Self-Employed Persons

Self-Employed PersonsPeople earning income directly from their own business, trade or profession can get permanent residency in Canada through one of the immigration programs for self-employed persons.

Professional athletes and creative minds can immigrate to Canada through the federal Self-Employed Persons Program, and self-employed individuals willing to settle in Quebec may choose the provincial Self-Employed Worker Program.

Self-Employed Persons Program

The federal Self-Employed Persons Program offers permanent residency in Canada to self-employed people willing to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of the country.

This program is effective in all Canadian provinces and territories except for Quebec that has its own immigration system. Therefore, individuals who intend to live in Quebec are not eligible to apply under the Self-Employed Persons Program.

To be eligible, the applicant must:

Have at least 2 years of experience (in the past 5 years) in cultural activities or athletics (self-employment or participation at a world-class level)

Score at least 35 points out of 100 in the selection criteria grid. The selection criteria include education, experience, age, language skills, and adaptability. The applicant will be awarded points if he:

  • Has a minimum of high school education
  • Has at least 2 years of experience in cultural activities or athletics
  • Has basic English or French skills
  • Is between 17 and 53 years of age
  • Has an educated spouse or partner
  • Has education or work experience in Canada
  • Has relatives in Canada

Have the intention and ability to establish a business that will create an employment opportunity for the applicant and that will make a significant contribution to cultural activities or athletics in Canada

Have a medical exam

Get police certificates

Be able to support themselves and dependent family members for at least 1 year after arriving in Canada

Pay the processing fees of C$1,540 (plus C$1,040 for a spouse and C$150 for a dependent child)

The processing time is 22 months.

Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program

People wishing to immigrate to Quebec and to work there as self-employed individuals can get a permanent residence permit in the province under the provincial Self-Employed Worker Program (Programme des travailleurs autonomes).

To be eligible, the applicant must:

  • Come to Quebec to create a job by practising a profession or business activities, alone or with other immigration candidates, with or without paid help
  • Make a deposit at a financial institution of C$50,000 to work in the Montreal Metropolitan Community area or C$25,000 in other locations
  • Have at least C$100,000 of net worth
  • Have at least 2 years of experience as a self-employed individual working in the profession or trade the applicant intends to practise in Quebec
  • Obtain a licence if it is necessary to work in the profession or trade in Quebec

The candidate is also assessed on other criteria, such as age, education, English and French skills, as well as ties to the province (visiting Quebec or having relatives in the province).

To show French proficiency, applicants must submit language test results (TEFAQ, TCF, TCF-Québec, TEF or TEF Canada) or diplomas (DELF or DALF). The minimum threshold from which the points are awarded is 7 of the Échelle québécoise des niveaux de compétence. This corresponds to the Level B2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.

To demonstrate English proficiency, the applicant must provide IELTS results. The minimum threshold is Level 5 of the Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB).

Find out about other business immigration options in the article “Business Immigration”.