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How Does Self-Employed Program Work?

Self-employment has been an important aspect of Canada’s labour-market activity for being a major source of employment growth. While many view self-employment rates as a link to economic downturns, no data can prove that economic necessity is an essential factor in selecting this type of work arrangement.

In fact, studies show that changes in the self-employment rate are more likely driven by structural factors in the economy. These factors include the shift in the age structure of Canada’s population, as well as the expanding value of specific industrial sectors that are more conducive to self-employment compared to other type of work setup.

With the promise of independence and freedom this type of work arrangement affords, about 2.9 million Canadians were self-employed in 2018, showing a significant boost of 15% from 12% over the four-decade period. To date, self-employed individuals are a progressively vital part of the Canadian economy. Amounting for about 37% of the total Canadian workforce, working from home or from anywhere so long as you have access to the internet is increasingly making an impact on Canada’s economy.

The rise of the self-employed economy has prompted the Canadian Government to devise an immigration program that allows foreign individuals to enter the country and be eligible for a Permanent Residency; this is provided that he/she has met all the qualifications required under the program. Read on if you are interested in immigrating to Canada via the Self-Employed Program.

What is Self-Employed Program?

Self-Employed Program is one of the several immigration programs of the Canadian government, allowing eligible self-employed foreign nationals with relevant experience to become permanent residents in Canada. In order to become eligible under this program, an applicant must have the intention, experience, and ability that he/she will offer a great impact on Canada’s sports or cultural life.

Unlike any other immigration programs, applicants under the Self-Employed Program are not required to meet a regulated minimum net worth. Instead, they are required to show that they are financially stable to stay in the country together with their dependents, and to fund the work for which their selection is based. Interested applicants must also satisfy the eligibility requirements, and get at least a passing mark under the Self-Employed Business Person Program in Canada. 

Self-Employed Persons Program’s Eligibility Requirements

A foreign individual wishing to qualify under the Self-Employed Program has certain requirements to fulfil before he/she could become eligible. To qualify for the Self-Employed Program, one must:

1. Meet the definition of a self-employed person;

2. Pass the medical examination; and

3. Pass criminal and other security checks.

A candidate’s application will be checked by the immigration officer using the documents that he/she submitted, the score he/she has under each of the selection criteria and if he/she has successfully met the definition of a self-employed person.

Under the Self-Employed Program, the definition of a self-employed person is someone with relevant self-employed experience in an athletic or cultural activity. Relevant experience entails a minimum of two years of experience either as a self-employed worker in or participating at a world-class level in business, athletic or cultural activities as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC). Check the full list down below according to the National Occupational Classification (NOC) and see if you are eligible under the Self-Employed Program.

NOC Professional Occupations in Art and Culture
5111 Librarians
5112 Conservators and Curators
5113 Archivists
5121 Authors and Writers
5122 Editors
5123 Journalists
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
5134 Dancers
5135 Actors and Comedians
5136 Painters, Sculptors, and Other Visual Artists
NOC 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
5221 Photographers
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
5251 Athletes
5252 Coaches
5253 Sports Officials and Referees
5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport, and Fitness

An applicant under the Self-Employed Program must, likewise, pass the selection criteria whereby candidates are assessed against the points assessments for self-employed business immigration to Canada. To qualify as a self-employed immigrant, you must have at least 35 points (subject to change) after the government officer grade you based on the program’s five selection criteria and point system. The possible maximum score one can get under this program is 100, but again it may change so make sure to always visit the IRCC website to be updated or seek the assistance of an expert in immigration law to get all the information you need in getting accepted under the Self-Employed Program.

As for applicants who want to pursue their success in Quebec, do note that the province has a separate selection system for self-employed workers and it is specifically administered by the provincial government. To know if you are eligible under their Self-Employed Program, you may directly check here or you may always consult to an expert, such as Konan Law, to give you all the up-to-date information regarding any immigration programs of the Canadian Government.


The rise of self-employment has shown to provide various benefits for Canada’s economy. With a myriad range of occupational streams in Canada, indeed, the Self-Employed Program is devised to allow new immigrants to Canada who plans to settle in the country to be self-employed.

Book in today with Konan Law so we can help you make your dreams to immigrate in Canada into a reality. We also provide a free 15-minute consultation so you can make the necessary inquiries you want regarding your application process. If you or someone you know willing to enter the country and you think they fit under the Self-Employed Program, contact us today to find out how we can help you process your application.


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