Self-employed persons class: Assessing the application against selection criteria
This section contains policy, procedures and guidance used by IRCC staff. It is posted on the department’s website as a courtesy to stakeholders.
As of June 4, 2019, all in-Canada visitor record, study permit and work permit applications must be submitted electronically, with some exemptions. See the list of programs that are exempt from the mandatory electronic application requirement.
In order to be eligible for consideration in the Self-Employed Persons Class, the applicant must meet the regulatory definition [R88].
The following information will assist officers in assessing an applicant's experience, intent and ability to create their own employment in Canada.
- Applicants must demonstrate that they have at least two years of relevant experience during the period beginning five years before the date of the permanent resident application and ending on the day a determination is made on the application, as outlined in the definition.
- Self-employed experience in cultural activities or athletics will capture those traditionally applying in this category, for example, music teachers, painters, illustrators, film makers, freelance journalists. Beyond that, the category is intended to capture those people who work behind the scenes as a self-employed person, for example, choreographers, set designers, coaches and trainers. If you want to apply under the self-employed program, check if your occupation can be considered self-employment. This is not a definitive or exhaustive list.
- Participation at a world-class level in cultural activities or athletics intends to capture performers. This describes those who perform in the arts, and in the world of sport. “World class” identifies persons who are known internationally. It also identifies persons who may not be known internationally but perform at the highest levels in their discipline.
Intent and Ability to be Self-Employed in Canada
Note: The instructions below that refer to farm management are applicable only to applications received before March 10, 2018.
- A self-employed applicant must demonstrate the intention and ability to create his/her own employment in Canada through cultural activities, athletics or the purchase and management of a farm.
- A person's financial assets may be a measure of intent and ability to establish economically in Canada. There is no minimum investment level for a self-employed person. The capital required depends on the nature of the work.
- Applicants must have sufficient funds to create an employment opportunity for themselves and support themselves and their family members. This includes the ability to be self-supporting until the self-employment has been created.
- A demonstrated ability to support themselves and their family through their talents could be a good indicator of their ability to continue to do so in Canada.
- With respect to the intent and ability to purchase and manage a farm in Canada, self-employed applicants must demonstrate evidence of sufficient funds to purchase and manage the farm. If the applicant is purchasing the farm using borrowed funds, they should be knowledgeable about the cost of borrowing money and the visa officer must be satisfied that the applicant can make a success of his/her farming project, using borrowed funds.
- To be able to manage a farm successfully, the applicant needs to demonstrate that they have some familiarity with the type of farming activities in the area of destination. An applicant who has not conducted a minimum level of research into the proposed farming enterprise in Canada would have difficulty in supporting his/her claim to have the intention and the ability to pursue farming in Canada.
- Officers may also refer to the websites of Agriculture Canada or the Canadian Federation of Agriculture to gather information on the agricultural sector in the province where the applicant wishes to settle, including the types of farming activities in the province, the average price for a farm, the average size of a farm, the requirements needed in terms of investment, expected revenues per year. Regulations (quotas, etc) in effect for the various types of farm products and other relevant conditions which may have an impact on the applicant’s plans as well as farming real estate websites are also useful resources for determining purchase prices in the province of intended destination.
Intention and Ability to Make a Significant Contribution to Specific Economic Activities
Note: The instructions below that refer to farm management are applicable only to applications received before March 10, 2018.
- It is intended that the Self-Employed Persons Class enrich Canadian culture and sports. In other words, when applicants meet the test of experience and there is a reasonable expectation they will be self-employed, the test of significant contribution becomes relative. For example, a music teacher destined to a small town can be considered significant at the local level. Likewise, a freelance journalist who contributes to a Canadian publication will meet the test.
- It is the intent of the Regulations that any farmer meeting the experience requirement, regardless of field of activity, is eligible for consideration in the Self-Employed Persons Class. The basic selection requirement to be met by applicants is that they intend to purchase a farm, have the financial resources to do so and have the intention and ability to manage the farm to be purchased.
- In the end, the definition of “significant contribution” is left to the discretion of the officer, but is not intended to bar qualified self-employed persons who are applying in good faith. Its inclusion in the definition is intended to bar frivolous applications.
Note: If an applicant does not meet the regulatory definition of a self-employed person, R100(2) mandates the refusal of the application without further assessment.
If an officer is satisfied that an applicant meets the regulatory definition of a self-employed person, the officer will assess the applicant against the point system for the Self-Employed Persons Class. Based on the information and documents provided in the application, officers will award the applicant points against the following five selection factors:
- official language proficiency
The officer will review the application in detail, considering all the information and documentation provided with respect to the applicant’s experience, age, education, official language proficiency and adaptability to determine if the applicant meets the eligibility requirements for a self-employed person.
Officers will evaluate an applicant's eligibility using the following grid. A member of the Self-Employed Persons Class requires at least 35 points out of a possible total of 100 for an application to be approved.
|Selection criteria||Maximum points|
|Official language proficiency||24|
Officers should award the applicant up to a maximum of 35 points for their relevant experience (see section 6.2) as follows:
|RELEVANT EXPERIENCEFootnote *||Maximum 35 points|
|Five years’ relevant experience||35|
|Four years’ relevant experience||30|
|Three years’ relevant experience||25|
|Two years’ relevant experience||20|
Officers should award the applicant up to a maximum of 10 points for their age on the date their application is received as follows:
|AGE||Maximum 10 points|
|21 years of age or older, but less than 50 years of age||10|
|20 or 50 years of age||8|
|19 or 51 years of age||6|
|18 or 52 years of age||4|
|17 or 53 years of age||2|
|Under 17 years of age or 54 years of age or older||0|
Officers should expect to see proof of education in the form of a certificate, diploma or degree. Officers should review the documentation provided by the applicant and determine if the requirement is met based on the standards that exist in the country of study. For example, a technical credit may be the equivalent to a high school diploma in Canada, but in the country of study, it is considered to be post-secondary.
