Newfoundland and Labrador International Graduate Entrepreneur

Last updated: 11 January 2021

Newfoundland and Labrador's International Graduate Entrepreneur Category aims to retain international graduates who have attended Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic and who wish to create, co-own or manage a business in the province. 

The Newfoundland and Labrador International Graduate Entrepreneur category is for international graduate business owners.

Candidates in the Newfoundland and Labrador International Graduate Entrepreneur category will be required to have at least one year of experience owning and actively operating their business in Newfoundland and Labrador prior to pursuing a provincial nomination. However, those with existing businesses in the province could be eligible for nomination upon applying, pending business viability.

To be considered under this category, individuals are required to submit an Expression of Interest to the province's Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism. 

The Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Nominee Program (NLPNP) plans to accept Expressions of Interest for this category on an ongoing basis. 

Minimum Requirements for Applicants

In order to be eligible under this category, candidates must:

  • be at least 21 years old;
  • provide a business continuity plan with supporting financial documentation verified by a recognized third-party professional service;
  • have graduated or completed a program of at least two years in length from Memorial University or College of the North Atlantic in the last two years before submission of the Expression of Interest;
  • have a valid post-graduate work permit;
  • demonstrate English or French language proficiency equivalent to Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in speaking, listening, reading, and writing; 
  • have at least one year’s experience in actively managing and owning a business in which they hold a minimum one-third ownership in Newfoundland and Labrador prior to seeking provincial nomination;
  • demonstrate ability to create at least one full-time job for the local population;
  • demonstrate that the business is for-profit; and
  • complete an online Expression of Interest.

The applicant must also show that he or she is receiving a salary from the business. The salary must meet the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) as defined by Statistics Canada.

The NLPNP says there is no minimum investment required for applicants in this category.

Additional Requirements for Applicants Starting a New Business

Applicants looking to start a new business must create at least one full-time year round employment for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in the province. The position must:

  • not be filled by a dependent or a relative; 
  • be relevant to the applicant's business; and
  • meet the prevailing provincial wage levels.

Additional Requirements for Applicants Purchasing an Existing Business

Applicants looking to purchase an existing business must make sure that:

  • the business has been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous five years;
  • the business must be active (and not in receivership);
  • reasonable efforts were taken to establish a fair value for the business; and
  • employment is offered to existing staff on similar terms and conditions, including maintaining existing wages and employment terms.

Minimum Eligibility Requirements for the Applicant's Business

The international entrepreneur's proposed business must:

  • have been started as a career objective, not created solely for immigration purposes;
  • meet the legal requirements of the community in which they operate;
  • be a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of earning profits through the sale of goods and/or services;
  • be considered a “permanent establishment” as defined under subsection 400(2) of the Canadian Income Tax Regulations, 1985;
  • pay income tax on taxable income earned as a result of a “permanent establishment” in Newfoundland and Labrador, irrespective of income or other taxes which may also be payable in other jurisdictions as a result of income earned or other business activity;
  • must be actively managed by the applicant from the place of business in Newfoundland and Labrador. The business must not be managed from another location in Newfoundland and Labrador or from another Canadian province or territory or other country.
  • have the potential to create significant economic benefit Newfoundland and Labrador. For instance:
    • Increasing value added manufacturing or processing, exports, destination tourism, research and development, and technology commercialization;
    • Developing innovative approaches to traditional businesses
    • Transferring technology and specialized knowledge to Newfoundland and Labrador; or
    • Providing products or services to an under-served local or regional market.

Ineligible Businesses

The following types of businesses are ineligible under the BC PNP:
  • Businesses that are conducted remotely (from another Canadian jurisdiction or from another country);
  • Property rental, investment, and leasing activities;
  • Real estate construction/development/brokerage, insurance brokerage or business brokerage; unless the applicant can prove their business in one of these areas is of compelling benefit to the Province, and can demonstrate their ability to manage the daily operations of the business; 
  • Professional services or self-employed business operators requiring licensing or accreditation;
  • Pay day loan, cheque cashing, money changing and cash machines;
  • Pawnbrokers;
  • Taxi companies;
  • Home-based businesses; unless the applicant can prove their business will have a compelling benefit to the province;
  • Businesses involved in the production, distribution or sale of pornographic or sexually explicit products or services;
  • Not-for-profit businesses;
  • Investments into a business operated primarily for the purposes of deriving passive investment income;
  • Businesses operating primarily for the purpose of deriving investment income such as interest, dividends or capital gains;
  • Business that will compensate employees solely on the basis of commission;
  • Any other type of business that by association could would tend to bring OIM, NLPNP, or the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador into disrepute.

Expression of Interest (EOI) Points System

An EOI is not an application, a prospective applicant's way of expressing interest in participating in the International Graduate Entrepreneur. The Newfoundland and Labrador Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism will conduct periodic draws and issue an Invitation to Apply (ITA) to submit a full application to the NLPNP. When completing an EOI, prospective applicants will be assigned a score based on the answers they provide. The EOI score is based on the International Graduate Entrepreneur Category unique points assessment grid. The total score will determine whether or not the candidate will obtain an ITA under the International Entrepreneur Category.

