The Self-Employed Persons Program is one of the business immigration programs, however, it is aimed exclusively at certain categories of self-employed foreigners. Unlike the Start-Up Visa program or the Owner/Operator immigration path, the Self-Employed Persons Program only targets professional artists and professional athletes.

Self Employed Persons Program

In the past, Canada has also accepted Self Employed Farmers who were wishing to acquire and operate a farm in Canada under this program, but as of March 10, 2018, applications for this category of self-employed are no longer accepted.

Potential Self-Employed Immigrants do not need a permanent employer and can provide themselves with work in Canada through their professional activities. These immigrants can make a valuable contribution to both the economy and Canadian society through their talents.

List of occupations for immigration as self-employed artists or athletes under the Self-Employed Persons Program (SEPP).

Eligible occupations for self-employed artists and cultural workers:
Full list of occupations
  • NOC 51100 Librarians
  • NOC 51101 Conservators and curators
  • NOC 51102 Archivists
  • NOC 51111 Authors and writers
  • NOC 51110 Editors
  • NOC 51113 Journalists
  • NOC 51114 Translators, terminologists, and interpreters
  • NOC 51120 Producers, directors, choreographers and related occupations
  • NOC 511121 Conductors, composers, and arrangers
  • NOC 51122 Musicians and singers
  • NOC 53120 Dancers
  • NOC 53121 Actors and comedians
  • NOC 53122 Painters, sculptors, and other visual artists
  • NOC 52100 Library and public archive technicians
  • NOC 53100 Technical occupations related to museums and art galleries
  • NOC 53110 Photographers
  • NOC 52110 Film and video camera operators
  • NOC 52111 Graphic arts technicians
  • NOC 52112 Broadcast technicians
  • NOC 52113 Audio and video recording technicians
  • NOC 52119 Other technical and co-ordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, and the performing arts
  • NOC 53111 Support occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting, photography and the performing arts
  • NOC 52114 Announcers and other broadcasters
  • NOC 55109 Other performers, n.e.c.
  • NOC 52120 Graphic designers and illustrators
  • NOC 52121 Interior designers and interior decorators
  • NOC 53123 Theatre, fashion, exhibit and other creative designers
  • NOC 53124 Artisans and craftspersons
  • NOC 53125 Patternmakers – textile, leather and fur products
Eligible occupations for self-employed athletes and professional sports workers:
Full list of occupations

Occupations for self-employed athletes and professional sports workers:

  • NOC 53200 Athletes
  • NOC 53201 Coaches
  • NOC 53202 Sports officials and referees
  • NOC 54100 Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport, and fitness

It is important to note that self-employed activity should generate income and profit. Self-Employed candidates must work in their business for at least 2 years over the past 5 years.

What is required to apply for the Self-Employed Persons Program?

  • Have 2 years of experience in sports or cultural activities
  • Score at least 35 points out of 100
  • Show that you have the financial resources needed to support yourself and your family for the first 6-12 months.
  • Prepare a business plan confirming the ability to provide yourself with your professional activities.

SEPP Evaluation Criteria

In all Canadian immigration programs, potential applicants are rated on a rating scale. SEPP has a significantly lower passing score than other programs. This is what gives potential candidates with a background in cultural and professional sports a better chance of immigrating to Canada with minimal skills and basic experience. The minimum passing score for self-employed persons is 35 points out of 100 possible. These points are distributed as follows:

  • Education – maximum of 25 points
  • Work experience – maximum of 35 points
  • Age – maximum of 10 points
  • Knowledge of English and/or French – maximum of 24 points
  • Adaptability – maximum of 6 points

It is quite easy to get a passing score in this program. Having a post-secondary education and two years of work experience will give a candidate 42-45 points in total, as well as a combination of age of 21-49 years, two years of work experience, and completed secondary education in total will give exactly 35 points. If you have five years of experience as a professional artist or sportsman in the last five years, this alone will give you 35 points.

Immigration via the Self-Employed Persons Program is divided into several stages:

Stage 1: Preparing your initial document package

At this stage, you will receive instructions on language tests and obtaining an Education Credential Assessment, as well as financial documents proving your professional activity. We will also provide a complete list of the documents we need to process your application.

Stage 2: Writing a business plan

Since the Self-Employed Persons Program is a business immigration program, you will need a business plan for your application. Our business consultants will prepare a business plan for your professional career in Canada. It will be necessary in order to confirm your financial self-sufficiency after moving to Canada.

Stage 3: PR Application Submission

Once all supporting documents have been collected, we will send your complete application, supported by the relevant documents, to the Canadian government. At this stage, you will also need to pay the government fees for processing your application (mandatory) and the right for permanent residency fee (optional).

Stage 4: Application processing

This stage is the longest in the whole process. The federal government will review your application and make sure you meet all the conditions for the Self-Employed Persons Program. At this stage, you will need to undergo a medical examination and submit your biometric data. Canada will also check your criminal records and other security checks. In some cases, the Department of Immigration may request additional documents to make a final decision.

Stage 5: Becoming a Permanent Resident

Once all checks are cleared, you will receive a Ready for Visa email with the request to send your passports or passport copies to the Visa office. 3-4 weeks after that you will get a Confirmation of the Permanent Residency. With this document, you will be able to come to Canada and do the landing. After the landing, you will be officially a Permanent Resident of Canada.

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