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The Complete Guide to Canada's Self Employed Persons Program

The Self Employed Persons Program is an immigration pathway designed for individuals who have relevant experience and the intention to establish themselves in Canada through self-employment. This program aims to attract individuals who can make significant contributions to Canada's cultural, artistic, or athletic landscape, or who possess relevant experience in farm management.

What is the Self Employed Persons Program and who is it for?

The Self Employed persons program allows eligible foreign nationals to move to Canada as Permanent Residents. Applicants applying through this program must show relevant experience in athletics or cultural activities.​

This program is perfect for experienced athletes or people who can make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy in the cultural or sports sector. 

What are the eligibility requirements for Self Employed Persons Program?

To be eligible for the Federal Self Employed Programs, you must meet the following requirements:

  • You must have accumulated at least 2 years of relevant work experience in a cultural or athletic profession within the 5 years before you apply and ending on the day a decision is made on your application.

 

 At a minimum, your experience must be:

  1. 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)

 

  2. 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

However, you can score more points if your have 3, 4 or 5 years of relevant work experience.

  • You must score a minimum of 35 points on the 5 selection factors -  experience, education, age, language abilities, and adaptability. 

  • You and your family members must clear a medical exam from a designated panel physician and get police clearance certificates as well.​

How do I qualify for the Self Employed Persons Program to immigrate to Canada?

 

To qualify for the self employed person program, you must 

  1. Have a minimum of 2-years of relevant experience and provide proof that you intend to become self-employed in Canada.

  2. You must also score at least 35 points on a selection grid. This is similar to the selection factors of 67 points for the FSWP.

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What are the steps to apply under the Self Employed Persons Program for Canada? 

Step 1: The first step is to check if you are eligible to apply under Self- Employed Program for permanent immigration to Canada. Contact us and we will do it for you.

Step 2: Once you have ascertained that you qualify, you need to fill out the application form along with all relevant documents and pay the fee while submitting the application.

Step 3: Mail your application to the correct address.

What are the language requirements the Self Employed Persons Program for Canada?

You are awarded points based on the level of proficiency in one of Canada's official languages - English or French. You can earn a maximum of 24 points based on your level of proficiency in your choice of your first official language. 

For any points you claim, you must provide proof of language proficiency. Canada accepts language test reports from the following designated agencies:

English

  • IELTS: International English Language Testing System

IELTS has 2 options for the reading and writing tests:

  • General Training

  • Academic

You must take the General Training option.

  • CELPIP: Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program

CELPIP has two tests:

  • CELPIP-General (CELPIP-G)

  • CELPIP-Academic (CELPIP-A)

 

You must take the CELPIP-G test.

 

French

  • TEF Canada: Test d’évaluation de français

 

You must submit results from the following TEF Canada tests as proof of your French language proficiency:

  • compréhension écrite

  • compréhension orale

  • expression écrite

  • expression orale

  • TCF Canada : Test de connaissance du français (French only)

 

You must submit results from these TCF Canada tests as proof of your French language skills:

  • compréhension de l’écrit

  • compréhension de l’oral

  • expression écrite

  • expression orale

Points breakdown for relevant work experience under the Self Employed Persons Program

The points for relevant work experience under the Self-Employed Persons Program in Canada are awarded based on the number of years of experience you have. The maximum points you can earn for experience is 35. Here's the breakdown:

  • Two years of relevant experience: 20 points

  • Three years of relevant experience: 25 points

  • Four years of relevant experience: 30 points

  • Five years of relevant experience: 35 points

Relevant experience must have been obtained in the period that begins five years before you sign your application and ends when a decision is made on your application.

How long does it take to process Federal Self Employed Persons Program applications?

Depending on the completeness of your application, verification of your information, additional information requests etc., eligible profiles are usually processed within 34 months. 

What is the funds requirement for Self Employed Persons Program?

There is no regulated minimum net worth requirement. However, you will need to provide proof of funds to show financial sustainability for you and your family.

