How to Apply For Permanent Residency in Canada if You Are Self-employed
JAN 20, 2023
There are over 100 immigration and visa programs for the skilled and unskilled to resettle and work in Canada. With a welcoming attitude towards immigrants, an abundance of job opportunities and countless lifestyle benefits, who wouldn’t want to pack up and take the leap? If the land of the maple leaf and all its prospects sounds appealing to you, there’s never been a better time. So what exactly is holding you back? The fact that you’re self-employed? Well, guess what? There’s a pathway to Canada for you. In this blog we go through how to apply for Permanent Residency in Canada if you're self-employed.
Can You Really Move to Canada if You Are Self-employed?
Let us take a moment to celebrate the fact that it is possible to become a permanent resident in Canada, as a self-employed individual. The Canadian Federal Self-employed Persons Program permits those deemed eligible, relevant experience in athletics, arts and culture professions to submit an application for Canadian permanent residency. The Program is aimed at foreign nationals working as music teachers, artists, freelance media workers or sports professionals.
Cultural Occupations that qualify to work in Canada include:
- Authors and writers,
- Creative and performing artists,
- Visual artists,
- Technical support and other jobs in film
- Creative designers
Sports occupations that qualify to work in Canada include:
- Sports coaches
- Program facilitators
Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will assess you according to your experience, and your potential to be successfully self-employed when you settle in the Great White North.
Requirements for Canadian Immigration
To immigrate as a self-employed person, you must:
- Have experience relevant to the occupation you present in your application
- Plan to continue as a self-employed person in Canada
- Meet all the requirements for the program
- Meet all medical and security requirements
In addition to the above requirements, you will have to prove that you have a minimum of two years in your field of expertise. You must have either:
- Have taken part in “cultural or sporting activities as a professional and international level
- Be self-employed in one of these fields
You will have to be able to make a valid contribution to, as the federal government calls it, “enrichment of Canadian culture and sport”. By doing so you will be seen as making “an important contribution to the nation’s economic undertakings. For example, as a piano teacher, your services may add great value to a small community. The same can be said for a freelance journalist contributing to a media house in Canada.
It should, however, be noted that the value of your contribution will be weighed up by the IRCC evaluating your profile.
To have relevant experience as a self-employed person, you will have to have a minimum two years’ experience. This must fall within a five-year period that started 5 years before the day you submit your application and on the date the IRCC gives you the result.
You will gain additional points if you have three to five years’ experience. The minimum experience for culture occupations should be:
- Two periods of self-employment for a year in a culture occupation, or
- Two periods of self-employment for a taking part in a cultural activity at an international level or
- a combination of both of the above
The minimum experience for athletic occupations should be:
- Two periods of self-employment for a year in a athletic occupation, or
- Two periods of self-employment for a taking part in an athletic activity at an international level or
- a combination of both of the above
The IRCC Selection Criteria
To be considered for immigration as a self-employed person, you will have to meet the program’s requirements for selection. This particular Program is a great option if you find that you are not eligible for other economic immigration programs or if your employment status or occupation limits your Canadian immigration options.
Selection criteria to be examined includes:
- Your experience in your field
- Your education
- Your age
- Your language proficiency
- You ability to adapt
The IRCC requests a number of checks with your application. This will include medical and security clearances. If you are moving to Canada with your family you will all need to undergo a medical examination and obtain a police clearance certificate.
You will also have to prove that you have sufficient funds to live independently in the Great White North. If your family is joining you, you must be able to demonstrate that you are financially capable of taking care of them as well.
You will have to be able to make a valid contribution to, as the federal government calls it, “enrichment of Canadian culture and sport”. By doing so you will be seen as making “an important contribution to the nation’s economic undertakings. For example, as a piano teacher, your services may add great value to a small community. The same can be said for a freelance journalist contributing to a media house in Canada. It should, however, be noted that the value of your contribution will be weighed up by the IRCC evaluating your profile.
To be considered for immigration as a self-employed person, you will have to meet all the program’s requirements for selection. This particular Program is a great option if you find that you are not eligible for other economic immigration programs or if your employment status or occupation limits your Canadian immigration options.
