Canadian Immigration Programs for the Self-Employed

The Self-Employed Persons Program is available to new immigrants through CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada). With a wide range of occupational streams, this is a program designed to bring new immigrants to Canada who plan to be self-employed. Amongst the many admissibility requirements, there are some fundamental pre-requisites that will pertain to all applicants:

  • a relevant level of experience in either athletics or cultural activities

AND

  • a capability to contribute to the athletic life or cultural life in Canada

OR

  • an appropriate level of experience and expertise in farm management

AND

  • an intention and capacity to buy/manage a farm in some part of Canada

Self-Employed Persons – making a “a significant contribution”

The application guidelines and immigration criteria for self-employed persons make reference to immigrants who will make a “significant contribution” in their particular field of endeavour. As such, CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) does not formally define the term “significant contribution.” However, immigration officers will use personal judgment to assess the merits of each immigrant application. For instance, a “significant contribution” to athletics or culture may be considered significant, even if it’s somewhat less than a nationally recognized standard.

Canada's Start-up Visa Program – application pre-requisites

Canada's Start-up Visa Program is a unique immigration program specifically for self-employed. It has been designed for entrepreneurs who wish to immigrate to Canada and build a business that creates jobs for Canadians. To participate in the program, CIC (Citizenship and Immigration Canada) requires an applicant to meet certain conditions: a Letter of Support from a designated funder; ownership verification for a qualifying business; required levels of Language Benchmark in English or French; and adequate funds to live in Canada before realizing any income.

Special immigration programs for business people in Québec

The province of Québec has special immigration rules, regulations, and procedures. Immigrants applying in Québec may be eligible for one of the following immigration programs:

  • Entrepreneur Program - establishing or acquiring a business
  • Investor Program - investing in Quebec’s economic growth
  • Self-Employed Worker Program - practicing a profession/trade

Selection criteria under the Self-Employed Persons Program

A self-employed person is a foreign national with appropriate experience in a field of endeavour, and with the intention of being self-employed once settled in Canada. Applicants should be able to make a meaningful contribution to Canada’s economy. Citizenship and Immigration Canada assesses applicants according to criteria that includes:

  • previous experience in a chosen field
  • established educational accreditation
  • age and potential to physically adapt
  • language skills (in English or French)
  • medical examinations/security checks
  • financial wherewithal once landed

Specific Occupations for self-employed immigrant applicants

Beyond specific admissibility requirements, Citizenship and Immigration Canada has categorized occupations that would qualify for application under the Self-Employed Persons Program.

  • librarians, curators, archivists, and technical support
  • writers, translators, journalists, authors, and editors
  • choreographers, producers, directors, and associated
  • musical conductors, score arrangers, and composers
  • musicians, singers, dancers, actors, and comedians
  • painters, visual artists, sculptors, and crafts people
  • photographers and film and video camera operators
  • technical personnel for museums and/or art galleries
  • graphic designers, illustrators, and interior designers
  • support occupations in broadcasting/motion pictures
  • athletes, sports officials, coaches, referees, instructors
     

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