International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream

Nova Scotia Nominee Program, The International Graduate Entrepreneur (IGE) Stream is open to recent graduates of Nova Scotia post-secondary institutions who have already started or purchased a business in the province.

This stream functions on an Expression of Interest (EOI) system whereby candidates submit an EOI and are then awarded points based on a number of criteria. The highest ranked candidates are invited to apply to the program by the NSNP. The IGE Stream targets international graduates who intend to reside permanently in the province while owning and actively managing a Nova Scotia business.

The Nomination Process

There are four steps to the nomination process:

Step 1: Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Province of Nova Scotia

Prospective immigrants will indicate their interest in operating a business and residing in Nova Scotia by completing an Expression of Interest (EOI) in the form of a short online survey. On this survey, candidates will provide required information about their work experience, language, education, age, adaptability, and business. Only applicants who meet the minimum criteria will be able to submit an EOI. Candidates will be assessed based on a points matrix according to their profile and then assigned a score and added to the EOI pool. EOIs can remain in the pool for up to one year from the date of receipt. If the EOI is not selected during this time, it will be removed from the pool. After this point candidates may submit a new EOI if they so choose. If candidates are able to acquire additional points after submitting their EOI, they will need to submit a new one.

Step 2: Invitation to Apply

Top scoring applicants will be notified by the Nova Scotia Office of Immigration (NSOI) that they are being invited to submit a formal application to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program (NSNP). Complete applications received from those invited to apply will then undergo an assessment by the NSOI.

Complete applications are expected to contain the following:

A complete application form (submitted within 90 days of the issuance of the ITA letter);

All supporting documentation (submitted within 90 days of the issuance of the ITA letter); and

An Audit Opinion and Special Purpose Report, both of which must be prepared by one of the NSOI’s designated Audit Service Verifiers (submitted within 90 days of the issuance of the ITA letter).

NOTE: the candidate must notify the NSOI of his or her choice of Audit Service Verifier within 20 days of the issuance of the ITA letter.

Step 3: In-Person Interview and Request for Nomination

Once an applicant has been assessed and is deemed to meet the criteria of the program, the applicant will be contacted for an in-person interview with an official of the NSOI. All interviews will take place in Nova Scotia and are expected to take place within 15 business days of the candidate being contacted. The interview will include a site visit to the eligible business. Unsuccessful interviews or failure to participate in the interview within the 15-day time limit will result in the closure of the application.

If the NSOI officer assessing the application is satisfied that the candidate meets all program criteria, and there are no other reasons that would prevent the nomination, the candidate will be nominated for Canadian permanent residence by Nova Scotia under the NSNP.

Step 4: Applying for Permanent Residence

Upon nomination, the applicant will apply to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) for permanent resident status within six months. Candidates should note that an NSNP nomination does not guarantee the issuance of a Permanent Resident Visa. If the application is approved by the visa office, the candidate will be issued a Confirmation of Permanent Residence. He or she is required to provide a copy of the confirmation to the NSOI within 30 business days.

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

Minimum Requirements for Applicants

In order to be eligible under the NSNP International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream, applicants must:

  • Have completed a full-time Nova Scotia post-secondary diploma or degree of at least two years in length from a recognized university in Nova Scotia or the Nova Scotia Community College;
  • Have resided in Nova Scotia full-time during the academic program;
  • Demonstrate genuine intent to settle permanently in Nova Scotia
  • Have already owned and operated a business in Nova Scotia for at least one continuous year prior to the date of EOI submission;
  • Demonstrate sufficient language abilities in either English or French verified by an approved language testing agency;
  • Sufficient language abilities are considered to be Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four components (listening, speaking, writing and reading).
  • The following are the approved language testing agencies under the PNP:


  • Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP) General test
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) General Training


  • Test devaluation de Francis (TEF)
  • Language tests must be taken within two years prior to the date of EOI submission.

Be at least 21 years of age;

Have a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit at the time of application to the NSOI;

Own 100% of the equity of the eligible business and provide active and ongoing participation in the daily management and direction of the business; and

Demonstrate that they are receiving compensation in the form of salary from the business.

The compensation must, at the minimum, meet the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) as defined by Statistics Canada.

Minimum Requirements for Businesses

In order to qualify as an eligible business under the Entrepreneur program, the business must:

  • Have been started as a career objective, those created solely for immigration purposes are ineligible;
  • Meet the legal requirements of the community in which it will 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;
  • Be liable to pay income tax on taxable income earned as a result of a “permanent establishment” in Nova Scotia, irrespective of income or other taxes which may also be payable in other jurisdictions as a result of income earned or other business activity;
  • Be actively managed by the applicant from the place of business in Nova Scotia;
  • Have the potential to create the significant economic benefit to the province of Nova Scotia.

Additional Requirements for Starting a Business

In addition, the above requirements, if starting a business, the applicant must:

  • Create at least one full-time (or equivalent) employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Nova Scotia (non-relative workers). This position(s) must:
  • Be over and above any position filled by the approved applicant;
  • Be relevant and directly related to the applicant’s business; and
  • Meet the prevailing wage rates in the province.

Additional Requirements for Business Succession

If the applicant is purchasing an existing Nova Scotia business, the following requirements must be met:

  • The NovaScotia-based business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous five years; and
  • Applicants must offer employment on similar terms and conditions to existing staff, including maintaining existing wages and employment terms.
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