What is Self-employed Person Immigration Program?
The Self-Employed Persons Program – Canada’s federal immigration program, is designed to attract applicants with relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and establish themselves in Canada as permanent residents.
However, for those who prefer Quebec, self-employed persons are not eligible under this program and should apply under the Quebec Self-Employed Program instead.
Qualifying Activities for Self-Employed Persons
The following list offers samples of eligible occupations within Canada’s artistic, cultural and athletic fields. The numbers next to the classifications refer to the Canadian National Occupational Classification (NOC) codes.
But some activities that do not appear on the list, such as Architects and Landscape architects might qualify. It is also dependent on the area of services.
- Professional Occupations in Art and Culture
5112 Conservators and Curators
5121 Authors and Writers
5124 Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
5125 Translators, Terminologists, and Interpreters
5131 Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations
5132 Conductors, Composers, and Arrangers
5133 Musicians and Singers
5135 Actors and Comedians
5136 Painters, Sculptors, and Other Visual Artists
- Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation, and Sport
5211 Library and Archive Technicians and Assistants
5212 Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries
5222 Film and Video Camera Operators
5223 Graphic Arts Technicians
5224 Broadcast Technicians
5225 Audio and Video Recording Technicians
5226 Other Technical and Co-ordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
5227 Support Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
5231 Announcers and Other Broadcasters
5232 Other Performers
5241 Graphic Designers and Illustrators
5242 Interior Designers
5243 Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers
5244 Artisans and Craftspersons
5245 Patternmakers – Textile, Leather and Fur Products
5253 Sports Officials and Referees
5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness
Requirements / Eligibility
To be considered for the program, interested candidates must:
- Have relevant experience, intention and ability to either make a significant contribution to the cultural or sporting life in Canada as artisans or as athletes at an international level.
- Achieve at minimum a passing mark under the program’s selection criteria.
- Meet medical, security and other conditions.
For a self-employed person, relevant experience is defined as at least two years of experience. It must start 5 years before the day you apply and end on the day we decide on your application. The more years of experience you have, the more point you will get.
At a minimum, your experience must be:
- For cultural activities:
- (a) 2 one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
- (b) 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
- a combination of one year described in (a), and one year described in (b)
- For athletics:
- (a) 2 one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
- (b) 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in athletics, or
- a combination of one year described in (a) above, and one year described in (b) above
Once applicants are found to be suitable with the conditions of “Self-Employed Persons” above, they will then be assessed based on the selection criteria. Applicants must earn a minimum of 35 points out of 100 potential points based on education, experience, age, ability in French or English, Adaptability.
The selection criteria consist of 5 factors. Each one has more detail and is scored differently on a scale. The score for all factors combined and is determined by the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.
Let’s go into the details of each selection criterion.
Applicants may obtain up to 35 points under this factor:
- Two years: 20 points
- Three years: 25 points
- Four years: 30 points
- Five years: 35 points
2. Age Factor
Applicants will be awarded selection points based on their age at the time of application:
- 16 or under: 0 points
- 17: 2 points
- 18: 4 points
- 19: 6 points
- 20: 8 points
- 21-49: 10 points
- 50: 8 points
- 51: 6 points
- 52: 4 points
- 53: 2 points
- 54 and older: 0 points
Self-employed applicants can be awarded up to 25 points under the education factor:
- Master’s Degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 25 points.
- 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.
- Three-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 22 points.
- 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.
- Two-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 20 points.
- One-year university degree at the bachelor’s level and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 15 points.
- One-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 15 points.
- One-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study: 12 points.
- High school diploma: 5 points.
4. Language Ability
Depending on the proficiency in English or French, applicants may be awarded up to 24 points.
The Proficiency Levels are divided into 3 stages with 4 skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing.
- At a high level, an individual can communicate effectively in most social and work situations.
- While at a moderate level, he or she can only communicate comfortably in familiar social and work situations.
- The last one is the basic level, the person can communicate in predictable contexts and on familiar topics, but with some difficulty.
In case, the applicants do not meet the above criteria for basic proficiency, they are not qualified for the Language Ability and will not score any points.
Self-employed individuals may obtain up to 6 points for adaptability based on the following:
- Spouse or common-law partner’s level of education (3-5 points):
- Secondary school (high school) diploma or less: 0 points
- A one-year diploma, trade certificate, apprenticeship, or university degree and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 3 points
- A two or three-year diploma, trade certificate, apprenticeship, or university degree and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 4 points
- A master’s degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent studies: 5 points
- Previous work in Canada (5 points): Applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner has completed a minimum of one year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit.
