The Graduate Entrepreneur Stream of Alberta is specifically tailored for international students who have successfully completed their studies at recognized post-secondary institutions in Alberta. As part of this stream, applicants have the opportunity to establish or actively operate a business within the province while holding a valid work permit. Following the establishment or operation of their business, eligible candidates are then able to submit an application for Canadian permanent residence, thus facilitating a seamless transition from student status to potential long-term residency in Canada.


In order to qualify for immigration to Canada through this particular stream, applicants must satisfy a set of minimum requirements:

1. Education:

  • Completion of a minimum of two years of full-time education leading to the attainment of a degree or diploma from a recognized Alberta post-secondary institution.

2. Work Permit:

  • Possession of a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) at the time of submitting the Expression of Interest (EOI).

3. Language Proficiency:

  • Attainment of a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of 7 for each English skill (reading, writing, listening, and speaking), or a Niveau de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) of 7 for each French skill.

4. Business Establishment:

  • Initiating a new business venture or acquiring an existing business in Alberta with a minimum ownership stake of 34%. Business partners in this endeavor are required to be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The business itself must fall within the category of eligible businesses, and a list of ineligible businesses can be referenced for clarification.

As for language proficiency assessments, Alberta acknowledges the following English language tests: the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Additionally, the stream accepts the Test d'évaluation de français (TEF) Canada and the Test de connaissance du français (TCF) Canada for French language evaluations.

Meeting these eligibility criteria positions applicants to successfully navigate the Graduate Entrepreneur Stream and embark on the path towards immigration to Canada.

Strategies for Success: Key Adaptability Factors in Alberta's Immigration Process

Enhance your prospects by considering the following adaptability factors, which play a pivotal role in facilitating your settlement in Alberta:

1. Work Experience:

  • Accumulate a minimum of 6 months of work experience, which can involve actively managing or owning a business or its equivalent. It is essential to fulfill this requirement before submitting your Expression of Interest (EOI).

2. Economic Benefit:

Demonstrate your potential to contribute economically to Alberta through various avenues, including but not limited to:

  • Job creation
  • Impact on specific economic sectors
  • Business location preferences (e.g., rural settings)
  • Involvement in business succession
  • Investments made
  • Development of intellectual property
  • Engaging in partnerships
  • Receiving support from business incubators, accelerators, venture capital, or angel investors.

3. Age:

  • Fall within the age range of 21 to 49 years old, aligning with the specified criteria for optimum consideration.

4. Spouse:

  • If applicable, leverage the adaptability factor associated with your spouse or common-law partner by ensuring they fulfill at least one of the following:
  • Possess one year of continuous full-time employment in Alberta.
  • Have completed a minimum of two years of full-time study at an Alberta post-secondary institution.
  • Attain a minimum Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 5 in English or Niveau de compétence linguistique canadiens (NCLC) 5 in French for each language ability.

By carefully addressing these adaptability factors, you not only enhance your chances of success but also contribute positively to the economic landscape and community dynamics in Alberta, thereby fostering a smoother integration into the province.

Scoring System for Eligibility

A.    Business Establishment Factors

  • Business management or ownership experience or equivalent: This criterion evaluates experience with a business incubator or completion of entrepreneurship program courses, with a maximum of 15 points. It is a mandatory requirement.
  1. 6 months of experience: 5 points
  2. 1 year of experience: 10 points
  3. More than 1 year of experience: 15 points
  • Economic Benefit: This criterion holds a maximum of 40 points and is not mandatory.
    •  Economic development sector (e.g., energy, agriculture, financial services, fintech, etc.): 15 points
    • Succession: 5 points
    • Job Creation (max 15 points):
      • 1 job: 5 points
      • 2 jobs: 10 points
      • 3 jobs or more: 15 points
    • Rural (outside Calgary or Edmonton): 5 points
  • Total Business Investment: This factor has a maximum of 20 points and is not mandatory.
    • $25,000 or less: 5 points
    • $25,001 to $50,000: 10 points
    • $50,001 to $75,000: 15 points
    • $75,001 or more: 20 points

B.    Human Capital Factors

  • Language Proficiency: This criterion holds a maximum of 15 points and is a mandatory requirement.
    • CLB/NCLC 7 for reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English or French: 5 points
    • CLB/NCLC 8 for reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English or French: 12 points
    • CLB/NCLC 9 for reading, writing, listening, and speaking in English or French: 15 points
  • Alberta Education: This factor holds a maximum of 10 points and is a mandatory requirement.
    • Bachelor's degree or a 2-year diploma: 5 points
    • 2 or more degrees or diplomas: 7 points
    • Master's degree or higher: 10 points

C.    Adaptability Factors

  • Age: This criterion holds a maximum of 5 points and is not a mandatory requirement.
    • 21 to 49 years old: 5 points
  • Spouse or Common-law partner characteristics: 
    • This factor holds a maximum of 10 points and is not a mandatory requirement.
    • Your spouse or common-law partner has one or more of the following:
      • At least one year of continuous full-time employment in Alberta
      • Completed at least 2 years of full-time study at an Alberta post-secondary
      • A minimum of CLB 5 in English or NCLC 5 in French in all language abilities: 10 points
  • Alberta Relatives: This criterion holds a maximum of 10 points and is not a mandatory requirement.
    •     A relative is one of the following:
      • Father
      • Step-father
      • Mother
      • Step-mother
      • Child
      • Step-child
      • Sister
      • Step-sister
      • Brother
      • Step-brother

Business requirements

Ensuring that your business aligns with the stipulated requirements is imperative, as failure to meet these standards could result in the refusal of your Business Application. To be deemed eligible, your business must not only possess the potential to generate economic benefits for Alberta but must also satisfy the following overarching criteria:

1. Profitable Business Purpose:

  • The primary objective of your business should be to derive profits from active income rather than passive income.

