Immigrating to Canada as a Self-Employed person in 2023

Immigrating to Canada as a Self-Employed person in 2023

Who is a Self-employed person? 

For immigration purposes, the IRCC defines a Self-employed person as someone with relevant experience working for themselves. 

Special measures for Self-employed Health Care workers 

The Issue 

Given the unique way, healthcare is delivered in Canada, Physicians and many healthcare workers are often self-employed, independent contractors reimbursed by public health authorities on a contractual basis.  

Previously, such workers would find themselves excluded from the Express Entry pool due to their work not qualifying under the Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Worker Class which required an explicit offer of employment and stipulations for continuous work for at least one year. 

Further, such healthcare workers were also disqualified under the Canadian Experience Class as their self-employed experience was not counted towards their qualifying in-Canada work experience. 

Can Self-employed physicians get Permanent residency under Express Entry? 

Yes, the government has made some policy changes to help self-employed physicians and their chances of receiving an Invitation to Apply under the Federal Skilled Worker Class and the Canadian Experience Class. 

Starting April 25, 2023, qualified Physicians are exempted from two regulations: 

  • Subsection 82(1) which states that a candidate’s arranged employment must be continuous full-time employment for at least one year 
  • Subsection 87.1(3)(b) which states that any period of self-employment shall not be included when calculating a period of work experience. 

The Self-employed Persons program 

The Self-employed Persons program helps people with experience in cultural activities or athletics to immigrate to Canada as permanent residents. 

What qualifies under cultural activities? 

Cultural activities enhance Canada’s artistic and cultural fields and include: 

  • Authors and writers 
  • Creative and performing artists 
  • Musicians 
  • Painters 
  • Sculptors and Visual artists 
  • Technical support and jobs in motion pictures 
  • Creative designers and 
  • Craftspeople 


Apart from having relevant experience in any of the cultural activities listed above or athletics, the person must be able and willing to contribute to Canada’s cultural or athletic life. Relevant experience in this regard can be broken down into: 

Cultural activities 

  • Two one-year periods of being self-employed in cultural activities or 
  • Two one-year periods of participation in a world-class cultural activity or a combination of the two 


  • Two one-year periods of being self-employed in athletics 
  • Two one-year periods participating at a world-class level in athletics or any combination of the two. 

Once a person fulfils these requirements, they are eligible to apply under the Self-employed person program. New applications can be submitted at the IRCC’s Permanent Residence online application portal. 

How much does an application under the Self-employed Persons program cost? 

The process carries a fee of $2,140. 

What are the Selection criteria for the Self-employed persons program? 

After fulfilling the requirements, candidates will be evaluated on a selection grid that determines if they can contribute economically to the country. 

The program assigns applicants points based on various factors, including their Age, Education, Experience, Proficiency in either English or French and overall adaptability. Candidates need a minimum of 35 points to qualify under this program. The distribution of points is as follows: 

Criteria  Maximum points 
Education  25 points for applicants with a Master’s Degree or Ph.D 
Experience  25 points for Three years of Relevant experience 
Age  10 points for applicants between the ages of 21-49 
Proficiency in English or French  24 points 
Adaptability  6 points 
Total Points  100 points 


The alternative, Quebec’s Self-employed Worker Immigration Program 

Quebec’s Self-employed Worker program parallels the Federal program and allows qualified self-employed workers to settle in the province. 

Eligibility criteria 

To be eligible for the Quebec Self-employed Worker program, an applicant must: 

  • Commit to practicing their profession or business activity in Quebec 
  • Have a minimum net worth of at least CAD 100,000 that can be shared with a spouse or common-law partner. 
  • Have at least two years of self-employment experience. 
  • Make a Start-up deposit of CAD 25,000 or 50,000, depending on if the applicant will practice outside the Communaute Metropolitaine de Montreal (CMM) or within. 
  • Receive an Attestation of learning about democratic values and Quebec values. 
  • Obtain a minimum of 63 out of 107 points in the program’s selection grid that factors in an applicant’s age, education level, language, prior visits or association with Quebec, financial independence, net worth and professional experience as a self-employed person. 
  • Obtain a legal right to practise if it is a regulated profession. 
  • Have demonstrable knowledge of the French language. 

Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 and numbers allotted to the Self-Employed Persons program 

The latest Immigration Levels Plan 2023-2025 set a target of 3,500 under the Federal Business category, to be shared between the Self-employed and Start-up Visa program. 

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou

Janggoulal Sitlhou is a content writer with SettleCanada. He is a Political Sciences graduate and a keen follower of international affairs and contemporary history. He has a background in publishing and regularly dabbles in writing and game development projects. Janggoulal currently writes on issues related to Canadian Immigration.