Processing Time for Applications to the Self-Employed Persons Program Decreased from 7 Years to 22 Months

The program offers permanent residence in Canada to self-employed professional athletes and workers in creative occupations on fairly easy terms.

The processing time for applications to the Canadian Self-Employed Persons Program has been reduced to 22 months. This is a significant improvement compared to the seven years during which applications were processed a couple of years ago.

The Self-Employed Persons Program allows individuals with experience in sports, art, and culture to apply for permanent residence in Canada. The program covers a wide range of occupations — from artists and athletes to backstage professions such as choreographers, decorators, and trainers.

Librarians, archivists, conservators, curators, and freelance journalists are also entitled to submit applications on an equal basis with representatives of many other occupations.

Experience is counted if the candidate took part in cultural activities or sports at a world-class level, or if they were self-employed in cultural or sports activities.

According to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), candidates are considered world-class artists or athletes if they are internationally recognized or participate at the highest-level events in their discipline. 

The Canadian government also expects applicants to make a significant contribution to the country’s cultural or sporting life. The significance of the contribution is determined by the visa officer who processes the applicant’s documents. It is highly likely that the application will be approved if the candidate meets the requirements for experience and convincingly proves that they will be self-employed.

For instance, a music teacher who plans to immigrate to a small town can be considered significant locally. Similarly, a freelance journalist who contributes to the Canadian agenda will be approved.

Interested candidates must also meet other selection criteria, in addition to work experience. In particular, they need to have at least a minimum score in education, language, age, and adaptability criteria.