Alberta opens immigration stream to promote tech startup creation


Alberta’s government has launched one of its previously-announced immigration streams aimed at promoting entrepreneurship and tech startup ventures in the province.

Starting today, recent international graduates from Alberta’s universities and colleges can apply for the International Graduate Entrepreneur Immigration Stream (IGEIS) to launch a business venture or startups in Alberta.

The streams are part of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program.

To be eligible for the IGEIS, applicants must meet certain academic, work experience, and language criteria. The government is currently accepting expressions of interest for the IGEIS, and will invite selected candidates to submit a business application.

In January, the province is set to launch the Foreign Graduate Startup Visa Stream to attract international graduates from universities and colleges in the United States, to start businesses and settle in Alberta communities.

The two streams are part of the Alberta Immigrant Nominee Program (AINP), an economic immigration program that nominates individuals for permanent residence in Alberta. Both streams have been previously mentioned by the Alberta government, through its economic recovery plan and its 2020 budget, at the beginning of the year.

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In June, when the province released its economic recovery plan, the government noted that the province would reduce this year’s targeted admissions under the AINP by at least one third. Premier Jason Kenney noted at the time it was “extremely difficult” to justify employers bringing in workers from outside of the province, given Alberta’s high unemployment rate.

“With these policies, the Government of Alberta is creating an environment that will allow our tech and innovation ecosystem to flourish, attract more investment and create new opportunities for all Albertans,” said Mary Moran, president and CEO of Calgary Economic Development. This is a smart strategic approach and another step forward in our economic recovery.”

The launch of the program follows the launch of Alberta’s $75 million innovation strategy, which outlines strategies for specific sectors, including technology and innovation, FinTech, agriculture, and tourism, among others.

The strategy, along with other innovation-related commitments, represented a turnaround for the United Conservative Party in Alberta, which last year halted or slashed a number of innovation-focused programs in the province. One of the bigger cuts included the suspension of the Alberta Investor Tax Credit, a decision decried by many in the province’s tech sector.

Image source Wikimedia Commons.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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