Alberta Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

Last updated: 17 February 2022

Canada Provincial Nominee Immigration Program (PNP)

Alberta's Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is designed for international students who have graduated from approved Alberta post-secondary institutions. Applicants establish or operate a business in Alberta on a work permit, and can then apply for Canadian permanent residence.

Complete our FREE assessment to find out if you are eligible for Canadian business immigration!


To be eligible to immigrate to Canada through this stream, you must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Education: Must have completed at least two years of full-time education resulting in a degree or diploma from an eligible Alberta post-secondary institution;
  • Work permit: Must have a Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) valid at the time you submit your Expression of Interest (EOI);
  • Language: Must have 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.
  • Business Establishment: Must start a new business, or buy an existing business in Alberta with 34% ownership. Your business partners must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents. The business must be an eligible business. Check the list of ineligible businesses here.

Accepted language tests

Alberta accepts the following English language tests:

  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP),
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS).

The following French language tests are accepted:

  • Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) Canada
  • Test de connaissance du français (TCF) Canada

Improve your chances

The following is a list of adaptability factors. These are things that would help you settle in Alberta.

  • Work Experience: Have a minimum of 6 months of work experience that can be a combination of actively managing or owning the business or equivalent. You must meet this requirement before submitting your EOI.
  • Economic Benefit: If you can provide an economic benefit to Alberta through:
  • Job creation;
  • Economic sector;
  • Business location (e.g. rural);
  • Business succession;
  • Investment;
  • Developed intellectual property;
  • Partnership, or support from business incubator, business accelerator, venture capital or angel investor.
  • Age: If you are between 21 to 49 years old
  • Spouse: If your spouse or common-law partner has at least one of the following:
  • One year of continuous full-time employment in Alberta;
  • Completed at least two years of full-time study at an Alberta post-secondary institution;
  • A minimum CLB 5 in English or NCLC 5 in French in each language ability.

Points Grid

1- Business Establishment Factors


Business management or ownership experience or equivalent. 
This could be experience with a business incubator, or completion entrepreneurship program courses

Maximum of 15 points

Mandatory Requirement
6 months
1 year

More than 1 year

Economic Benefit

Maximum of 40 points

Not a mandatory requirement

Economic development sector (e.g. energy, agriculture, financial services, fintech etc.)
Job Creation (max 15 points)
1 job
2 jobs


3 jobs or more


Rural (outside Calgary or Edmonton)
Total Business Investment

Maximum of 20 points

Not a mandatory requirement

$25,000 or less
$25,001 to $50,000

$50,001 to $75,000


$75,001 or more


2- Human Capital Factors


Language Proficiency

Maximum of 15 points

Mandatory Requirement
CLB/NCLC 7 for reading, writing, listening and speaking in English or French
CLB/NCLC 8 for reading, writing, listening and speaking in English or French

CLB/NCLC 9 for reading, writing, listening and speaking in English or French

Alberta Education

Maximum of 10 points

Mandatory requirement

Bachelor's degree or a 2-year diploma
2 or more degrees or diplomas
Master's degree or higher

3- Adaptability Factors



Maximum of 5 points

Not a mandatory Requirement
21 to 49 years old
Spouse or Common-law partner characteristics

Maximum of 10 points

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.
Alberta relatives

Maximum of 10 points

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

You must make sure that your business meets the requirements, otherwise your Business Application can be refused.

Your business must have the potential to create economic benefit to Alberta. Your proposed business must meet the following general requirements:

  • The purpose of the business must be to make a profit from active income - not passive income;
  • Your business must comply with any federal, provincial or municipal legal, regulatory or licensing requirements;
  • Your business must comply with applicable trade certification requirements for the province;
  • Your business must have a physical location in Alberta;
  • If your business is a franchise, the ownership requirements are the same as other businesses. You must also prove that you received support from the master franchisor to operate a franchise;
  • You must own at least 34% of your business, and you must stay in Alberta and be involved in the day-to-day management of your business. You cannot do this remotely.