The International Graduate Entrepreneur Category EOI Points Grid

Prospective applicants can claim points under six (6) factors that include language, education, business ownership experience, Newfoundland and Labrador economic priorities, age and adaptability. 

Prospective applicants can claim points under six (6) factors that include language, education, business ownership experience, Newfoundland and Labrador economic priorities, age and adaptability. Each candidate must achieve a minimum of 67 points in order to be eligible. The maximum score available is 110 points.

Business Ownership Experience


Newfoundland and Labrador Economic Priorities15
Adaptability 12
Total Points Available110


Age rangePointsDocuments required

Birth certificate; passport; national identify document





Maximum Points 



Potential applicants must demonstrate their language proficiency test results from either the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Test, Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General Test, or Test d’Evaluation de Français (TEF)

First official languagePoints awarded
CLB level 9 or higher





CLB level 8444416
CLB level 7333312
Second official languagePoints awarded
CLB level 5 or higher2 points per ability8
Maximum points  28


Education LevelPointsDocuments required
Completion of Doctoral level (PhD) degree in Newfoundland and Labrador
Transcripts; Diploma / Degree; Letter from University confirming completion
Completion of Master’s level degree in Newfoundland and Labrador
20Transcripts; Diploma / Degree; ECA
Completion of a post-secondary degree or diploma of two (2) years or longer in Newfoundland and Labrador
15Transcripts; Diploma / Degree; ECA
Maximum Points 


Business Ownership Experience

Prospective international entrepreneur candidates may claim points for business ownership experience. All potential applicants must have either a minimum of two (2) years of business ownership experience in the past 10 years (including a minimum 25% ownership) and an active role in the management and operations of a company OR greater than five years of experience in a senior management role in the past 10 years. 

Those individuals claiming five (5) or more years of senior management work experience must demonstrate that their work experience was in an occupation that corresponds to Canada's National Occupational Classification (NOC) 2016 Skill Type 0, Skill Level A or B. A reference letter from previous employers can be used as proof of this experience. However, the reference letter must meet the requirements of the program.
Ownership ExperiencePointsDocuments required
Ownership of business for two (2) years or more
  • Incorporation Documents
  • Proof of registration with CRA
  • Other proof as required
Ownership of business for one (1) to two (2) years
Ownership of current business related to field of study


Maximum Points 


Newfoundland and Labrador Economic Priorities 

Economic PrioritiesPointsDocuments required
Business in Technology, Agriculture, Aquaculture, or Natural Resources


Incorporation Documents; Proof of registration with CRA; industry-specific permits; other proof as required.
Business in sector not listed as priority above


Business in Rural Area (Outside St. John’s CMA)


Maximum Points 



Education LevelPointsDocuments required
Relatives in Newfoundland and Labrador
6Proof of status (PR card, passport); Proof of relationship; proof of residency (bills, lease, employer’s letter).
Previous work experience in Newfoundland and Labrador of two (2) years or more (contract of service, i.e. waged employment)


Reference letters from previous employers.
Previous work experience in Newfoundland and Labrador of one (1) to two (2) years (contract of service, i.e. waged employment)


Maximum Points 


Invitation to Apply

Submitting an EOI does not guarantee that an applicant will be invited to apply to the NLPNP International Graduate Entrepreneur Category. If a candidate is invited to apply, he or she will receive an ITA letter from the NLPNP. If they have been granted ITA, applicants must meet the following deadlines:

  • 20 calendar days after the receipt of the ITA:
    • Select a certified verifier and inform the NL Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism.
  • 90 calendar days after the receipt of the ITA:
    • Submit a complete application form
    • Provide all the required supporting documents; and
    • your Review Engagement and Special Purpose Report.

The Review Engagement and Special Purpose Report

As part of your application, you will need to provide a Review Engagement and Special Purpose Report.

The Review Engagement is a review of the financial statements of the applicant's business.

The Special Purpose Report will include an opinion regarding the following:

  • The financial viability and sustainability of the business;
  • Recommendations for the business to improve its viability and sustainability;
  • A determination of any issues, challenges or concerns pertaining to auditing the financial statements; and
  • A business review, which may include: market analysis, product analysis, competitive analysis and financial analysis.

Interview, Business Continuity Plan and Nomination

The applicant is required to attend an in-person interview with NL Office of Immigration and Multiculturalism staff. The applicant is responsible for all travel arrangements and costs associated with the interview.

As part of your application package, you will need to provide a Business Continuity Plan. There is no specific format required. However, the following must be clearly addressed:

  • business idea;
  • commercial viability;
  • sales and marketing plan;
  • regulatory requirements;
  • financial analysis;
  • human resource plan;
  • operations plan;
  • risk analysis; and
  • job creation.

Once you are nominated, you may choose to incorporate your business. You can do this by contacting the Registry of Companies at Service NL.