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Self-Employed Applications for Permanent Residence in Canada

Canada has many ways for people to qualify for Self-Employed Permanent Residence, which is often based on their work, skills and education.

There are two pathways for Permanent Residency for those who are self-employed:

  • Cultural Activities
    This is a very broad and liberal grouping that can include artists, musicians, filmmakers, illustrators, journalists and anyone who is a "behind the scenes" worker in cultural industries Applicants must also meet the criteria of "world class" workers. Costumers, choreographers and directors all fall under this heading.
  • Athletics
    Coaches, trainers and athletes all fall under this heading.

Applicants must have proven records of earning an income and supporting themselves and their families through their work. As an example, the criteria for the cultural activities workers is that they must be "world class".

Qualifying and Applying

To qualify for the Self-Employed Stream, according to Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), you must have relevant experience that meets the specific area in which you work. Just like everyone else hoping for Permanent Resident status in Canada, you will have to submit an application. However, it is not as simple as it sounds. More information can be found on the Citizenship and Immigration Website.

Free Download: Qualifications to Immigrate to Canada as a Self-Employed Person


Your application is scored out of a possible 100 points. In order to be accepted, you must earn at least 35 points. As an example, if you have five years of demonstrable and proven experience, you receive 35 points. If you can only prove two years of experience, it is worth 20. The officer receiving the application also takes into consideration your age (with points deducted for each year over 49 and under 21). Your education and your language levels boost your score, and your "adaptability" will play a role as well.

And if you don't hit 35 points? There is still an option for entering as a self-employed person. It is entirely up to the discretion of a visa officer to grant Permanent Residence, but you must formally ask for that consideration. Again, though, you will need evidence proving you will make a go of it in your chosen field. The process of consideration is complicated, with two officers needing to be in agreement.

This is why self-employed immigrants into Canada will benefit greatly from time spent with an immigration legal expert, discussing options and making the best application possible.

Contact us today at (403) 452-9515 Ext. 100 or 1-800-932-1190 or email us directly.

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I used Ackah Business Immigration Law to assist me during my application process for a work permit. Evelyn and her team provided great support whenever I needed it and made it possible for me to perform my one-year internship at McGill University. I had the feeling that they cared about by immigration to a high extent and without their help, I would not have been able to get my work permit.

– Steffan Noe Christiansen, MSc student in Molecular Medicine, Aarhus University

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