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
5111 Librarians
5112 Conservators and Curators
5113 Archivists
5121 Authors and Writers
5122 Editors
5123 Journalists
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
5134 Dancers
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
5221 Photographers
5222 Film and Video Camera Operators
5223 Graphic Arts Technicians
5224 Broadcast 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
5232 Other Performers
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
5251 Athletes
5252 Coaches
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. 

Selection Factors Points
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.

Age Points
16 or under  0
17 2
18 4
19 6
20 8
21-49 10
50 8
51 6
52 4
53 2
54+ 0

Factor 3: Education

Self-employed applicants can be awarded up to 25 points under the education factor.

Education Points
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.

Proficiency Level Speaking Listening Reading Writing
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:

Adaptability Points

Spouse or common-law partner’s level of education

  • Secondary school (high school) diploma or less: 0 points
  • A one-year diploma, trade certificate, apprenticeship, or university degree and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 3 points
  • A two or three-year diploma, trade certificate, apprenticeship, or university degree and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 4 points
  • A master’s degree or PhD and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 5 points
3-5 

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.

5

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.

5
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.
5

Individuals interested in immigrating to Quebec should note that the province has a separate selection system for self-employed persons. 

For more information on the Canada Self-Employed Persons Program, please contact us today

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