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Our firm can guide you with all legal and procedural requirements pertaining to the Self-Employed category to ensure that you meet the qualifying requirements. Book a 15 minutes consultation with one of our agents.

  1. Who is a self-employed person?
  2. Do you qualify?

The self-employed category is designed to attract prospective applicants that have the intent and ability to establish themselves economically in Canada.

Who is a Self-Employed person?

By virtue of Regulation R (88) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act 2002; a self-employed person is defined as:

a foreign national who has relevant experience and has the intention and ability to be self-employed in Canada and to make a significant contribution to specified economic activities in Canada (Department of justice Canada, 2012) .

To rephrase the aforementioned legal definition; a self-employed person(s) must have the intention and ability to create their own employment (as artists, farmers or athletes) and are expected to make a significant contribution to the cultural, artistic or athletic life of Canada or in the case of farmers, to purchase and manage a farm in Canada.

The Self-Employed program was developed to encourage the entry of experienced business persons to Canada who are able to make a substantial investment, and thereby create employment and contribute to the economic well-being of Canada.

Do you qualify?

An applicant under the Self-Employed Category must comply / meet with the following requirements:

  1. Relevant Experience
  2. Intention and ability to be self-employed that will create employment for themselves.
  3. Intention to make a meaningful contribution in specified economic activities:
    • Cultural activities
    • Athletics
    • Purchase and management of a farm.

Relevant Experience

By Virtue of Regulation R (88), Relevant Experience is defined as:

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:

  • cultural activities:
    • two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in cultural activities;
    • two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in cultural activities;
    • or a combination of a one-year period of experience in each one of the activities described above, totalizing two years.
  • athletics:
    • two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in athletics;
    • two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in athletics;
    • or a combination of a one-year period of experience in each one of the clauses described above, totalizing two years.
  • the purchase and management of a farm:
    • two one-year periods of experience in the management of a farm.

Intention and ability to be self-employed in Canada

The wordings of Regulation 88 are crystal clear when it comes to the application and construal of the stipulated definition of a Self-Employed Person. “Men Mentis” or Intention and ability are the key words that ate assesses and given weight by the officer when considering eligibility and compliance of the Regulatory definition of a Self-Employed Person(s). The officer must be satisfied / convinced beyond doubt that the applicant in question has the “intent and ability to create their own employment in Canada”(Citizenship and immigration Canada, 2008).

The Applicant must show perseverance / commitment that he / she will be capable of creating their own employment. It is noteworthy mentioning that the applicant will meet a “rigorous threshold: Sufficient capital, appropriate experience and appropriate skills”(ibid).

Examples of Self-Employed Category include music teachers, artists, illustrators, filmmakers, /freelance journalists, choreographers, Set designers, coaches / trainers / theatrical / musical directors / impresarios and farmers (Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, 2011).

Immigration Conditions are not imposed as the Self-Employed Class, nevertheless a positive decision /outcome is contingent upon various factors such as a person’s financial assets which may be a measure of intent and ability to establish economically in Canada. Moreover, a person’s management experiences (theatrical or musical directors) and Self-Employed experience. (Exll:  choreographers, set designers) is a strong / positive implication that the applicant in question possesses the necessary KSA’s (Knowledge, Skills & Abilities) to “create their own employment in Canada”.

There is no minimum investment level for self-employed person. The capital required depends on the nature of the work. Exll: Purchase and Manage a farm – requires capital, experience and skills; the officer will decide / needs to the conclusion whether the applicant is capable of meeting the requirements / underlying conditions). It is important to note that the financial required net work is not mentioned in the Regulations.

Intention and ability to make significant contribution to specific economic activities in Canada

Rule of thumb; in order for an applicant under the Self-Employed Category to pass the test; it is extremely necessary that the prospective applicant complies with the wordings of Regulation 88 of the IRPA Act 2002 which expressly states:

“……. Intention and ability to be self employed…..  To make a significant contribution to specified economic activities in Canada.”

As mentioned earlier, intention and ability shall be determined by the officer assessing the applicant, ensuring that the applicant in question has sufficient experience, knowledge and skills that will enable the immigrant / foreign national to make a meaningful contribution to Canada. “There is no specific determination of significant contribution for a self-employed person”(Canadaimmigrationlaw.net, 2008).

The Act expressly states that specified economic activities shall evolve around cultural activities, athletics or the purchase and management of a farm. Whatever, the activity, the onus of proof lies on the Applicant. The Immigration officer shall construe the words “significant contribution” to ensure whether the contribution is relevant and of importance and is considered consequential within the meaning of the Act. To be succinct, officers are looking for Bonafide applicants that have sufficient financial funds (net worth) that will enable the applicant to be self-employed and make a “significant Contribution” to specified economic activities in Canada. The officer shall have the vested right, prudence and discretion to determine / decide whether the applicant fits the definition of the Regulation under the IRPA Act. For Example a Fitness Instructor would want to apply under the Self-Employed Class, the applicant will need to prove to the officer  that ‘sufficient funds’ are available; the ‘significant contribution’ would have a meaningful and significant effect on the Canadian Economy.

N.B:- It is strongly advisable that a feasibility study be included pertaining to the proposed venture. (Ex. In the case it would be A Gym).