Ineligible businesses

  • Businesses without a value-add economic component, including:
    • pay day loan, cheque cashing and related businesses;
    • businesses trading in used goods;
  • Businesses that would be considered passive investment and do not need any active management;
    • property rental, investment and leasing activities;
    • real estate development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage;
    • coin-operated businesses, including laundromats and car wash operations;
  • Project based or seasonal businesses;
  • Home-based businesses;
  • Businesses that are part of a succession plan, such as:
    • A business owned or operated by a close relative;
    • A business that was previously owned or operated by a current or former AAIP entrepreneur stream candidate/nominee within the last 4 years;
    • A business that has changed ownership in the past 3 years prior to applying
  • Business involved in producing, distributing or selling pornography or sexually explicit products or services;
  • Another type of business that may bring the AAIP and the Government of Alberta into disrepute.


Once you have reviewed the eligibility criteria and are satisfied that you are eligible for this immigration stream, the next steps are outlined below:

Step 1: Submit an Expression of Interest

You must submit an Expression of Interest through the AAIP Portal. The AAIP will review and give you a score within 30 days of submitting your application. The highest-ranked candidates will be requested to submit a Business Application.

Step 2: Submit your Business Application Package

If you successfully receive a request to submit a Business Application, you can do so through the AAIP Portal.  A draft of the application will automatically be created with the information you provided when you completed your EOI. 

Upload the required documents and forms in the AAIP Portal and pay the CAD $3,500 non-refundable fee.

Two of the required documents are:

Step 3: Business Application Assessment

When you submit your application with the supporting documents, it will be assessed. If more information is needed, an officer will contact you by email or phone. If you do not respond to requests for additional information, your application may be refused.

If your application is approved, the AAIP will send you a Business Performance Agreement (BPA) that you will have to review and sign. You will have to sign, scan and email your BPA within 14 days.

The BPA is a legal agreement before you and Alberta. It will include:

  • The industry sector of your business
  • The length of the agreement
  • Other information related to your business

Step 4: Establish your business in Alberta

When you receive your Business Application Approval Letter, you now must move to Alberta and:

  • actively own and operate your business with at least 34% ownership for 12 months
  • meet the conditions of your BPA that you signed
  • show that the business is operating successfully

You must also submit a Start-Up Report within 30 days of receiving the approval letter. At the end of each 6-month period from the date you received the letter, you will have to submit a Business Progress Report. If you need more time to meet the conditions of your BPA, email to request an extension.

Once this is done, you can submit the Final Report for AAIP Nomination.

Step 5: Final Report for AAIP Nomination

Once you meet the conditions of your BPA, you can apply to be nominated by the AAIP for permanent residence. You will have to submit a Final Report for AAIP Nomination with your supporting documents.

That report will be assessed and inform you of the decision.

If your Final Report is approved, you will receive an email copy of the nomination certificate which you will need to apply for permanent residence.

Note: You must continue to meet the conditions of your BPA during your AAIP nomination assessment.

If your Final Report is refused, you will receive an email with a decision letter detailing the reasons why it was refused.

Contact us for Assistance

Cohen Immigration Law is a leading Canadian immigration law firm with over 45 years of experience. Cohen Immigration Law features over 60 immigration lawyers, paralegals, and professionals who are dedicated to helping you immigrate to Canada. was founded as the online presence of Cohen Immigration Law. Since its launch in 1994, CanadaVisa has grown into one of the globe's most trusted resources on Canadian immigration. If you want to immigrate to Canada through the PNP or another skilled worker pathway, the first step is to complete a free CanadaVisa assessment form. If you are eligible for Canadian immigration, a member of the Cohen Immigration Law team will reach out to provide you with as much assistance as possible.

Complete our FREE assessment to find out if you are eligible for Canadian immigration!