Immigrate to Canada as a Self Employed Person

Immigration to Canada as a businessman, athlete, physical health trainer (personal trainer), a hairdresser or an entrepreneur etc. 

Self Employed Persons Program

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.

Glossary of terms used on this page.

What is the Self-Employed 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 Person 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 Program to immigrate to Canada?


As a self-employed person, to qualify, 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.

Selection Criteria for Self Employed Class - Immergity Immigration Consultant.png

What are the steps to apply under the Self Employed Person 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 Person 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:


  • 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.



  • 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

Language Requirements for Self Employed Program - Immergity Immigration Consultant

How many points can I score for relevant work experience under the Self Employed Persons Program?

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.

Points for relevant work experience for self employed program - Immergity Immigration Consultant

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 - Immergity Immigration Consultant.jpg

What are the education requirements to apply under the Self Employed Persons program?

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. 

Points criteria for Education factor for Self Employed Program - Immergity Immigration Con

What are the eligible occupations cultural activities under the self-employed persons program for Canada?

Professional Occupations in Art and Culture

Professional Occupations in Art and Culture - Immergity Immigration Consultant.jpg

What are the Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport for the Self- Employed Persons Program?

Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport - Immergity Immigr

How much money do I need to invest in Canada as a self-employed person?

There is no net worth requirement for the self-employed person 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.

On what grounds can my express entry application be refused or rejected?

All applications are based on the information you provided to the IRCC. The onus of proof of authenticity always lies on the applicant. If the immigration officer believes that you have provided incorrect information or have not submitted enough proof to verify your claims, they may ask for addition clarification or reject your application.

Here are some of the common reasons that your application might be rejected for:


If you do not meet the basic requirements of the program or category you applied for, your application may be denied.



This is considered a very serious offence with the IRCC. If an applicant is found misrepresenting on their application to immigrate to Canada, they can be deemed inadmissible to Canada. Common examples of misrepresentation are: 

  • Fake documentation - Education, work experience or any other illegitimate documents.

  • Inadmissibility of family members - If 1 or more of your family members are inadmissible to Canada, then you may be charged with misrepresentation and inadmissible.

  •  Marriage of Convenience - Fake marriages just to for Canadian immigration or failure to declare information about your spouse - like divorce, separation or custody of children etc.



Canada's health care system is considered one of the best in the world. And it is paid for by the government. Therefore, if during your medical exams, it is ascertained that your medical condition:

  • is going to affect the overall health of the Canadian citizens OR 

  • result in an excessive demand on the Canadian health care and social services.



This is self-explanatory. If you or any other member of your application or family has a criminal background for  which you have not already finished rehabilitation, your application will be denied. Every applicant has to submit a clean criminal record certificate for every country they have lived in for over 6 months since the day they turned 18. 



As part of the Visa application process for Canada, every applicant needs to submit proof of financial capability. Failure to do so will result in your application being refused. You need to show that you will be able to support all accompanying or non-accompanying family members as part of your immigration application.



Most applications for Canadian immigration are electronic, yet there are some that are paper based as well. If you are unable to provide the correct documents, complete documents or provide all documents in the time-frame specified, your application may be refused. It is advisable to include all documents provided in the document checklist for every application.



The Canadian immigration department receives thousands of applications for every program. In order to maintain efficiency in evaluation and outcome, it is important that applicants abide by the time lines provided in the application package. Failure to do so will result in delays of refusal. The best practice is to keep all your documents ready before you apply and submit your application for immigration to Canada.

How Can I Avoid a Canadian Immigration Refusal?

Refusal or denial can be painful and stressful. Most people think that they know what they're doing and will do it right. Not all of them can actually claim that they will not make a mistake. Immigration applications to Canada are a 1-time opportunity. A mistake can lead to irreparable damage to your profile. Therefore, you may want to consider hiring a professional immigration consultant who has the knowledge and expertise in matters of Canadian immigration laws. 

Contact us now to connect with our Regulated Canadian  Immigration Consultant (RCIC) now.

Frequently asked questions

How long are my Language test results valid for permanent immigration to Canada?

You can use language test results for up to two years after the date you take your test, but the test results must be valid when you submit your application.

How do i prove my income under the self-employed program?

Proof of Income for Self Employed Individuals can be ascertained from (but not limited to) the following:

  1. Earning and Income Tax Statement for Self Employed. These documents prove your wages and taxes as a self employed individual.
  2. Profit and Loss Statement/ Business Balance sheet.
  3. Bank Statements.
  4. Provident fund contributions as an employer.
Contact us for a more detailed approach.

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

Your proficiency in English or French is one of the 5 selection factors. You can earn up to 24 points for your language skills. Points are awarded based on the following scale - basic, moderate or high proficiency in English and French.

What is the fee to apply for the self-employed person program for Canada?

  1. Language tests: Average cost – $300 per test.
  2. Educational Credential Assessment (ECA): Average cost – $200 if applicable
  3. Biometrics: $85 per person
  4. Government fees: $1,325 per adult & $225 per child
  5. Medical examination fees: average cost – $450 per adult & $250 per child
  6. Police clearance certificates varies with country of residence.
You need to provide police clearance certificates for all countries where you have resided for more than 6 months since turning 18 years of age.

How do I prove my self-employed work experience?

You can submit your client contracts, agreements, work orders or completion certificates and invoices. You may also include your pension contribution certificates, tax returns and comapny insurance etc..

What is the relevant experience requirement to immigrate as self-employed persons?

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. Your experience is relevant if you have:

  • taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or
  • been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics
If you have more than 2 years of relevant experience, you may score additional points.