New Brunswick Offers International Graduates another Immigration Option
New Brunswick has opened a new immigration stream — The Post-Graduate Entrepreneurial Stream (PGES) — giving international graduate entrepreneurs the opportunity to settle and establish their business in the province. For graduates to qualify, they must have started or obtained a business in New Brunswick and operated the business for at least one year, while being on a valid Post-Graduation Work Permit. Graduates must also intend to settle in New Brunswick.
The PGES is an economic immigration option under the New Brunswick Provincial Nominee Program (NBPNP), administered by the Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour. It is designed to nominate individuals who demonstrate the ability to become economically established in the province.
The stream operates on an Expression of Interest (EOI) basis, whereby eligible individuals may enter a pool of candidates. On a regular basis, the highest ranking candidates will be selected from the pool and invited to submit an application for a provincial nomination under the NBPNP. Nominations under the PGES are not aligned with the federal express entry system.
- be between 22-40 years of age;
- Prove a minimum language proficiency level of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French for all four language abilities: reading, writing, listening and speaking.
- have completed a full-time New Brunswick post-secondary degree or diploma for at least two years (15 hours of class per week) from a recognized university or community college;
- have resided in New Brunswick during the academic program (no distance-learning programs or compressed academic programs are eligible);
- Have owned and operated a business in New Brunswick for at least one full year (100% ownership of business equity);
- Have a valid post-graduation work permit; and
- Demonstrate their intention and ability to settle in New Brunswick.
An EOI for the PGES is assessed based on the following factors: age, language, education, work experience, adaptability, and economic benefit of the business to New Brunswick. In order to be eligible, individuals must acquire a minimum score of 65 out of 100 in the PGES ranking system.
Expression of Interest Scores
A candidate may be awarded a maximum of 10 points for age. The table below provides a breakdown:
|Age in Years||Maximum Points|
|21 or less||0|
|41 or more||0|
Candidates may be awarded up to 35 points for language proficiency, of which up to 28 points may be awarded for the first language. The minimum language proficiency level is a Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in English or French for all four categories of language abilities. Test results cannot be more than 18 months old by the date an application number is assigned.
Candidates may be awarded a maximum of 25 points for education. The basic requirement is to have completed a full-time New Brunswick post-secondary diploma or degree of at least two years from a recognized university or community college in New Brunswick. It is important to have been residing in the province throughout the period of his or her studies. Individuals may include an overseas educational credential when submitting an EOI, but an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) report from a designated agency is required.
An eligible candidate may receive a maximum of 10 points based on previous work experience. The number of years counted excludes the one year of business operations in New Brunswick.
|Work Experience in Years||Points|
|6 or more years in the last 10 years in NOC O, A or B||10|
|1-5 years in the last 10 years in NOC O, A or B||5|
Economic Benefit of the Business
Eligible Candidates may receive a maximum of 10 points for the economic benefit of the business to New Brunswick.
|Business located outside of Fredericton, Moncton and Saint John||5|
|Business is in the agricultural sector||5|
|Business is in a priority sector (defined by the department)||5|
Candidates deemed eligible may be awarded a maximum of 10 points for adaptability depending on the following factors:
- Spouse/common-law partner who has continuous full-time employment in New Brunswick (5 points).
- Spouse/common-law partner who has completed at least two years of full-time study in New Brunswick. The program of study needs to have been a minimum two-year program in a post-secondary institution in the province (5 points).
- Spouse/common-law partner has a minimum CLB 5 in English or French in all four language abilities (5 points).
- The Candidate or spouse/common-law partner has a close family relative who is a permanent resident or citizen of Canada and who has been residing in New Brunswick for at least one year at the time of application (up to 10 points).
- The candidate has additional job skills demonstrated through training or experience and is proven by a post-secondary credential (i.e. certificate, diploma, or degree) (5 points).
Criteria for the business
Graduate entrepreneurs who wish to apply for the PGES need to ensure their business meets the following criteria:
- The business must be established with a career objective and not for immigration purposes.
- The candidate must have 100 percent ownership of the business.
- The candidate must be involved in the day-to-day management and direction of the business from within New Brunswick.
- The candidate must receive compensation in the form of a salary from the business, which must meet the Low Income Cut-off defined by Statistics Canada.
Steps after receiving an Invitation to Apply (ITA)
Once a graduate business owner has submitted an EOI, it remains active in the pool for up to one year. The number of ITAs issued in each draw will depend on the annual provincial nomination allocation for the NBPNP. According to a Director of Communications at the NBPNP office, around 300 NBPNP nominations are issued annually under the program’s business categories, of which the PGES is one.
Once an ITA is issued under the PGES, the applicant has 90 days to complete and submit the application. If an application is approved, the applicant will then be contacted to attend an interview with an NBPNP immigration officer. If the interview is successful, the applicant will be awarded a nomination, and become eligible to apply for permanent residence at the federal level.
New Brunswick’s PGES is the second of its kind in the maritime region, with Nova Scotia being the first province to offer an economic immigration option to international graduates through the International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream. These efforts by Maritime Provinces indicate the ways in which provinces are working towards establishing new immigration routes for international graduates interested in permanently settling in Canada, particularly those with strong business ideas, all the while retaining innovative talent in the local labour market.