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Moses Law Office

Providing Canadian Immigration Services since 1988

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Self-Employed Applications


Self-Employed Persons can apply for an immigration under Federal Business Immigration. Under the Provincial Nominee programs, further ways exist.


The following are a brief summary of conditions for self-employed persons that should be considered and where necessary discussed with Marvin Moses Law Office.


Self-employed applications are often confused with entrepreneur applications, but the two categories are very distinct. The two categories are similar, in that, in both cases the applicant intends to come to Canada and establish their own business in Canada and in both cases there must be evidence of the ability and intent of the person concerned to establish a business. Although, in the self-employed category, there is no need to employ other Canadians, there is a requirement that the self-employed person be able to create a business that will employ him/her -self and that this self-employed person must have the relevant experience to make a significant cultural or athletic life contribution to the Canada. Or, the self-employed person must have experience in farm management and the intention and ability to purchase and manage a farm in Canada.


Relevant Experience is generally defined as:

  1. participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics,

  2. farm management experience, or

  3. self-employment in cultural activities or athletics.


More specifically Relevant Experience is defined as:

Relevant experience in respect of a self-employed person, means a minimum of two years of experience, during the period beginning five years before the date of application for a permanent resident visa and ending on the day a decision is made on the application. The experience must consist of:

    1. in respect of cultural activities,

      1. two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in cultural activities, or

      2. two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in cultural activities, or

      3. a combination of a one-year period of experience described in (A), above, and a one-year period of experience described in (B), above,

    2. in respect of athletics,

      1. two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in athletics, or

      2. two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in athletics, or

      3. a combination of a one-year period of experience described in (A), above, and a one-year period of experience described in (B), above, and

    3. in respect of the purchase and management of a farm, two one-year periods of experience in the management of a farm.


Assessment criteria include experience, education, age, language abilities and adaptability.


Usually this category is for musicians, artists, crafts persons, and athletes. In the old Immigration Act, the definition was broader and also included self-employed traditional medicine practitioners, interpreters and translators, and other persons who could demonstrate to an immigration visa-officer that they have carried on successfully as a self-employed person in the past and that they are able to successfully establish him/her -self in Canada and make a significant contribution to the Canada's economy or culture. In the current Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, these categories no longer qualify within the self-employed category.


The self-employed person must provide a detailed description of their business background, focusing on their management experience, with details of their financial situation, sufficient to satisfy an immigration visa-officer that the person has both the ability to establish a business in Canada, and that the business will make a significant contribution to Canada. In order to make a significant contribution, the person must show that the business will provide an important and needed service to the area to which they are planning to settle in Canada.


Self-employed applicants usually have an interview with a visa-officer who assesses the application. The applicant should seek the issue of a work authorization at the time of the interview, and not await final issuance of the landing papers.


There is no minimum investment required, but the person must have sufficient capital to establish in Canada the business proposed to the immigration visa-officer. Although no business plan is required, it is often useful since the person must show that he/she has a solid plan of action and that he/she has a clear understanding of the market and economic conditions in Canada.


Self-employed persons must still comply with all the other requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and its Regulations. Medical and police clearances must still be successfully passed. In addition, the person must convince the visa-officer that he/she is able to support him/her -self, and his/her family without need to seek social assistance, and also that the person is not a member of an organization that is likely to be involved in violent or other illegal activities in Canada.


As noted above, self-employed applications are often confused with entrepreneur applications. The self-employed category does not involve terms and conditions being imposed at the time of Landing as in the case of the Entrepreneur category. For example, there is no need for a self-employed person to employ one or more other Canadian residents as is the case of an entrepreneur. In addition, the self-employed person may not need to invest as much capital in the proposed business as an entrepreneur.

Both Entrepreneur and self-employed applications are currently being processed slowly by Immigration.


Self-employed applications are of a much more limited nature, and therefore there is a greater need to show that the business proposed can be established successfully in Canada.


For further information please contact Marvin Moses Law Office.


(Since the issues and matters in reality are quite complex, it is recommended that legal or other appropriate professional advice should be sought before acting upon any of the information contained therein. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this article, no individual or organization involved in either the preparation or distribution of this article accepts any contractual, tortuous, or any other form of liability for its contents or for any consequences arising from its use.)