Canada’s Self-Employed Persons Program allows eligible self-employed foreign nationals with relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics to establish themselves in Canada as permanent residents.
Candidates for the Self-Employed Persons Program must have the experience, intention and ability to make a “significant contribution” to Canada’s cultural life or sports in Canada.
Interested candidates must meet both the eligibility requirements and achieve at minimum a passing mark under the program’s selection criteria in order to be considered for immigration as a self-employed person.
There is no regulated minimum net worth requirement for the Self-Employed Persons Program. However, self-employed applicants must demonstrate that they have sufficient funds to settle in Canada along with their dependents and finance the work for which their selection is based.
Eligibility Requirements for the Self-Employed Persons Program
A foreign national must first meet the Government of Canada’s definition of a self-employed person in order to be considered eligible for assessment.
A self-employed person is defined as someone with relevant self-employed experience in a cultural or athletic activity.
Relevant experience consists of at least two years of experience either self-employed in or participating at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC).
Under the Self-Employed Persons Program, eligible occupations within Canada’s artistic, cultural and athletic fields include:
|Professional Occupations in Art and Culture|
|5112||Conservators and Curators|
|5121||Authors and Writers|
|5124||Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications|
|5125||Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters|
|5131||Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations|
|5132||Conductors, Composers and Arrangers|
|5133||Musicians and Singers|
|5135||Actors and Comedians|
|5136||Painters, Sculptors and Other Visual Artists|
|Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport|
|5211||Library and Public Archive Technicians|
|5212||Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries|
|5222||Film and Video Camera Operators|
|5223||Graphic Arts Technicians|
|5225||Audio and Video Recording Technicians|
|5226||Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts|
|5227||Support Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts|
|5231||Announcers and Other Broadcasters|
|5241||Graphic Designers and Illustrators|
|5242||Interior Designers and Interior Decorators|
|5243||Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers|
|5244||Artisans and Craftspersons|
|5245||Patternmakers – Textile, Leather and Fur Products|
|5253||Sports Officials and Referees|
|5254||Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness|
Self-Employed Persons Program: Selection Criteria
Applications from interested candidates are assessed against the points assessment for self-employed business immigration to Canada. The pass mark for the self-employed persons program is 35 points out of 100.
|Experience||Maximum 35 points|
|Age||Maximum 10 points|
|Education||Maximum 25 points|
|Ability in English or French||Maximum 24 points|
|Adaptability||Maximum 6 points|
|Total||Maximum 100 points|
|Pass Mark||35 points|
Factor 1: Experience
Relevant experience must have been obtained within the five-year period before an application is signed and ends when a decision is made on an application. Applicants may obtain up to 35 points under the experience factor.
|Years of experience||Points|
|Two years of relevant experience||20|
|Three years of relevant experience||25|
|Four years of relevant experience||30|
|Five years of relevant experience||35|
Factor 2: Age
Applicants will be awarded selection points based on their age at the time of application.
|16 or under||0|
Factor 3: Education
Self-employed applicants can be awarded up to 25 points under the education factor.
|Master’s Degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||25|
|Two or more university degrees at the bachelor’s level and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||22|
|Three-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||22|
|University degree of two years or more at the bachelor’s level and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||20|
|Two-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||20|
|One-year university degree at the bachelor’s level and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||15|
|One-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||15|
|One-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||12|
|High school diploma||5|
Factor 4: Language Ability
Self-employed persons may be awarded up to 24 points depending on their proficiency in English or French.
|HIGH: Individual can communicate effectively in most social and work situations.||Speaking: High||Listening: High||Reading: High||Writing: High|
|MODERATE: Individual can communicate comfortably in familiar social and work situations.||Speaking: Moderate||Listening: Moderate||Reading: Moderate||Writing: Moderate|
|BASIC: Individual can communicate in predictable contexts and on familiar topics, but with some difficulty.||Speaking: Basic||Listening: Basic||Reading: Basic||Writing: Basic|
|NO: Individual does not meet the above criteria for basic proficiency.||Does not meet Basic Level||Does not meet Basic Level||Does not meet Basic Level||Does not meet Basic Level|
Factor 5: Adaptability
Self-employed individuals may obtain up to six (6) points for adaptability based on the following:
|Spouse or common-law partner’s level of education
|Previous work in Canada
Applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner has completed a minimum of one year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit.
|Previous study in Canada
Applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner has completed a program of full-time study of at least two years’ duration at a post-secondary institution in Canada. Applicant must have done this after 17 years of age and with a valid study permit.
Note: There’s no need to have obtained a degree or diploma for these two years of study to earn these points.
|Relatives in Canada
Applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner has a relative (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, child of a parent, sibling, child of a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or grandchild of a parent, niece or nephew) who is residing in Canada and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Individuals interested in immigrating to Quebec should note that the province has a separate selection system for self-employed persons.