Self Employed Persons

The Self-employed class is for individuals who have relevant cultural experience and can make a cultural contribution to Canada.  There are no dollar figures involved in the assessment of applications, and there are very few objective criteria.

The two basic requirements are:

  • the applicant must have relevant experience outside Canada; and
  • the applicant must have the intention and ability to be self-employed in specific economic activities in Canada.

Relevant Experience

Applicants in the self-employed class must meet the minimum of two complete one-year periods of self-employed experience.  The relevant experience must be gained in one of three domains: cultural activities, athletics, or farming.  Cultural activities and athletics are broadly defined, and can include not just performers, artists, and athletes but also coaches, trainers, behind-the-scenes workers and other creative talent, or even managers such as impresarios and producers.

The requirements for experience are

  • participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics. What constitutes world-class will be very case specific, but will usually entail international renown or achievement at the highest levels of the applicant’s discipline;
  • farm management experience; or
  • self-employment in cultural activities or athletics.  The key element to determining “self-employment” is the ability to support oneself and family members from earnings that do not derive from an employer-employee relationship.  The applicant may be employed at the same time, but must show that earnings from self-employment only were enough to live off of.

Cultural activities include music, teachers, painters, illustrators, film makers, freelance journalists, choreographers, and set designers.

Intention to be Self-Employed

Officers must be satisfied that the applicant can earn enough to support themselves and their family members in Canada.  In most cases of cultural activities and athletics there can be a presumption that, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, if the applicant earns enough where they currently reside, their earnings in Canada would probably be scaled proportionally.

For farmers, the applicant’s experience and skills must also be assessed. As well, the applicant must demonstrate the ability to purchase a commercial farm in Canada.  The rule of thumb for the minimum capital required is approximately $1,000,000.

Selection Grid

Once the minimum requirements are met, applicants must also obtain a passing grade of 35/100 points according to the selection grid.



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