Funds required for immigration to Canada.png

Education requirements to apply under the Self Employed Persons program

The Self-Employed Persons Program in Canada does not have a specific education requirement. However, education can be a part of the selection criteria. The main requirements for this program are:

  1. Relevant Experience: You must have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics. This experience must be for at least two years.

  2. Ability to be Self-Employed in Canada: You must be willing and able to be self-employed in Canada. You must also be able to make a significant contribution to cultural activities or athletics in Canada.

  3. Meet the Selection Criteria: You will be assessed on selection criteria that include your experience, education, age, language abilities, and adaptability. While there is no specific education requirement, having a higher education can increase your score in the selection criteria.

  4. Meet Medical, Security and Other Conditions: You and your family members must have a medical exam and get police certificates.

You should note that if you plan to live in Quebec, the province has its own immigration program for self-employed people.

While applying under the self-employed program for permanent immigration to Canada, applicants can be awarded a maximum of 25 points for education. All education credentials used for accumulating these points must be supported with a valid ECA (Education credential assessment) report. 

Point Criteria For Education under the Self Employed Persons Program

The points for education under the Self-Employed Persons Program in Canada are awarded based on the highest level of education you have achieved and the length of your studies. The maximum points you can earn for education is 25. Here's the breakdown:

  • You have a Master’s Degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 25 points

  • You have two or more university degrees at the bachelor’s level and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 22 points

  • You have a three-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 22 points

  • You have a 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 points

  • You have a two-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 20 points

  • You have a one-year university degree at the bachelor’s level and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 15 points

  • You have a one-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 15 points

  • You have a one-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 12 points

  • You completed high school: 5 points

Eligible occupations cultural activities under the self employed persons program for Canada

Professional Occupations in Art and Culture

Under the Self-Employed Persons Program in Canada, "cultural activities" refer to jobs that are generally seen as part of Canada’s artistic and cultural fields. For 2023, the examples of eligible occupations in cultural activities include:

  1. Authors and writers

  2. Creative and performing artists

  3. Musicians

  4. Painters

  5. Sculptors and other visual artists

  6. Technical support and other jobs in motion pictures

  7. Creative designers

  8. Craftspeople

 

These occupations are considered as they contribute to the cultural or artistic life of Canada. Applicants are evaluated based on their experience, education, age, language abilities, and adaptability.

 

For a more comprehensive list of qualifying activities for self-employed persons, you can refer to the list provided by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Investment Requirements for Self Employed Persons Program

There is no net worth requirement for the self employed persons program according to the IRCC. However, in order to immigrate to Canada as a self-employed person, you need to show that you can make a considerable contribution to the Canadian economy while being self-employed in Canada. The only way to interpret this is - how much money can you invest in Canada as a self-employed person. 

The amount of investment depends on the type of occupation. Consider the following scenarios/examples:

  • An athlete who intends to open an academy in Canada would probably need to invest $100,000 or more. 

  • A artist who paints has to establish a gallery which requires a significant investment in real-estate (lease/purchase a gallery or space), raw materials etc. 

  • A athletic coach who seeks to teach at local clubs will need some money to advertise and other marketing activities for self-promotion, if not a specialized training facility.

These are mere examples and should be taken as such. 

Additionally, to prove financial self-sufficiency for your family and yourselves, you will need to show ample proof of funds based on the size of your family.

Refer to the income chart on the FSW program.

Benefits of the Self Employed Persons Program

 

The Self Employed Persons Program offers several advantages for individuals seeking immigration to Canada:

  1. Flexibility and Autonomy: As a self-employed individual, you have the freedom to choose your work and have greater control over your career.

  2. Contribution to Canadian Society: The program allows you to contribute your unique skills and talents to the Canadian cultural, artistic, or agricultural landscape, enriching the country's diverse fabric.

  3. Permanent Residence: Successful applicants receive permanent resident status in Canada, along with the associated benefits, such as access to healthcare, education, and social services.

  4. Path to Citizenship: After fulfilling the requirements of permanent residency, individuals may be eligible to apply for Canadian citizenship, offering further opportunities and benefits.

  5. Family Sponsorship: Once you become a permanent resident, you may be eligible to sponsor your eligible family members to join you in Canada.

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