This category is open only to individuals with prior self-employed experience as farmers, athletes (at an international level), or artisans. To qualify under the Self-Employed category, an applicant must demonstrate an intention and ability to establish or purchase a business in Canada that will keep him or her employed and makes a “significant” contribution to the economy or the cultural or artistic life of Canada.

Applicants must demonstrate that the proposed business will generate sufficient revenues to support the applicant and his or her dependents. Farmers, artisans, sports personalities, actors, consultants, and operators of small business outlets that may be in demand are examples of applicants who may qualify.In order to be approved as a Self-Employed Immigrant, the applicant must first meet the regulatory definition, and then comply with the selection criteria for that category of the immigrant. Most applicants are selected or refused because they meet, or fail to meet, the definition.

Who is a Self-Employed Immigrant?

The following aspects of the regulatory definition should be factored into assessment of a Self-Employed Immigrant:

  • Intends and has ability to do business in Canada;
  • Able to establish or purchase a business in Canada;
  • Will create an employment opportunity for himself;
  • Will make a significant contribution to the economy or the cultural or artistic life of Canada.


Applicants are accessed on a point system. Eight factors are taken into consideration. Self-Employed applicants are required to achieve 35 points out of possible total of 100, in order to qualify. Applicants are accessed on the following factors

  • Education;
  • Business Experience;
  • Age;
  • Knowledge of English and French;
  • Adaptability

Features of the Self-Employed Program

  • No immigration “terms and conditions” are imposed requiring the applicant to set up his/her business;
  • Self-employed immigrants must have the ability to establish a business that will at a minimum create an employment for themselves which will make a significant contribution to the economy or to Canada’s artistic or cultural life;

There is no minimum investment level for a self-employed person. The capital required depends on the character of the business. The applicant must have a sufficient amount to create an employment for himself and support his/her family. The applicant must show that he/she has been able to support himself and family through his talents and would be likely to continue to do so in Canada. This includes the ability to be self-supporting until his employment will be created.

One year of work experience (or equivalent) is required, previous self-employment is not a pre-requisite. A person’s experience or past success in business may be strong indicators of ability to establish a business in Canada. Hands on experience in management may also be an excellent measure of ability.

A professional may quality as a self-employed person if he/she intends to practice his/her profession in Canada as a business. Registration or licensing may be necessary to demonstrate an ability to operate a professional practice in Canada. The application would not be approved until the applicant has complied with the registration or licensing requirements in effect in the area of destination.

There is no specific determination of significant contribution for a self-employed person. The business should contribute in ongoing fashion to the economy or the cultural and artistic life of one of Canada’s communities, provinces or territories.