- A previous study in Canada (5 points): Applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner has completed a program of full-time study of at least two years’ duration at a post-secondary institution in Canada. The applicant must have done this after 17 years of age and with a valid study permit.
Note: There’s no need to have obtained a degree or diploma for these two years of study to earn these points.
- Relatives in Canada (5 points): Applicant or the accompanying spouse or common-law partner has a relative (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, child of a parent, sibling, child of a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or grandchild of a parent, niece or nephew) who is residing in Canada and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
The same as most other Canadian immigration programs, applicants and their family members must have medical exams and security checks. They must also demonstrate that they will have sufficient settlement funds to support themselves and their families once they arrive in Canada.
The table below shows details about the settlement funds required by the Canadian government.
1 person: $12,164 CAD
2 persons: $15,143 CAD
3 persons:$18,617 CAD
4 persons:$22,603 CAD
5 persons:$25,636 CAD
6 persons: $28,913 CAD
7 persons or more: $32,191 CAD
How to apply?
First, the applicant submits an application package to the Central Intake Office (CIO) in Canada. If CIO accepts the application, they will forward it to an overseas Visa Office. The application will be verified based on:
- Application forms filled out correctly and have signatures on them
- Processing fee and biometrics fee are paid and
- Included all required documents
If candidates forget something, the application will not be processed and will be sent back. And if the application is approved, there will notice about sending the passport to the visa office to issue the permanent resident visa.
Here are 3 steps to complete the application process properly:
Step 1. The application package
The application package includes a guide and a document checklist, as well as other forms for the program. Use the guide to fill out these forms correctly.
Now, here is the list of what to prepare for the application package:
- Document Checklist
- Generic Application Form for Canada
- Additional Dependants/Declaration
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration
- Schedule 5: Economic Classes—Declaration of Intent to Reside in Quebec
- Schedule 6A Business Immigrants – Self-employed persons
- Additional Family Information
- Use of a Representative
- Supplementary Information – Your travels
Then print out the validated application form, including the barcode page(s), language test results, fees with signature and date.
Step 2. Application fees
In most cases, the fees are paid online through transactions. They will include (in CAD):
- Your application processing fee ($1050) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
- Your application without right of permanent residence fee ($1,050)
- Include your spouse or partner, processing fee ($550) and right of permanent residence fee ($490)
- Include your spouse or partner without right of permanent residence fee ($550)
- Include a dependent child ($150)
- Biometrics fees per person ($85)
- Biometrics fees for a family for 2 or more ($170)
The biometrics fee covers the cost of collecting fingerprints and a digital photo. It should be paid when applying. Or else, there will be delays throughout the process. After the payment, the applicants will receive a letter telling them to give the biometrics and where they can go. Both the letter and biometrics must be presented in person at the time. Applicants have 30 days to do this from the date of the letter.
Depending on the situation, one may need to pay third parties for medical exams, police certificates, and language testing. Follow the instruction guide to understanding which fees apply to and how to pay them. Finally, applicants must make a copy of the receipt as proof of the payment. This, later on, is also included in the form.
Step 3. Submission
Mail the completed application in a 23 cm x 30.5 cm (9” x 12”) envelope to the address:
- By Self-employed Class:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Centralized Intake Office
P.O. Box 7200
- By a courier service:
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada
Self-employed Class or Quebec Business Class
Centralized Intake Office
49 Dorchester Street
Do not provide documents that are not listed on the checklist. Also, in the waiting time, do not send the application to any other processing center or visa office.
How long would it take?
The processing time can vary depending on the merits of the application, the IRCC policies, the Visa Office policies, the completeness of the package, etc.
Reasons that the application will be delayed:
- There are criminal or security problems
- More background checks are needed
- The family situation is not clear—reasons could include divorce or adoption that is not yet complete or child custody issues that have not been resolved or
- The visa office has to contact other visa offices in Canada or abroad to verify the information.
However, applicants can avoid delays by informing any changes in personal detail through this Webform.
Common reasons application rejected
There are many reasons to be treated as an inadmissible case to Canada. An applicant may be rejected and barred from the program if he or she:
- Is a danger to Canada’s public health or safety
- Would cause too much demand on health or social services in Canada
- Pose a risk to Canada’s security
- Provide misrepresented information ( false information or left out important details)
- Unable or unwilling to financially support themselves in Canada;
- Broke the immigration laws of Canada on a previous occasion; or
- Have a partner or dependent child who is probably inadmissible for any of the above reasons