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Self-Employment and Canadian Immigration

Self-Employment and Canadian Immigration

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Canadian Immigration: Even if you work for yourself, you may still be qualified for some ways to move to Canada. Most paths to economic immigration demand proof of work for at least a year.

The National Occupational Classification (NOC) method is used by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to figure out if a candidate’s work experience meets the requirements of the program they are applying for.

If you want to apply to a skilled worker program, you can use the work you did as a self-employed person abroad as one of the things that makes you eligible for the program. 

IRCC will take different kinds of proof that you were self-employed, like articles of incorporation, proof of income from self-employment, and paperwork from third parties that shows the service you provided and how much you were paid.

If you want to move to Canada through a program for people who work for themselves, you also have a lot of choices.

The Federal Program for Self-Employed

Through the Federal Self-Employed Persons Program, foreigners who are self-employed and have experience in arts or sports can become permanent residents in Canada if they meet the requirements. Candidates for the program must have the knowledge, the desire, and the skills to make a “significant contribution” to the arts or sports in Canada.

To be qualified for the program, applicants must have at least two years of work experience, be self-employed, or participate at a world-class level in arts or sports, as defined by the IRCC.

The minimum score you need to be eligible is 35 on a points grid that looks at your language skills, schooling, age, experience, and ability to adapt.

The Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program

The Quebec Self-Employed Worker Program lets suitable people get permanent residence if they can set themselves up as independent tradesperson or professional in the province and do a good job of it.

In addition to meeting the program’s standards, the Quebec government says the self-employed worker must: 

  • Choose how the work will be done; 
  • Organize the work; 
  • Provide the necessary tools and equipment; 
  • Do most of the specialized work; and
  • Collect the profits and cover the chance of loss that comes with the work.

You have to be at least 18 years old to be qualified. Self-employed workers in Montreal must also make a start-up deposit of at least $50,000 at a local bank. Those who live outside of Montreal must make a deposit of at least $25,000.

For the program, all prospects must have a score that is high enough based on the Quebec Economic Class selection grid. Candidates can get up to 99 points (112 points if they come with a spouse or common-law partner) for things like their schooling, work experience, ability to speak English and French, family in Quebec, age, ability to support themselves financially, amount of deposit, and financial resources.

Self-employment for doctors

Recently, IRCC and the Canadian government made it easy for doctors to work in Canada. Some doctors had trouble getting permanent residency through Canada’s Express Entry programs for skilled workers because the “fee for service” model used by health care professionals in Canada was different from the standard model of employer and employee. Because of this, some doctors were seen as self-employed and couldn’t meet the requirements for these immigration routes.

In September 2022, IRCC said that doctors who worked on a fee-for-service basis would no longer have to meet the current standards. This meant that doctors could use Canada’s economic permanent residence programs. This lets more doctors fill important job openings in Canada’s healthcare industry and lets them stay there forever.

Work permit possibilities for self-employed people

Many people who work for themselves will first come to Canada with a temporary work permit. This can be helpful in the long run, since many economic immigration programs require job experience in Canada. Having this experience can help a person later apply for permanent residency in Canada.

Entrepreneurs who own all or most of a Canadian business or who do not have a main residence outside of Canada can get a self-employed work permit. In these situations, the work permit might not have to go through the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), which is a test of the impact on the Canadian labour market. The person applying will have to show that their business will be very good for Canada.

Under the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA), US or Mexican citizens who invest in new or established businesses in Canada may be able to apply for Investor work permits to run their Canadian business. Most of the time, the investor is the sole owner or the person with the most shares in a business in Canada. As part of the application process, the investor must also make a business plan.

Under the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, people from European member states who invest in new or existing businesses in Canada may be able to get Investor work permits, which are similar to CUSMA, so they can run their Canadian businesses.

Lastly, the Intra-Company Transfer work permit is mostly used by companies to move key employees between offices, but it can also work well for entrepreneurs who want to start a new business in Canada. The candidate must show that their business has what it takes to set up in Canada.

Taxes for self-employed

On April 30, Canadians have to pay their income taxes for the year before. But people who work for themselves must file their taxes by June 15th. On the tax return, they must list all the money they made from any business they ran alone or with a partner.

In general, a self-employed person must sign up for GST/HST if their income is more than $30,000 in one calendar quarter or over the last four straight calendar quarters.

A person who works for themselves must fill out form T2125, the Statement of Business or Professional Activities, in addition to filling out form T1 General to report their pay. Self-employed Canadians can also deduct allowable costs from their gross income on the T2125. This lowers their taxable income, which means they pay less in income taxes.

Summary on Canadian Immigration:

  1. Self-Employed Immigration Options.
  2. NOC Method.
  3. Significant skills and experience in arts, sports, or trades.
  4. Work Permit Possibilities.
  5. Tax Obligations.

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