Canada is a multicultural society. Canadian government encourages the existence of different cultures next to each other. The cultural fabric of Canada is famously known as the cultural mosaic. Major cities of Canada such as Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Winnipeg hosts people from thousands of cultural background. The Canadian immigration system also welcomes different cultures to the country. Subsection 3(b) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act defines one of the objectives of the Act “to enrich and strengthen the social and cultural fabric of Canadian society, while respecting the federal, bilingual and multicultural character of Canada”. Consequently, a group of people who may immigrate to Canada are those who are involved in cultural activities

Define Cultural Activities

It is difficult to define cultural activities, but the following list offers a loose sample of occupations that could fall under the umbrella of cultural activities. The numbers next to the classifications refer to the Canadian National Occupational Classification codes.

This list is neither inclusive nor exclusive. A person may fall under any of the categories mentioned in the list, but not be a person who is involved in cultural activities. Some other activities that do not appear on the list such Architects and Landscape architects might qualify, depending on their area of services.

Who Qualifies

A person qualifies as a self-employed applicant if they meet one of the following criteria in the past five years since their initial application reaches the IRCC office till the time the immigration officer makes a decision on the application (subsection 88(1) of the Canadian Immigration Regulations).

  • (A) two one-year periods of experience in self-employment in cultural activities, or
  • (B) two one-year periods of experience in participation at a world class level in cultural activities, or
  • a combination of a one-year period of experience described in clause (A) and a one-year period of experience described in clause (B).

Self-employed, means the applicant was able to cover their personal expenses (themselves, their spouse, and their children) with their self-employed activities. It also means the person was not an employee of a specific employer. World-class is someone who is active at the highest global level (i.e. not limited to their country or even region).

The applicant needs to show they will contribute to the Canadian economy via their cultural activities when they land in Canada. They must also show they intend to continue their self-employment in Canada.

The Process

The current process consists of two major steps.

  1. Applicant submits an applicationpackage to the Central Intake Office (CIO) in Canada. If CIO accepts the application, they will forward it to an overseas Visa Office.
  2. The overseas Visa Office processes the application. If they approve the application the applicant and their family members (spouse and dependent children) may enter Canada as permanent residents.

The self-employed category is a Federal immigration method. It means the applicant intends to immigrate to anywhere in Canada, but the province of Quebec. The processing time can vary depending on the merits of the application, the IRCC policies, the Visa Office policies, the completeness of the package, the complexities that may come along, etc. I have represented tens of applicants under the this group and the processing time has been anywhere between 9 months to almost five years. Majority of my clients have been processed in less than two years. Do not expect a quick response under this category.

The Complexities of this Method

I have represented hundreds of clients under the self-employed program in the past seven years. In my opinion, this is one of the most challenging methods of immigration if an expert is not on your side. A professional seasoned immigration consultant can assess your case objectively and present your case to the immigration authorities in a professional lawful manner. Don’t take this matter lightly.

Note: The self-employment program is for individuals who can verify they have been self-employed (in one of the fields of arts, sports or farming) and upon entering Canada are willing and able (financially, language proficiency, work experience, etc.) to be involved in self-employment activities and to economically contribute to the fields of arts, sports and farming in Canada. This program is not meant for circumventing the immigration laws and not only do applicants who engage in forgery or do not meet the requirements will be declined, but it is possible for them to become inadmissible to Canada for 5 years. We highly recommend taking these serious issues into consideration while planning for immigration using this program.

If you need more information contact us or book an appointment for official advice. You may also fill out our free assessment form.

Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadia Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting

Free Immigration Assessment Form

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“This article provides information of a general nature only. It may no longer be current. It does not provide legal advice nor should it be relied upon. If you have specific legal questions you should consult a lawyer. If you are looking for official immigration advice contact us.”