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Cultural Immigration to Canada for Self-Employed Artists and Actors

Blog posted on by Evelyn Ackah in Permanent Residence

Cultural Immigration to Canada for Self-Employed Artists and Actors

In a recent interview about #Megxit and Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Canada immigration lawyer Evelyn Ackah was asked by Global News about their residency options for moving to Canada:

Markle can also apply for the self-employment category, Ackah explained, which is useful for individuals in the arts or sports. “The self-employed work permit and permanent residency, it’s not tied to an employer, which gives them a lot more flexibility,” she said... “It’s basically the same as anybody.”

Canada's Self-employed Persons Program allows people in cultural activities or athletics to immigrate to Canada permanently as a self-employed person. Meghan Markle's previous work life in Canada could provide a way for them to become Canadian residents. As an American, she lived in Toronto to film the American TV drama “Suits.” Canada's cultural visa for actors working on foreign films and television productions could help her obtain legal residency, and she could then sponsor Prince Harry and Archie for residency.

Canada Self Employed Person Visa

Canada has many ways for people to qualify for Self-Employed Permanent Residence, which is based on their work, skills and education.

There are two pathways for Canadian Permanent Residency (PR) for those who are self-employed:

  • Cultural Activities
    This is a very broad and liberal grouping that can include artists, musicians, filmmakers, illustrators, journalists and anyone who is a "behind the scenes" worker in cultural industries Applicants must also meet the criteria of "world-class" workers. Costumers, choreographers and directors all fall under this heading.
  • Athletics
    Coaches, trainers and athletes all fall under this heading.

Applicants must have proven records of earning an income and supporting themselves and their families through their work. As an example, the criteria for the cultural activities workers is that they must be "world class".

    Self-employed Person Permanent Resident Qualifications

    Applicants for self-employed permanent residency must have at least 2 years of relevant experience during the period beginning 5 years before the day they apply to immigrate. At a minimum, to immigrate to Canda and qualify under the self-employed permanent resident qualifications, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) reviews your says your qualifications based on your:

    • experience
    • education
    • age
    • language abilities
    • adaptability

    Work experience qualifications for PR include:

    • for cultural activities:
      1. 2 one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
      2. 2 one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
      3. a combination of a one-year period described in (a), and a one-year period described in (b)
    • for athletics:
      1. 2 one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
      2. 2 one-year periods participating at a world class level in athletics, or
      3. a combination of a one-year period described in (a) above, and a one-year period described in (b) above

    All immigration applicants and their family members must have a medical exam and require police certificates. Applicants must be able to show that they have enough money to support themself and their families once they are in Canada.

    Book A Consultation

    Self-employed immigrants to Canada will benefit greatly from consulting an immigration legal professional to discuss their options and how to make the best application possible.


    Evelyn L. Ackah, BA, LL.B.

    Founder/Managing Lawyer

    Ms. Ackah is passionate about immigration law because it focuses on people and relationships, which are at the core of her personal values. Starting her legal career as a corporate/commercial ...

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