Self-employed Persons Program

The Self-Employed Persons Program (SEPP) is the second federal business immigration program. This immigration program was created for professionals in the fields of sports and culture who have the opportunity to provide themselves with employment in Canada and make a certain contribution to the development of their professional direction in their new homeland. Earlier, Canada also managed a separate stream for self-employed farmers, but unfortunately, the stream was closed due to unsuccessful results.


Who is considered self-employed for the SEPP?


Self-Employed refers to a person who works for himself/herself. This category includes candidates who are professional athletes or coaches, artists or painters, writers or journalists, directors or actors, etc. In this case, a creative activity must be the one that makes a profit and your main source for living. At the same time, the candidate must be actively engaged in his own sport or cultural business.


The occupations eligible for the SEPP include specialists who work as:

  • librarians, archivists, conservators and curators
  • writing, translating and related communications professionals
  • creative and performing artists
  • technical occupations in libraries, public archives, museums and art galleries
  • photographers, graphic arts technicians and technical and co-ordinating 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


In total, there are 29 cultural NOCs and 4 sport NOCs eligible to participate in the program.


What is required to apply for the Self-Employed program?


The key SEPP requirement is to have 2 years of experience out of the last 5 years in sports as athletes, coaches, referees, judges, etc. OR to have 2 years of experience in cultural activities.


Requirements for relevant work experience.


  • Participation in cultural and sports events of a global scale.
  • The candidate must work for himself.


The Canadian government has established some requirements for the length of work experience for a particular field of activity.


  • Culture – 2 years of freelance work, 2 years of participation in world-class cultural events, or a combination of 1 year of freelance + 1 year of participation in world-class events.
  • Sports – 2 years of work in sports activities, 2 years of participation in world-class sports events, or a combination of 1 year in sports activities + 1 year in world-class sports events.


What are the evaluation criteria for the Self-Employed program?

In all Canadian immigration programs, potential candidates are rated on a ranking scale. Self-Employed has a significantly lower passing score than other programs. This gives potential candidates a better chance of immigrating to Canada with minimal skills and basic background. The minimum passing score for Self-Employed Persons is 35. The maximum score is 100.


The points are distributed for five main factors:

  • Language
  • Age
  • Education
  • Work Experience
  • Adaptability



You can score up to 24 points for knowing English or French. The maximum points are given for CLB 8 in the first official language (16 points) and CLB 8 in the second official language (8 points).



A maximum of 10 points for age is allocated to candidates whose age is from 21 to 49 years old.



The maximum points for education are 25 points and it can be achieved with Masters or Ph.D. degrees. Bachelors or those studied three years outside the university can score 22 points.


Work Experience

For 2 years of work experience, you can get 20 points, with 5 more points for every additional year. A maximum of 35 points is given for 5 years of work experience.



You can score 6 more points for a combination of adaptability factors such as your spouse’s level of education, your previous study or work in Canada, or for having relatives living in Canada.


Thus, a candidate of the appropriate age, with a minimum of 2 years of work experience and basic knowledge of a foreign language, already becomes eligible to participate in the Self-Employed immigration program. The selection process is based on the submitted documents, which confirm the information provided in the online application.


For the application for immigration to Canada to be approved, an important point is the health status of the candidate and family members. In this case, the absence of diseases that can pose a threat to the national security of the population of Canada is considered.


To be eligible for this program, a potential applicant should take into account the availability of the financial resources required to pay a living wage for himself and his family for the first 6-12 months.


It can take about 24 months to process an application for immigration to Canada under the Self-Employed Persons Program.


If you need more information, considering the Canadian Self-Employed Person Program, do not hesitate to contact us! Mansouri Canadian Immigration Services will guide you along the complex application process ahead!