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Self-employed persons program lawyer in North York

The Self-employed Persons Program allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person. The Eligibility requirements are:
  • Have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and 
  • Be willing able to make significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada
  • Education 
  • Age 
  • Language abilities 
  • Adaptability

Self-employed program in Canada: eligibility

Relevant experience for a self-employed person means at least two years of experience.

It must be during the period starting 5 years before the day you apply and ending on the day we make a decision on your application.

You can get more points if you have 3, 4, or 5 years of experience.

At a minimum, your experience must be:

  • for cultural activities:
    • 2 one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
    • 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
    • a combination of a one-year period described in (a), and a one-year period described in (b)
  • for athletics:
    • 2 one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
    • 2 one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
    • a combination of a one-year period described in (a) above, and a one-year period described in (b) above.

Under the Self-employed Persons Program, what does cultural activities mean?

Cultural activities include jobs generally seen as part of Canada’s artistic and cultural fields. Examples include:

  • authors and writers
  • creative and performing artists
  • musician 
  • painters
  • sculptors and other visual artists 
  • technical support and other jobs in motion pictures 
  • creative designers and 
  • craftspeople 

Can foreigners be self-employed in Canada?

In order to start a business in Canada, you will need a business visa. There are various options, including the most popular federal business program, the Start-up Visa, as well as various provincial entrepreneur visas. If you only intend to come to Canada for six months or less, you can apply for a business visitor visa.

Is there a net worth requirement for the self-employed program?

There is no regulated minimum net worth requirement. However, you will have to satisfy a visa officer that you have enough money to:

  • settle in Canada with your dependants and 
  • finance the work on which your selection was based 

Under the Self-Employed Persons Program, what is meant by a significant contribution?

There is no formal definition of “significant contribution”. Visa officers can use their judgement. A contribution to athletic or the arts, even at less than a national standard, may still be significant at the local level. However, the expected contribution depends on the nature of your job and the destination you pick. Thus, you need to present a comprehensive settlement and business plan to portray your contributions. Nonetheless, the immigration officers rarely refer to this test to refuse an application. They usually use this test to weed out frivolous applicants. Regardless, consider presenting evidence to convince the officer you meet this criterion too.

What are the language requirements to immigrate under the self-employed persons program?

If you applied as a self-employed person on or after March 3, 2011, you must include the results of an English or French language test with your application. This will ensure you language skills are considered when we assess your application.

It must be a third-party language test from an agency approved by IRCC. 

Medical exams, security risk assessments, and sufficient settlement funds 

Like most other Canadian immigration programs, the applicant and the applicant’s immediate family members must undergo medical exams and security risk assessments, as well as be able to demonstrate that they will have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their family once they arrive in Canada.

Does self-employment count as work experience for Canada PR (permanent residency)?

There are some options to consider if gaining PR status in Canada is your end goal as a self-employed person. For example, the Federal Skilled Worker Program managed by the Express Entry Program allows applicants who are self-employed to qualify. The Start-up is another option for entrepreneurs to consider. There are also several Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) that offer entrepreneur programs, however, in general, do not qualify for Express Entry points.

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