In Canada, there is an immigration program for everyone! There are also more than 100 immigration programs in Canada! If you have been following all the FREE resources I have been sharing for some time, you have probably heard this from me before!
If you are a self-employed person, there are also possibilities for you to use your business or self-employment to move to Canada. And this could be as a temporary resident or permanent resident as well.
This post is to guide you on the programs/pathways to focus your attention on. So, do additional research or speak to professionals (if needed) before you proceed. This is important!
The six (6) possible ways:
1) The Express Entry Program
In 2015, Canada started the Express Entry system to process permanent residence applications for SKILLED workers who want to settle in Canada permanently. Every year, thousands of candidates are invited through any of the three(3) sub-categories of the Express Entry System to become permanent residents in Canada.
Express Entry is the most popular program for permanent residence applications in Canada because it doesn’t require you to compulsorily have a job offer in Canada. The work experience from your home country, work experience as a student in your current country, or work experience after your study in your current country can all be used to apply for permanent residence through Express Entry.
The beautiful part of this is that the work experience can also be as a self-employed person.
As long as you have evidence that you are a business owner or self-employed, and your job fits into what is a skilled job in Canada, you are good to go.
Some of the documents to present as proof of your self-employment are:
- Certificate of incorporation
- Certificate of business registration
- Certificate of good business conduct
- Proof of online presence (website, social media pages) for your business
- Business financial statement
- Tax return
- Audit report
- Business licenses
- Portfolio of work
- References from past clients, industry leaders, etc
Provide as much as possible of these documents and other information that will prove that you truly did/or currently doing the work.
I have written extensively about this in the past, and now that the draws are back, it’s a good time to start preparing for the program. The previous comprehensive posts I made on the program are available at:
2) Provincial Nomination Programs
Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) serve two major purposes.
- You can use them to increase your Express Entry score. If nominated as an Express Entry applicant, it adds 600 extra scores to your Express Entry score.
- You can use them to immigrate to Canada even without having an Express Entry profile. Some provinces have separate nomination routes that are not aligned with Express Entry. And through these, they bring foreign nationals to Canada as permanent residents.
You will find a comprehensive post I made on how to get a Provincial Nomination in Canada here
Fun fact: There are 10 provinces and 3 territories in Canada, and these provinces have different nomination requirements. So, take the time to go through each provincial website in the link above for more information. And find a province you are eligible for their program.
And just like the Express Entry Program, you can also use your self-employed business to apply for Provincial Nominee Programs.
3) The Federal Self-Employed Program
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
The eligibility criteria for the program states that you must:
- have relevant experience
- be willing and able to be self-employed in Canada
- meet the program’s selection criteria and
- meet medical, security and other conditions
Your experience is relevant and means at least two years of experience which must be during the period starting 5 years before the day you apply.
Under the Self-Employed Persons Program, what does cultural activities mean?
Cultural activities include jobs generally seen as part of Canada’s artistic and cultural fields. Examples include:
- authors and writers,
- creative and performing artists,
- sculptors and other visual artists,
- technical support and other jobs in motion pictures,
- creative designers and
If you are self-employed in any of these areas or an athlete, you can also give this a shot.
You will find more information about the program and how to apply here.
4) Study in Canada
No matter the country you currently live in, or what your previous experience is, you can also still apply to study in Canada from anywhere in the world. This is applicable to any level of study.
The good thing about studying in Canada is that it makes you eligible for more permanent residence program that those who are not in Canada are not eligible for. I have written extensively about this, and the resources to check are:
- How to find schools and apply to study in Canada. Available here
- How to find scholarships in Canada. Available here
- The 15 schools to focus on for scholarships in Canada. Available here
- The 10 Canadian scholarships you must not miss every year. Available here.
- How to apply for a Canadian study permit by yourself. Available here
Sel-employed individuals can leverage their previous business experience to come to Canada for business-related degrees that will equip them with the skills and experiences to take their businesses to the next level.
5) The Federal Start-up Program
The Federal Start-up Visa program allows you to immigrate to Canada by starting a business and creating jobs, or support innovative entrepreneurs.
Canada’s Start-up Visa Program targets immigrant entrepreneurs with the skills and potential to build businesses in Canada that:
- are innovative
- can create jobs for Canadians
- can compete on a global scale
Do you have an innovative business idea? If you can get support for your idea from one of the designated organizations, you may be able to immigrate to Canada.
So, if you started a business in the country you are and want to scale globally or move the business to Canada, this is your opportunity to do so and become a permanent resident with this. You can read more about the program here.
6) Provincial Entrepreneur Programs
Just like we have the Federal Start-up Visa program, there are also business/investor programs for business owners or those who want to start businesses in any province in Canada.
It could be an opportunity for you to replicate your self-employed business in Canada and start a similar business or venture.
I have curated a thread detailing the various requirements for this, and you can read the post here.
The 10 Provinces in Canada have their specific requirements for those who intend to start a business in their province and use that as a pathway to permanent residency.
Pay particular attention to the amount of money to invest and the expected net worth you must have.
While the 6 immigration pathways outlined here are just a fraction of the numerous pathways to move to Canada, they are good starting points for those who are interested in relocating to Canada as a self-employed person.
Don’t forget the 3Ps I always tell you about. Moving to a new country takes a lot of deliberate effort. So, you have to plan, follow the due process, and be patient.
I hope someone finds this useful!
If you have any comments, questions, feedback, or need clarifications, and want to reach out to us, click here.
NB: The posts and information on this website are not legal advice.
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