Self-Employed immigration: Application Specifics

With several programs altering their requirements in light of the most recent immigration reform, the federal immigration program for the self-employed did not undergo any changes whatsoever.

The requirements remain as simple as ever: the applicant has to have a career in creative arts, show sufficient experience in their field of expertise, demonstrate proficiency in arts and culture, and accumulate a rather moderate score in the Canadian immigration point system.

The main factor among the aforementioned requirements is the following (cited from the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act):

self-employed person means a foreign national who has relevant experience and has the intention and ability to be self-employed in Canada and to make a significant contribution to specified economic activities in Canada.

In other words, the applicant will have to provide sufficient proof of their intent and ability to successfully provide for themselves in Canada by means of being self-employed. Applicants will also need to show interest in further progressing within their field of work. As expected, convincing an immigration officer of your bona fides isn’t always easy.

Below are some common reasons for refusal of self-employed applicants (taken from the Global Case Management System):

PA appears to have the intent and the ability to be self-employed. His contracts will likely carry on and his revenue from online sales will likely not change significantly. However he barely has the net worth to support a family of 4 based on the LICO. Although PA has managed to be self-employed, he does not have a significant net worth. PA seems to have not researched enough about the competition and market in Canada, and he has not provided a detailed plan on how he will make a significant contribution to the Canadian culture scene. The self-employed category requires a third element to be considered in compliance with self-employed definition: make a significant contribution to cultural activities in Canada.

We need verification of the activities and that you are officially registered as a self-employed person. There is no open source information on your claimed work experience such as working with qualified professionals in any show business in Russia. You have provided no references or contracts or any other evidence of self-employment. There is also no evidence on file that you have done any research in the Canadian labour market or adopted a business plan that would lead to your being self-employed in Canada and making a SIGNIFICANT contribution to the labour market.

Although the PA appears to have sufficient experience to meet the first part of the definition I am not yet satisfied that he has the ability to establish himself as self-employed in Canada. His settlement plan foresees possible initial periods of unemployment and I am not satisfied that the PA has sufficient financial resources to support himself until such time as he becomes established. LICO for two people is 29,004 cad and the PA shows assets worth only half that.

PA has approx. 11 years as a contemporary artist. He does murals, bas-reliefs and other decorative arts as well as more usual paintings on wood or canvas. Included his portfolio and numerous references and I am satisfied that the PA falls within the "cultural activity" scope of the self-employed definition. I am not satisfied that the PA has the ability or resources to establish himself as a self-employed person in Canada. the PA states having approx. 26K cad available for resettlement; LICO for a family of three is approx. 36K cad and this does not take into account the cost of the PA setting up his own employment. Based on the information available I am not satisfied that the PA meets the regulatory definition.

The PA has been self-employed since 2007 as a graphic designer. Has provided letters of reference and a description of his work. Based on the information available I am not satisfied that the PA meets the regulatory definition of "self-employed" as he is not working in cultural activities, athletics or the owning/ operating of a farm. In addition, I am not satisfied that the PA has the financial resources to establish himself in Canada. He has indicated that he has approximately 25K cad available for resettlement, however, LICO for a family of 4 is approx. 43K cad.

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