How Can I Qualify to Immigrate to Canada as a Self-Employed Person?

Canada’s Self-Employed Program is designed to attract foreign workers with experience in athletics, agricultural industries, or cultural activities who can contribute to the Canadian economy. Notably, this program is applicable to all Canadian provinces or territories except Quebec which operates its own Self-Employed Program.

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Qualifications for Canada’s Self-Employed Program

While the federal Self-Employed Program offers a streamlined process for immigrants, there are several eligibility criteria that potential applicants must still meet to qualify for this program. First, applicants must have at least 2 years of relevant experience of self-employment in farm management or 2 years of experience of self-employment or participation at a world-class level in athletics or cultural activities. To qualify for this program, immigrants must also be willing and able to start a business after they arrive in Canada which will create employment for themselves and ideally create additional jobs and economic output.

Unlike the Entrepreneur Visa which requires applicants to have a minimum net worth and available capital to start a business, the Self-Employed Program has no net worth requirement but does require applicants have enough funds to support their family upon arriving in Canada. Applicants must also earn enough “points” from various selection factors such as education, age, adaptability factors like the ability to retrain, work experience, and reasonable proficiency in Canada’s official languages of English or French. Finally, you, and any family members, will have to pass medical exams and background checks before entering the country.

 Eligible Occupations or Positions

Under the Self-Employed Program, the only eligible occupations are those in art, culture, recreation, and sport, as listed in Unit Group 5 under the National Occupation Classification. Some of these eligible occupations include, but are not limited to:

  • Dancers
  • Composers, conductors, and arrangers
  • Singers and Musicians
  • Athletes, coaches, and sports officials or referees
  • Authors and writers
  • Editors and journalists
  • Photographers and artists
  • Librarians and archivists
  • Designers
  • Comedians and actors 

What is the Process for a Self-Employed Person to Immigrate to Canada?

To immigrate to Canada under the Self-Employed Program, an applicant must meet all of the required qualifications for the program, including relevant experience, the intention to start a business upon arrival, and other relevant factors such as adaptability, education, age, and other factors. If you meet these qualifications, you will need to provide your fingerprints and photo for security purposes. You will also complete and submit the application package which includes the Generic Application Form for Canada while gathering all supporting information listed in the Document Checklist included in the application package. You will include all forms, information, documents, language test results, signatures, and any fees in order to complete this application.

Finally, you will then submit your application and await notification of whether your application has been accepted to permit your entry into Canada. Unlike other immigration programs, the Self-Employed Program does not require a separate application for permanent residency, as you will be granted permanent residency upon entry to Canada under this program.

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