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Perks of the Self-Employed Persons Visa & Who Qualifies

Self-Employed Visa | Entrepreneur | Professionals

There are many options for entrepreneurs that are looking to immigrate to Canada. While most of the available options revolve around establishing or purchasing an existing business, there is also a federally administered Self-employed Persons Visa program. Although the types of professionals that may enter under these options are limited, if you have relevant experience and can satisfy other basic criteria, there are many perks to this immigration path.


There are only two types of activities self-employed persons may enter this program under. You must either take part in one of these activities at a world-class level or have a history of being self-employed in these activities.

1. Cultural Activities – These types of activities can be anything that may benefit the culture of the country and can be broad. Most commonly it applies to

  • authors and writers
  • creative and performing artists
  • musicians
  • visual artists such as sculptors or painters, and
  • technical support and other jobs specific to motion pictures

2. Athletic Activities – Nearly everyone loves a good sporting match, and most people participate in a sport at some point in their life. As a result, the country attracts self-employed persons in these types of activities. It mainly applies to

  • athletes
  • coaches
  • sports officials and referees, and
  • instructors of recreation, sport, and fitness

If you fall into one of these categories, you must also be able to demonstrate you have a minimum of two years of experience in the field. According to the Government of Canada, this experience, “must be during the period starting 5 years before the day you apply and ending on the day we make a decision on your application.”

In addition to proving you have relevant recent experience in an appropriate field, other factors will be considered such as education and age. Though these will not factor in as heavily and are irrelevant if you don’t satisfy the above, you should be aware of how they can impact your chances. You can find a more detailed explanation of the scoring criteria here.

Perks of the Program

Much like self-employment itself, the self-employment persons visa offers a nontraditional approach to business. Here are some of the main perks self-employed visa holders enjoy over other types of business immigration:

  • May locate in any area of Canada (as opposed to the Provincial Nominee Programs)
  • No net worth requirement (though must have enough to establish business and support yourself)
  • Freedom to set up your business on your own terms
  • Able to contribute to the economy in your own unique way
  • Can avoid the pressure of a certain profit margin or adherence to a corporate structure
Perks of the Self-Employed graphic

As with any business immigration option, you will be required to submit a self-employed business plan. While these plans can be more straight forward than other business visa options given the absence of a formal business structure, it is still important that information is presented in a clear and compelling manner. You also need to ensure it is evident that all requirements are met and that the plan aligns with and reinforces other information that is submitted. Our business plan writing experts are skilled at writing plans with immigration officers in mind and can help strengthen any business immigration case.

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