Self-Employed Immigration Program

A very popular option for individuals with relevant experience in cultural activities, athletics and farming

Self-employed business woman filling out application form

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Business Immigration

Self-Employed applicants must have relevant experience within the five-year period immediately preceding the date of application. “Relevant experience” in respect to a self-employed candidate means that for at least two one-year periods out of five years right before the date of application candidates can prove:

  • Self-employment or freelancing in cultural activities or athletics; or
  • Participation, at the world-class level, in cultural activities or athletics; or
  • Farm management and ownership experience.

In assessing an applicant’s experience, intent and ability to create their own employment in Canada, the following examples of occupations will be considered for cultural activities or athletics: athletes, freelance journalists and web designers. Beyond that, the category is intended to capture those people who work behind the scenes, such as choreographers, set designers, coaches and trainers.

Management experience in the world of arts and culture may also be a viable measure of self-employment – for example, theatrical or musical directors, movie producers and impresarios. Other occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport can also qualify for self-employed immigration.

Personal financial assets may also be a measure of intent and ability to establish economically in Canada. There is no minimum investment level for a self-employed person. The capital required depends on the nature of the business. Freelancers must have sufficient funds to create an employment opportunity for themselves and maintain themselves and their family members. As a rule of thumb, the applicant must demonstrate that he or she has been able to support themselves and their family through their talents and would be likely to continue to do so in Canada. This includes the ability to be self-efficient until the self-employment has been created.

Participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics intends to capture performers. This describes those who perform in the arts, and in the world of sport. Not only the athlete can be considered for the self-employed program, but also his or her coach, personal trainer, and supporting staff. “World class” identifies persons who are known internationally. It also identifies persons who may not be known internationally but perform at the highest levels in their discipline.

In regards to farming, it is important, when determining an applicant’s intent and ability to purchase and manage a farm, to be aware that farming is a highly skilled and capital-intensive industry. For further information or questions regarding any of the Self-Employed Class requirements, please feel free to contact us. If you would like to know whether you could be eligible to immigrate to Canada in the Self-employed category, we invite you to complete our FREE online assessment.