How To Apply For Permanent Residency in Canada if You're Self-employed
By making use of an RCIC you can shorten the process substantially for yourself. We have included all steps below should you wish to apply independently, but remember, that by partnering with a reputable RCIC you are able to streamline your application and improve your odds. So be sure to start by checking whether you are eligible for immigration, and let our team take care of the rest.
Step 1: Obtain Your Application Package and Complete it
Use the guide to help you fill out the forms correctly. Complete the Generic Application Form for Canada [IMM 0008] (PDF, 553.83 KB) on your computer. Remember to follow the guide to help you fill out the forms as accurate.
Step 2: Validate
Click on the “Validate” button on your application. Any incomplete areas will show in red. Then print the validated form. Make sure you include the barcode page.
Step 3: Add Your Signature and the Date Where Required
Every page within the application form should be signed. All other forms in the application pack should also be signed and dated.
Step 4: Curate All Supporting Documents
Collect the requested documentation according to the Document Checklist (PDF, 384.24 KB). The checklist is a must to follow, to ensure you don’t leave out anything. Remember, if your package has any documents missing, it will be considered incomplete and will be sent back to you. This will affect the processing time of your application.
Step 5: Complete All Additional Documents
This will include:
- Additional Dependants/Declaration [IMM 0008DEP] (PDF, 424.19 KB)
- Schedule A – Background/Declaration [IMM 5669] (PDF, 776.39 KB)
- Schedule 6A Business Immigrants – Self-employed persons [IMM 0008 SCHEDULE 6A]
- Additional Family Information [IMM 5406] (PDF, 570 KB)
- Use of a Representative [IMM 5476] (PDF, 648.31 KB)
- Additional Information forms: This will include all the forms, information, documents, signatures, language test results and fees requested by IRCC.
Again, should any information be left out, the application will simply be deemed incomplete and be sent back to you, delaying your application.
Step 6: Be as Accurate as You Can
Make sure everything you add to the application form is accurate and truthfulI. False information will not be tolerated. Should the IRCC find that you’ve intentionally left out information or provided false facts, the following could happen:
- Your application may be rejected
- You will be considered inadmissible to Canada
- You may be barred from making an application to live in Canada for around five years
Step 7: Pay Your Application Fees
Pay all required fees will have to be paid online.
Any processing fees for you and any dependents you may have on your application along with third-party fees.
You will have to pay your biometrics fees along with submitting your application to avoid delays. This covers fingerprint and digital photo costs. Once you have paid these fees with your complete application, you’ll receive a letter of confirmation from the IRCC to confirm what you need for biometrics as well as where you should go to give it.
This may include:
- Medical examinations
- Police clearance certificates
- Language proficiency examinations
Step 8: Submit Your Application Once You Have Checked That Everything is Complete
- Ensure a complete and accurate application
- Answer all questions asked
- Sign what needs to be signed
- Pay all fees your processing fees
- Attach receipts of payment to relevant documents
- Include all supporting paperwork
Step 8 Submit Your application Online
Once you have double checked everything, send your complete application to the address in the instruction guide. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada has transitioned to 100% online applications for many of its permanent immigration programs. This includes the self-employed program. Applying online makes the process more flexible and makes room for immediate confirmation once everything is submitted.
If you are unable to apply online, you can contact IRCC to request a different format. Applications received after the transition will be returned.
Ready to Start Your Journey as a Self-employed Person in Canada?
Now that you know How To Apply For Permanent Residency In Canada as a self-employed person, why wait a moment longer. Get your application ready and let your Canadian dream take shape. With so much information to get right, remember the importance of the checklists that the IRCC provides. You don’t want any delays.
While all this paperwork can be quite daunting, know that assistance is available. Our Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants (RCICs) can guide you through the entire application process and help you submit to the IRCC.
Is Net Worth on the Criteria List for the Self-employed Program?
No, the program does not have a minimum net worth requirement. But you will have to prove that you have sufficient funds to support yourself and any dependents. You will also have to demonstrate that you will be able to fund your work projects.
I Would Like to Move to Quebec as a Self-employed Person. Is the Process the Same as the Rest of Canada?
No. The province of Quebec has its own business immigration program, so if you plan on settling there, visit Quebec’s immigration website to find out more.