2. Compliance with Legal Requirements:

  • Your business must adhere to all applicable federal, provincial, and municipal legal, regulatory, and licensing requirements to ensure its legality and ethical operation.

3. Adherence to Trade Certification Requirements:

  • Compliance with relevant trade certification requirements specific to the province is essential for the validation of your business operations.

4. Physical Presence in Alberta:

  • A physical location within the province of Alberta is a mandatory prerequisite for your business to be considered eligible.

5. Franchise Ownership Requirements:

  • If your business operates as a franchise, it must meet the same ownership criteria as other businesses. Additionally, you are required to demonstrate that you have received support from the master franchisor for the operation of the franchise.

6. Ownership Stake and Active Involvement:

  • You must possess a minimum ownership stake of at least 34% in your business. Furthermore, it is essential that you reside in Alberta and actively participate in the day-to-day management of your business. Remote management is not permissible under these conditions.

These comprehensive business requirements form the foundation for a successful Business Application, ensuring that your business venture not only contributes to the economic well-being of Alberta but also adheres to ethical and legal standards.

 Ineligible Businesses 

  • Businesses without a value-add economic component are ineligible, including:
    1. Payday loan, cheque cashing, and related businesses.
    2. Businesses trading in used goods.
  • Businesses classified as passive investments, requiring no active management, are also excluded. This category encompasses:
    1. Property rental, investment, and leasing activities.
    2. Real estate development/brokerage, insurance brokerage, or business brokerage.
    3. Coin-operated businesses, including laundromats and car wash operations
  • Project-based or seasonal businesses are ineligible.
  • Home-based businesses are not considered suitable for this stream.
  • Businesses integral to a succession plan, such as:
    • A business owned or operated by a close relative.
    • A business previously owned or operated by a current or former AAIP entrepreneur stream candidate/nominee within the last four years.
    • A business that has changed ownership in the past three years prior to applying.
  • Businesses involved in producing, distributing, or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services are ineligible.
  • Any other business type that may bring the AAIP and the Government of Alberta into disrepute is considered unsuitable for acceptance. These measures are implemented to maintain the integrity of the AAIP and safeguard the reputation of the Government of Alberta.


Following a thorough review of the eligibility criteria and ensuring that you meet the requirements for this immigration stream, the subsequent steps are delineated below:

    Step 1: Submit an Expression of Interest 

Upon confirming your eligibility, initiate the process by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) through the AAIP Portal. Within 30 days of your application submission, the AAIP will evaluate your profile and assign a score. The highest-ranked candidates will then be invited to submit a comprehensive Business Application.

    Step 2: Submit your Business Application Package 

Upon receiving an invitation to submit a Business Application, access the AAIP Portal to complete this crucial step. The application will be auto-populated with the details you provided during your EOI submission. Essential documents, along with a non-refundable fee of CAD $3,500, should be uploaded through the portal. Among the required documents are a Business Plan Evaluation Report from providers such as KPMG LLP or MNP LLP, and, if requested, a Qualified Service Provider Report from entities like Grant Thornton LLP, KPMG LLP, or MNP LLP.

    Step 3:  Business Application Assessment 

Following the submission of your application and supporting documents, a thorough assessment will be conducted. Any additional information required will be communicated to you through email or phone. It is crucial to respond to requests promptly to prevent the refusal of your application. If approved, you will receive a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) from AAIP, delineating critical details such as the industry sector of your business, the agreement's duration, and other pertinent business-related information. The signed BPA must be returned within 14 days.

    Step 4:  Establish your business in Alberta 

Upon obtaining your Business Application Approval Letter, the subsequent step involves relocating to Alberta and actively owning and operating your business with a minimum ownership stake of 34% for a duration of 12 months. Adherence to the conditions outlined in your signed BPA and demonstrating the successful operation of your business are imperative. A Start-Up Report must be submitted within 30 days of receiving the approval letter, followed by Business Progress Reports at six-month intervals. In the event more time is needed, a request for an extension can be emailed to

    Step 5:  Final Report for AAIP Nomination 

Once the conditions of your BPA are met, you can apply for nomination by the AAIP for permanent residence. Submit a Final Report for AAIP Nomination along with supporting documents. The report will undergo assessment, and upon approval, you will receive an email copy of the nomination certificate, a prerequisite for your permanent residence application. It is essential to consistently meet the conditions of your BPA during the AAIP nomination assessment.

Note: In case of a refusal, an email containing a decision letter elucidating the reasons for the refusal will be provided.