Nova Scotia’s universities and colleges are educating over 7,000 international students, many of whom wish to stay in Nova Scotia permanently. International graduates form an attractive pool of potential immigrants. The International Graduate Entrepreneur Stream is open to graduates who have completed at least two years of full-time study from a recognized Nova Scotia university or Nova Scotia Community College, have operated their own business in Nova Scotia for at least one year, and intend to settle permanently in Nova Scotia.
Nomination Process

There are four steps to the nomination process:

Step 1: Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) to the Province of N,S,
Prospective immigrants indicate their interest in immigrating to Nova Scotia by completing an Expression of Interest in the form a short online survey, providing required information about their work experience, language, education, age, adaptability and their business.  Candidates are assessed based on a points matrix according to their profile and then assigned a score.

Step 2: Invitation to Apply
Top scoring applicants will be notified by NSOI that they are being invited to submit a formal application to the Nova Scotia Nominee Program. Complete applications received from those invited to apply will then undergo an assessment by NSOI.

Step 3: Request for Nomination
Once an applicant has been assessed and is deemed to meet the criteria of the program, he/she will be nominated for Permanent Residency by Nova Scotia under the Nova Scotia Nominee Program.

Step 4: Applying for Permanent Residency
Upon nomination, the applicant will apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for Permanent Residency status.

Minimum Eligibility Criteria

Human Capital Criteria

  • 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.
  • Applicants must have resided in Nova Scotia full-time during the academic program. (No distance learning programs or compressed academic programs will be eligible.)
  • Applicants must demonstrate proficiency in one of Canada’s official languages by achieving a test result demonstrating Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) 7 in all four language abilities; verified by either CELPIP General test, IELTS General Training or the Test d’évaluation de français (TEF) and taken within two years prior to the date of EOI submission.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Applicants are required to reside in Nova Scotia while they establish their eligible business.

Business and Financial Criteria

  • Demonstrate intention to settle in Nova Scotia, and own and operate a business in Nova Scotia for at least one continuous year prior to the date of EOI submission.
  • Applicants must own 100% of the equity of the eligible business and provide active and on-going participation in the day to day management and direction of the business.
  • The applicant must demonstrate that they are receiving compensation in the form of salary from the business, which must, at minimum, meet the Low Income Cut-Off (LICO) as defined by Statistics Canada. The eligible business has to be in sound financial health. This means that it must be producing revenue and earning sufficient profits to allow the owner to become economically established in the province. Audited financial statements from an NSOI approved professional third party will be required to assess the financial health of the business.

Starting a Business

If starting a business the applicant must create a minimum of one full-time (or equivalent) employment opportunity for a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident in Nova Scotia (non-relative worker). This position(s) must:

  • Be over and above any position filled by the approved applicant. For clarity, jobs created for or filled by family members of the applicant are not eligible.
  • Be relevant and directly related to the applicant’s business.
  • Meet the prevailing wage levels.

Business Succession

  • The Nova Scotia based business must have been in continuous operation by the same owner for the previous five (5) years.
  • Applicants must provide evidence that reasonable efforts were taken to establish a fair market value for the business.
  • The business must be in active operation and not in receivership.
  • The succession buy-out must result in a complete change in ownership where the applicant will assume full control of the business.
  • Applicants must offer employment on similar terms and conditions to existing staff, including maintaining existing wages and employment term

Eligible businesses must also include the following elements:

  • The business must be initiated or operated for the purpose of making a profit. Businesses created solely for immigration purposes are ineligible.
  • Businesses must meet the legal requirements of the community in which they operate.
  • The business must be a for-profit entity with the primary purpose of earning profits through the sale of goods and/or services.
  • The business must be considered a “permanent establishment” as defined under subsection 400(2) of the Canadian Income Tax Regulations, 1985.
  • The business is 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.
  • You are required to reside in Nova Scotia and operate your business and be involved in its day to day management. You may not do this remotely, or from another Canadian province or territory or from another country.
  • The business must have potential to create significant economic benefit to Nova Scotia. For example:
  • Increasing value added manufacturing or processing, exports, destination tourism, research and development, and technology commercialization;
  • Developing innovative approaches to traditional businesses
  • Transferring technology & specialized knowledge to Nova Scotia.
  • Providing products or services to an under-served local or regional market
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