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Processing time for applications to federal Self-Employed Persons Program now down to 22 months

November 1, 2019

Program allows individuals with relevant experience in athletics or arts and culture to apply for Canadian permanent residence

The processing time for applications to Canada’s Federal Self-Employed Persons Program is now down to 22 months — a major improvement from the seven years it was taking just a few years ago.

The Self-Employed Persons Program allows eligible individuals with relevant experience in athletics or arts and culture to apply for Canadian permanent residence.

The program covers a wide range of professions, from practising artists and athletes to behind-the-scenes occupations such as choreographers, set designer, coaches and trainers.

Librarians, archivists, conservators and curators, and freelance journalists are also eligible, among numerous other professions.

Experience is considered relevant if the candidate is a performer who has taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or he/she has been a self-employed person in cultural activities or athletics.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) says candidates are considered “world-class” if they are known internationally or are performing at the highest levels of their discipline.

Candidates must also be capable of making what the Government of Canada considers “a significant contribution to the cultural or athletic life” of the country.

The significance of one’s contribution is determined by the visa officer processing the individual’s file and IRCC says it “becomes relative” when applicants meet the experience requirements and there is a reasonable expectation that they will be self-employed.

“For example, a music teacher destined for a small town can be considered significant at the local level,” IRCC explains. “Likewise, a freelance journalist who contributes to a Canadian publication will meet the test.”

IRCC says the inclusion of this requirement is intended to deter “frivolous applications” and should not bar qualified self-employed persons from applying.

Interested candidates must also meet or exceed a minimum score under the program’s selection criteria in order to be considered for immigration as a self-employed person.