The Canadian Federal Immigration Self-Employed Program is designed purposely to attract  many applicants who intend and are able to become self-employed in Canada. The Self Employed Class is geared towards applicants who have relevant self-employment experience as well as the intention and the ability to create their own employment and make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada, or to create their own employment by purchasing and managing a farm in Canada.

Who Can Qualify Under the Self-Employed Stream?

A successful applicant is one who has at least two years of experience in the period beginning five years before the date of the application and ending on the day a determination is made on the application.

The experience must be:

  • for cultural activities:
    1. two one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
    2. two one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
    3. a combination of a one-year period described in A above, and a one-year period described in B above.
  • for athletics:
    1. two one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
    2. two one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
    3. a combination of a one-year period described in a above, and a one-year period described in b above, and
  • for buying and managing a farm, two one-year periods managing a farm.

A. Self-employment in cultural activities

The phrase “cultural activities” covers a variety of professions and occupations. Which includes:

  •  Librarians
  •  Conservators and Curators
  •  Archivists
  •  Authors and Writers
  •  Editors
  •  Journalists
  •  Professional Occupations in Public Relations and Communications
  •  Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters
  •  Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Related Occupations
  •  Conductors, Composers and Arrangers
  •  Musicians and Singers
  •  Dancers
  •  Actors and Comedians

B. Self-employment in Athletics

Apart from athletes, this class also includes coaches and trainers. Technical and Skilled Occupations in Art, Culture, Recreation and Sport which are listed below.

  • and Archive Technicians and Assistants
  •  Technical Occupations Related to Museums and Art Galleries
  •  Photographers
  •  Film and Video Camera Operators
  •  Graphic Arts Technicians
  •  Broadcast Technicians
  •  Audio and Video Recording Technicians
  •  Other Technical and Coordinating Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
  •  Support Occupations in Motion Pictures, Broadcasting and the Performing Arts
  •  Announcers and Other Broadcasters
  •  Other Performers
  •  Graphic Designers and Illustrators
  •  Interior Designers
  •  Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit and Other Creative Designers
  •  Artisans and Craftsperson
  •  Patternmakers – Textile, Leather and Fur Products
  •  Athletes
  •  Coaches
  •  Sports Officials and Referees
  •  Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness

C. Self-employment in the Purchase and Management of a Farm

This seems a tough class to succeed in. Interested individuals must have significant experience in farming and show that they have the skills to succeed in supporting their self and their family through farming in Canada. It is important to note that the self-employed stream category is not for people who wish to try to be self-employed in the above classes. Rather, the cultural activities and athletics are for established professionals with significant experience and a lengthy record of supporting themselves in the activity. Performers and those involved in athletics must be at a world-class level. Anything less than this and your chances of success in the self-employed stream are not good. In the case of farming, CIC expects to see a multi-skilled individual who is capable of dealing with modern farming issues: competence in technology, deep knowledge of farming techniques, deep knowledge of markets for grain or animal products, and skills in dealing with machinery and all aspects of the modern farm. It is also necessary to show a history of supporting yourself and your family by farming.

How to Qualify as a Self-Employed Applicant?

It is important for a participant to earn a minimum of 35 points (out of a possible 100 points) based on the following factors:

Education Maximum 25 Points
(Doctorate OR Master’s Degree) + 17 years’ full-time or full-time equivalent studies 25
(3-years Trade Certificate OR LLB or Medical Degree) + 15 years’   full-time or fulltime equivalent studies 22
(Bachelor’s Degree OR 2-years Trade Certificate) + 14 years’   full-time or full-time equivalent studies 20
(Bachelor’s Degree or 1-year Trade Certificate) + 13 years’ full-time   or full-time equivalent studies 15
1 year post-secondary + 12 years’ full-time or full-time equivalent studies 12
Secondary school education 5


Relevant Experience (within 5 years of application) Maximum 35 Points
Five years’ relevant experience 35
Four years’ relevant experience 30
Three years’ relevant experience 25
Two years’ relevant experience 20


Age Maximum 10 Points
21 to 49 years   of age at the time of application 10
For each year of age over 49 or under 21 Deduct 2 points


Official Languages Maximum 24 Points
High Proficiency 16 First 8 Second  Language
Moderate Proficiency 8 First 8 Second  Language
Basic   Proficiency 2 First 2 Second  Language

Adaptability Maximum 6 Points
Spouse’s or   common law partner’s education 3-5
Minimum one year’s full-time authorized work in Canada (applicant or spouse) 5
Family Member in   Canada 5


TOTAL  Points : Maximum of 100

Success Factors for the Self-Employed :

Financial Asset

One key factor that CIC looks at in this category is a person’s financial asset. Although there is no minimum investment limit for the self-employed category, the greater a person’s financial assets, the greater the chances of becoming established in Canada. If you have significant financial assets, be sure to provide as much evidence of these assets as you can, including bank statements, investment statements, tax returns etc.

Length of Time You Have Been Self-Employed

Another key success factor is a lengthy period of time where you have supported yourself entirely with your talents.  You should provide evidence that you have sustained yourself by being self-employed. For example, if you operate through a one-person corporation, you should supply a few years of tax records to show income. As well, if you can supply contracts with customers or clients (perhaps blacking out personal information), that would be of great benefit to your application. If you cannot provide copies of your contracts for privacy or other reasons, perhaps you could provide affidavits from a number of your clients or customers attesting to your abilities and talents, and the fact that they are your clients and customers. An affidavit from your accountant or lawyer will also be useful if he or she can attest to your self-employment in your field.

Participation at a World Class Level for Performers or Athletes

You must show that you are performing at a world class level if you are a performer or you are involved in athletics.  You must be known in your circles at the international level. The best way to show this is to provide documentation, news articles, copies of website pages and so forth showing your participation at the world-class level. If you have no evidence of your participation at the world-class level, you will not be successful as a performer or as an applicant involved in athletics. Making a Significant Contribution to Cultural, Artistic Life, Athletics in Canada


If you are going to apply to be self-employed as a farmer, you’re going to have to show a number of things in order to be successful. You will have to show significant farming experience that has supported you (and your family, if applicable).  You’ll need to show tax records showing your income from farming, and copies of land deeds or leases showing the amount of land you’ve farmed. If you’ve raised animals in your farming experience, you’ll have to show evidence of this as well, including copies of purchase and sale contracts for the animals you’ve raised. CIC expects modern farmers to have a broad range of skills, including the ability to tend to animals, to follow the market for farming products, basic bookkeeping, and so forth. You’ll need to provide some evidence of your skills beyond actual farming. You should include a cover letter indicating any abilities you may have tending to animals, dealing with markets, and/or using computers to track inventory and so forth. If you have any post-secondary training whatsoever, provide copies of diplomas, certificates or transcripts.

The purpose of the self-employed category is to attract talented, self-employed individuals to contribute to Canadian life. This success factor is not difficult to meet. If you have shown all other factors, you just need to show that you plan to continue with your activities in Canada.



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