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Who Can Apply under the Canadian Business Class

Who Can Apply under the Canadian Business Class

Business Class – Self-Employed

It is possible to apply under the Business Class category for Permanent Resident status in Canada in the following streams: Start-Up Visa (Entrepreneur), Immigrant Investor, and Self-Employed. This article will focus on the latter. Read on to find information on eligibility requirements, selection criteria, and financial qualifications for the Self-Employed stream.

Canada Business Class Eligibility Requirements


First and perhaps most important, there is a list of eligible occupations for the Business Class Self-Employed stream taken from the National Occupational Classification (NOC). If you are planning to apply under this stream, you will have to have experience in one of the following occupations. Each occupation listed in the chart also states the NOC number:

5111 Librarians

5135 Actors and Comedians

5231 Announcers and Broadcasters

5112 Conservators and Curators

5136 Painters, Sculptors and other Visual Artists

5232 Other Performers, n.e.c.

5113 Archivists

5211 Library and Public Archive Technicians

5241 Graphic Designers and Illustrators

5121 Authors and Writers

5212 Technical Occupations in Museums and Art Galleries

5242 Interior Designers / Decorators

5122 Editors

5221 Photographers

5243 Theatre, Fashion, Exhibit, and Other Creative Designers

5123 Journalists

5222 Films and Video Camera Operators

5244 Artisans and Crafts Persons

5125 Translators, Terminologists and Interpreters

5223 Graphic Arts Technicians

5245 Patternmakers – Textile, Leather and Fur Products

5131 Producers, Directors, Choreographers and Similar

5224 Broadcast Technicians

5251 Athletes

5132 Conductors, Composers and Arrangers

5225 Audio and Video Recording Technicians

5252 Coaches

5133 Musicians and Singers

5226 Technical and Coordinating Occupations in Films, Broadcasting and Performing Art

5253 Sports Officials and Referees

5134 Dancers

5227 Support Occupations in Films, Broadcasting, Photography and Performing Art

5254 Program Leaders and Instructors in Recreation, Sport and Fitness

Canada Business Class Experience Requirement

For the above professions, an applicant under the Business Class Self-Employed stream must have two 1 year periods of full-time work experience. This experience must have been gained in the 5 year period before you submitted your Self-Employed Permanent Residence application and ending on the day a decision is made on your application.

For the cultural professions listed above, your 2 year periods of full-time experience must be from either: experience in self- employment in cultural activities or experience participating in cultural activities at a world class level.

For the athletic professions listed above, your 2 year periods of full-time experience must be from either: experience in self-employment in athletics or experience participating in athletics at a world class level.

The other option available for Business Class Self-Employed applicants is to buy and manage a farm in Canada. For the farm option, you must have two 1 year periods of experience managing a farm.

Canada Business Selection Criteria

The Business Class Self-Employed stream for Permanent Residence requires that an applicant score at least 35 points out of 100 on the selection criteria for this class. There are 5 categories that you can score points in if you meet the conditions. The 5 categories are: Experience, Age, Education, Proficiency in English / French, and Adaptability.


As previously mentioned, any applicant under the Business Class Self-Employed stream needs to have two 1 year periods of full-time experience for a valid profession in a 5 year period before applying. The minimum amount of points you could receive is for the minimum of 2 years’ experience (20 points). The maximum amount of points you could receive is for a full 5 years’ experience (35 points).


An applicant’s age is also a factor in determining points in the Self-Employed selection criteria. If you are age 16 or under you do not receive any points. The same applies for anyone age 54 or over. The ideal age for achieving maximum points in this category is between 21 to 49 years old (10 points).


The education category is a bit more complex, rewarding points for a combination of level of education achieved as well as number of years of full-time study. In general, more is better for this selection criteria. For example, if you have successfully completed a Master’s or PhD and studied full-time for a period of 17 years, then you will receive the maximum points for this category (25 points). At the other end of the spectrum, if you have completed high school (secondary school), you will receive the minimum (5 points). For a typical university degree of 3 years, you will receive 22 points.

It’s important to note that when it comes time to submit documentation, any educational achievements from outside Canada will need to be accompanied with an Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) from a government approved agency. That way the immigration officer evaluating your Business Class Self-Employed application will be able to assess your educational history by its equivalency under the Canadian system.

Proficiency in English / French

For those wishing to live and work in Canada in the Self-Employed stream, having the ability to communicate well in one or both of Canada’s official languages is an asset. For this category, an applicant’s language ability is broken up into 4 possible levels: High, Moderate, Basic, or None. Naturally, the most points can be scored for having a High level in each of the four language skills: speaking, listening, reading, and writing. For each of these language skills that is graded at the High level (Canadian Language Benchmark 8 or more), you will receive 4 points. That means that if all 4 language skills score High you will receive 16 points. Hypothetically, if you could score High in each language skill in another official language of Canada as well, then you could receive an additional 8 points, bringing your total Proficiency score to a maximum of 24 points.

Any language score must be proven by taking an official test approved by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Currently, the testing agencies approved are: International English Language Testing System (IELTS), Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program (CELPIP), and Test d’evaluation de Francais (TEF).

To give you a quick idea of how a Proficiency in English score would be determined, let’s look at the IELTS test. When you receive IELTS test results, you receive a number score out of 9 for each of the four language skills. To be rated as High language level in the Business Class Self-Employed selection criteria, you would need to receive IELTS test scores with a minimum of: 6.5 in speaking, 7.5 in listening, 6.5 in reading, and 6.5 in writing. Those IELTS test scores would give you the maximum of 16 points in English for your Self-Employed score.


The adaptability selection criteria for the Business Class Self-Employed stream awards a maximum of 6 additional points based on the following factors:

  • Spouse or common-law partner’s education level: You could add your spouse or partner to your application in order to receive up to 5 additional points. Naturally, the higher his or her education level, the more points awarded.

  • Previous work in Canada: If either you or your spouse / partner have completed a minimum of 1 year full-time work in Canada, this could award you with an additional 5 points. Remember, if the work wasn’t done on a valid work permit, it does not qualify.

  • Previous study in Canada: You could receive an additional 5 points if you or your spouse / partner studied full-time at a Canadian post-secondary institution for a minimum of 2 years.

  • Relatives in Canada: If you or your spouse / partner have a relative who is a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, an additional 5 points is awarded. However, if the relative is not currently residing in Canada, then you cannot qualify for this category.

The selection criteria are flexible to qualify for the Business Class Self-Employed stream for Permanent Residence. Currently the pass mark is 35 out of 100, but this could always go up or down in the future. If you are unable to score at least 35 points in the selection criteria, then you do not meet the definition of a Self-Employed person established by Citizenship and Immigration Canada and should try to apply under a different stream.

Canada Business Class Financial Qualifications

Business immigrants to Canada need to be able to prove that they have the funds and assets available to support themselves and their dependents upon arrival in Canada. There is not fixed minimum of what entails adequate financial qualification. The cost of living varies by province and by city. The general requirement is that you would be able to show enough financial resources to support yourself and your dependents for at least one year.

Contact Akrami and Associates

Putting together a professional Business Class Self-Employed application requires a lot of documentation and preparation. When you finally send out your application in the mail to Citizenship and Immigration Canada, everything should be up to date, organized, and contain sufficient information so that the immigration officer can make an objective decision about your case. If you are interested in applying under the Self-Employed stream for Permanent Residence under the Business Class, contact our team today! Our Canadian immigration lawyers and registered consultants can help you put together the best possible application.

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