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Self –employment immigration in Canada

Let’s discuss the possibilities to apply as self-employed person and to immigrate to Canada. We want to talk about the different categories and the key factors to take into consideration before submitting an application and briefly enumerate the needed documentation.

While being your own boss is most people’s dream when it comes to the labour category, it is hard to achieve regardless of the country one is located. In most cases it requires ten times more time and effort than working for somebody else, without mentioning the massive capital investment on the early stages of your business project.

Regardless of the above, the dream is attainable. Canada, in its constant interest to attract world class entrepreneurs, investors and individuals, offers an immigration opportunity for those who, prior to their application, have been successful as self-employed individuals. The word prior is fundamental in this article given that the Canadian government is not looking for dreamers who plan to succeed in a new land with their current skills, but people who are already making a living on their own and want to live in the country and continue with their careers, or even expand them. There is a Canadian immigration program for startups and investors which are briefly discussed in other articles.

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What do I need to qualify for a self employment immigration program?

First we must address that these programs are related to either athletics or cultural activities. You can apply for skilled worker programs and express entry or even provincial nominations in the event that your field is not related to those mentioned above. To clarify this, the Canadian government provides a list of the activities that are including in the self-employment immigration stream.

Although the list is somehow extensive, those who are not on the list or directly related to the categories might have a better chance by applying to other immigration programs. Some of the activities are:

 ·         Librarians, archivists, conservators and curators
·         Writing, translating and related communications professionals
·         Creative and performing artists
·         Photographers, graphic arts technicians and technical and coordinating occupations in motion pictures, broadcasting and the performing arts
·         Announcers and other performers, n.e.c.
·         Creative designers and craftspersons
·         Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations

Each of these has subcategories. Find out if you are eligible having In mind that regarding the said professional activity, relevant or extensive experience is required to apply. Such experience consists on at least two years working on the field. The criteria is very clear when stating that this experience is referred to “world class” athletics or cultural events, if any.

You can either be self-employed in these activities, or as mentioned before, to have participated in world class competitions or activities on the field.

For the most part the application process remains the same. General application forms, language test in either English or French must be provided, and health exams shall be included in the application.

Am I eligible for a self-employed program?

Please do not be discouraged by the above paragraphs. You can apply by having two or more years as a freelance interior designer or video editor, have your own advertisement agency, or a soccer coach. The “world class” expression mostly applies in terms of participation as an athlete or performer rather than working in the field.

As moving to another country will change your working strategy, prices and overall services, it is advised that you look into the Canadian job market so you know in advance if you can create a positive impact in the sector you will apply to.

Also, every province has different needs. Be sure to search for a province where your skills are high on demand by the time you apply. This will dramatically reduce your adaptation times and success in the short term. As always, look into the Quebec requirements as it has a different system than the rest of the country. Overall the country is looking for individuals who will be able to support themselves and expand business by creating job opportunities all over the country. These individuals will bring knowledge, relevant experience and transferable skills without taking jobs from the labour market, but rather expanding the job offers in the future.      

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