permanent Residence as a reward. Many of the investment visa pathways in Canada are operated by Provinces through Provincial Nominee Streams. Alberta offers some of the newest entrepreneur visa programs, such as the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream for recent university graduates with business management experience.

Alberta’s Investment Immigration Program In 2021, Alberta launched an entrepreneur program to target foreign IT graduates from the United States who might not have Permanent Residence there. The program was originally called the Alberta Foreign Graduate Start-Up Visa program, but was later changed to the Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream (FGES) when the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program changed its name to the Alberta Advantage Immigration Program in early 2022.

Eligibilities for the FGES? To be eligible for the AAIP Foreign Grad Entrepreneur Program, applicants must have: graduated with a degree within the past 10 years, at least $50,000 – $100,000 to invest in a business, at least 6 months of business ownership or management experience, a minimum CLB of 5 in English or French the support of an incubator What type of Business Idea is Acceptable in the FGES? The business plan must be related to one of the following 8 industries: technology, aerospace, financial services, energy, agriculture, tourism, life sciences, or pharmaceuticals.

Money Need to Qualify for FGES? Though there is no formal net worth requirement to demonstrate under the criteria for this program, there are a few financial considerations:

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? The net worth requirement and the previous business experience requirement for the AAIP FGES are relatively low compared to many other Provincial Entrepreneur programs. 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. It is also intended for young people, so it requires only 6 months of business management experience, compared to other Provincial entrepreneur programs requiring at least 2-3 years.

The processing time of the AAIP FGES is 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 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.

Drawbacks of the AAIP FGES? Gaining the support of an incubator is necessary to enter this program, and it is not easy to achieve. You must successfully run the business for at least 18 months, if not longer, to receive PR status. It is not a program to buy immigration status for Canada only – you must have a decent business idea that you can afford to finance for a few years.

The time from entry to the program until you receive Permanent Resident status is probably longer than the Federal Start-Up Visa program, because there are many required steps for the AAIP FGES stream. 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. 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.

Are you looking to obtain Canadian residence through investment? Alberta offers a Foreign Graduate Entrepreneur Stream (FGES) that may be a viable pathway for you. This program is intended for young people and requires only 6 months of business management experience, compared to other Provincial entrepreneur programs requiring at least 2-3 years. Although gaining the support of an incubator is necessary to enter this program, the processing time of the AAIP FGES is fast compared to other Canadian Provincial investment programs. If you meet the criteria, you could potentially receive Permanent Residence in 17 months. Contact us today to learn more about obtaining Canadian residence through investment.

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