Are you a nationally or internationally acclaimed cultural artist or athlete? Have you been self-employed as an artist or athlete for some time? If yes, you may be eligible to immigrate to Canada.

Making a major artistic input or cultural life or athletics for the self-employed class would greatly enrich Canadian culture and sports. The Self-employed Persons Program allows people to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person.

If you’re interested in this program, you must:

  • have relevant experience in cultural activities or athletics and
  • be willing and able to make a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life of Canada
Immigration matters to Canadian business sector

Things to Know about Applying as a Self Employed Individual

As a self-employed individual you can apply for permanent resident status based on your ability to demonstrate that you will make significant contributions to Canadian culture or athletics.

The Self Employed program is a very complex application as you will need to exhibit your intent, ambitions as well as your upcoming future plans in Canada.

Often individuals who wish to apply under this category struggle with what documentation they could provide to demonstrate their intentions and future plans in Canada. Typically, we assist them in producing a business plan that would satisfy an officer of their intentions. 

Selection Criteria for Self-Employed Persons

There is a selection grid to assess whether a candidate will be able to make an economic contribution to Canada. A candidate is required to score at least 35 points out of 100 points to meet the minimum eligibility criteria under the following factors:

Selection CriteriaMax Points
Relevant Work Experience35
Ability in English/French*24
Adaptability (Spouse or common law partner)6

What Experience Counts?

Experience is relevant if a candidate has taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or has been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics. “World-class” means a person who is famous internationally. It also applies to persons who may not be popular worldwide but perform at the highest levels in their discipline. 

At least two years of relevant work experience in the applicant’s professional industry are required within the five years that precede their business immigration application. Professional athletes and individuals in the arts and culture industry must either provide proof of:  

  • Two years of being self-employed within their industry, or
  • Two years of participating at a world-class level within their domain, or
  • A combination of one year of each of the above.

All those applying to the Federal Self-Employed Program must intend to settle in any Canadian province or territory with the exception of Quebec, who has its own self-employed immigration program.

Eligible Occupations under Self-Employed Persons Program

Professional occupations in art and culture (Major Group 51 of NOC):

  • 511 Librarians, archivists, conservators and curators
  • 5111 Librarians
  • 5112 Conservators and curators
  • 5113 Archivists
  • 512 Writing, translating and related communications professionals
  • 5121 Authors and writers
  • 5122 Editors
  • 5123 Journalists
  • 5125 Translators, terminologists, and interpreters
  • 513 Creative and performing artists
  • 5131 Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations
  • 5132 Conductors, composers, and arrangers
  • 5133 Musicians and singers
  • 5134 Dancers
  • 5135 Actors and comedians
  • 5136 Painters, sculptors, and other visual artists

Technical occupations in art, culture, recreation, and sport (Major Group 52):

  • 521 Technical occupations in libraries, public archives, museums and art galleries 
  • 5211 Library and public archive technicians
  • 5212 Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries
  • 522 Photographers, graphic arts technicians and technical and -coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts
  • 5221 Photographers
  • 5222 Film and video camera operators
  • 5223 Graphic arts technicians
  • 5224 Broadcast technicians
  • 5225 Audio and video recording technicians
  • 5226 Other technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts
  • 5227 Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts
  • 523 Announcers and other performers
  • 5231 Announcers and other broadcasters
  • 5232 Other performers
  • 524 Creative designers and craftsperson 
  • 5241 Graphic designers and illustrators
  • 5242 Interior designers and interior decorators
  • 5243 Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers
  • 5244 Artisans and craftsperson
  • 5245 Patternmakers – textile, leather and fur products
  • 525 Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations
  • 5251 Athletes
  • 5252 Coaches
  • 5253 Sports officials and referees
  • 5254 Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport, and fitness

Apply Today with our Expert Immigration Team

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • 1. What is the minimum net worth required for Federal Self-Employed Immigration?

    Unlike the Entrepreneur immigration, there is no minimum net worth requirement for the Federal Self-Employed Immigration program.

  • 2. What is the minimum investment required for Federal Self-Employed Immigration?

    Unlike the Entrepreneur immigration, there is no minimum investment requirement for the Federal Self-Employed Immigration program. Since this program is a self-employment program, one doesn’t need to set up a corporation, hire employees etc like Entrepreneur Immigration. One just needs to be self-employed.

  • 3. What does world class mean in Federal Self-Employed Immigration?

    Participation at a World Class level doesn’t necessarily mean that you can only qualify if you participated in sporting world cups, or you were an actor in Hollywood movies etc. But one needs to be known internationally, there must be an interest in engaging your services from outside of your country and you should be part of an international organization.

  • 4. I have artists or athletes as employees, but I am not an artist or an athlete, can I still be eligible for the Federal Self-Employed program?

    No. But you might be eligible for Entrepreneur Immigration programs of different provinces, provided you meet their min net worth and min investment requirements.

  • 5. How long does it take to immigrate through the Federal Self-Employed program?

    21 months these days. But it has taken several years in the past.

  • 6. Can I apply for a work permit while waiting for my federal self-employed application to be processed?

    Yes, if you have a first stage approval of your application, you can apply for a work permit to enter Canada and start your self-employment in your occupation.

  • 7. What is a Canada Self Employed visa?

    The Federal Self-Employed visa is a category of immigration dedicated for Artists and Athletes with recent self-employment experience or experience of participation at a world-class level. If one meets the experience requirement, one needs to score 35 or higher out of 100 points to be eligible.

  • 8. How can artists immigrate to Canada?

    Artists who have relevant experience as a self-employed person or who have participated at a world-class level can immigrate to Canada through the Federal Self-Employed program.