Pursuant to R102.2(2), officers should award points for the credential and years of study that the applicant has completed at the time the application is made. If further study is completed and documentation submitted between application and assessment, officers must award the points for the highest educational credential obtained at the time of assessment.
A distance learning credential is eligible for points as long as it meets the definition of a credential. If the credential is not described in terms of number of years duration (i.e., three-year bachelor’s degree), officers should apply the definition of full-time equivalent study and knowledge that the visa office has acquired on local education institutions and credentials. R102(2) defines “full-time equivalent” in respect to part-time or accelerated studies, as the period that would have been required to complete those studies on a full-time basis.
Officers should award the applicant up to a maximum of 25 points for their education as follows:
|EDUCATION||Maximum 25 points|
|Master’s Degree or Ph.D. and at least 17 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||25|
|Two or more university degrees at the bachelor’s level and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study
Three-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 15 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study
|University degree of two years or more at the bachelor’s level and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study
Two-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 14 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study
|One-year university degree at the bachelor’s level and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study
One-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 13 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study
|One-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship and at least 12 years of full-time or full-time equivalent study||12|
|Secondary school education||5|
- If an applicant has a Master’s degree, but only 16 years of education, an officer would award the applicant 22 points.
- If an applicant has a four-year Bachelor’s degree and 16 years of education, an officer would award the applicant 20 points, as a single two, three, or four-year university credential at the bachelor’s level, combined with at least 14 years of full-time study, is worth 20 points.
Note: Medical degrees are generally first-level university credentials, in the same way that a Bachelor of Law or a Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology is a first level degree and should be awarded 20 points. If it is a second-level degree as part of a Faculty of Graduate Studies, 25 points may be awarded. However, if a bachelor’s credential is a prerequisite to that credential, it is still considered a first-level degree and awarded 22 points. It is important to refer to how the local authority responsible for educational institutions recognizes the credential.
Official Language Proficiency
An officer must consider the results of the principal applicant’s language proficiency test from a designated testing agency, which are no more than two years old on the date on which the application is made, demonstrating that they meet or exceed the language proficiency threshold set by the Minister in all four skill areas in the first official language identified in their application. The results are conclusive evidence of an applicant’s language proficiency pursuant to R102.3, and other written evidence must not be considered.
Officers should award the applicant up to a maximum of 24 points for their official language proficiency based on the benchmarks referred to in the Canadian Language Benchmarks and the Niveaux de compétence linguistique canadiens, as follows:
|OFFICIAL LANGUAGES||First Language||Second Language|
In the first official language, 4 points for each language skill area if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 8 or higher; and
In the second official language, 2 points for each language skill area if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 8 or higher.
In the first official language, 2 points for each language skill area if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 6 or 7; and
In the second official language, 2 points for each language skill area if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 6 or 7.
In the first official language, 1 point for each language skill area, up to a maximum of 2 points, if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 4 or 5; and
In the second official language, 1 point for each language skill area, up to a maximum of 2 points, if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 4 or 5.
In either official language, 0 points if proficiency corresponds to a benchmark of 3 or lower.
Officers should award the applicant up to a maximum of 6 points for adaptability on the basis of any combination of the elements below.
|ADAPTABILITY||Maximum 10 points|
|Spouse’s or common-law partner’s level of education:
||3, 4 or 5|
|Previous work in Canada:
Award 5 points if the applicant or accompanying spouse or common-law partner has completed a minimum of 1 year of full-time work in Canada on a valid work permit
|Previous study in Canada:
Award 5 points if the applicant or accompanying spouse or common-law partner has completed a program of full-time study of at least 2 years’ duration at a post-secondary institution in Canada, if this occurred after the age of 17 and with valid study permits (Note: the person is not required to have obtained an educational credential to earn the points, but must have completed a program of full-time study of at least 2 years’ duration)
|Relatives in Canada:
Award 5 points if the applicant or accompanying spouse or common-law partner has a relative (parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, child of a parent, sibling, child of a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or grandchild of a parent, niece or nephew) who is residing in Canada and is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident
Note: This point system does not apply to persons who are selected under the Quebec program. Under the terms of the Canada-Quebec Accord, Quebec selects its own business immigrants.
Confirming the applicant’s intended occupation
After the application has been reviewed in detail, the officer must determine whether the National Occupational Classification (NOC) number in the Global Case Management System (GCMS) accurately reflects the applicant’s intended occupation. If not, the NOC number must be updated in GCMS for the principal applicant in the “Clients and Parties” tab.
Note: Please refrain from using general NOC numbers, such as “NOC 9914 – New Worker,” as entering accurate information on the occupations of self-employed applicants helps the department gather important data.
Reminder: NOC 2016 must be used for applications received before November 16, 2022.
Making the eligibility decision
After assessing the applicant's eligibility, the officer will either
- determine that the applicant does not meet the regulatory definition and/or minimum points and refuse the application, or
- decide that the applicant is eligible as a self-employed person and proceed to assess admissibility
Note: There are no provisions in the Regulations to impose conditions on self-employed applicants.
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