Federal Self Employed Program for people active in cultural or athletic or farm management activities

Federal Self Employed Program for people active in cultural or athletic or farm management activities

Why Federal Self-Employed (FSE) Program?

The Federal Self Employment (FSE) program is one of the best options for people who have relevant experience in cultural or athletic activities. Many are the typical requirements for other immigration programs are eased here or could be substituted with relevant experience. Since it is a federal program, hence immigrants under this program can live and work in any province (except Quebec province which has its own business stream programs)


Please note: As of March 10th, 2018, no further self-employment applications are accepted under farm management stream.


Eligibility and Admissibility

Like any other (permanent or temporary) residence application, two steps must be passed, eligibility and admissibility.

Eligibility means that the applicant is eligible under a certain program, or in other words, matches the program requirements. Usually, eligibility checking is done in the first part.

Admissibility means that applicant is admissible to Canada, or in other words, can legally enter Canada. Admissibility is a very comprehensive topic which we will deal with it later, but in a nutshell, the medical test, and background checks would be done for the applicant, and most of the time the financials would also be reviewed to make sure applicant:

  • Has a clean background history
  • Would not endanger the health of Canadian society or impose extreme medical requirements
  • Is financially able to settle and carry on for a short period till can start to work.

The eligibility requirements for a self-employed applicant is:

  • have relevant experience
  • intend and be able to be self-employed in Canada
  • meet the selection criteria for self-employed people and

Relevant experience

Your experience is relevant if you have:

  • taken part in cultural activities or athletics at a world-class level or
  • been self-employed in cultural activities or athletics

Relevant experience for a self-employed person means at least two years of experience.

It must be during the period starting five years before the application date The experience must be:


  • two one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or
  • two one-year periods participating at a world-class level in cultural activities, or
  • a combination of a one-year period described in A above, and a one-year period described in B above.


  • two one-year periods being self-employed in athletics, or
  • two one-year periods participating at a world-class level in athletics, or
  • a combination of a one-year period described in an above, and a one-year period described in b above

Some common mistakes

There are references in the IRCC website that mentions some NOC codes for self-employed applicants. Please note that IRCC refers to these NOC codes as some examples. There are situations where people under these NOC codes are not eligible while applicants under other NOC codes are eligible.

For example, in based on my experience, a world known chef falls certainly into self-employed artists (because of his/her art into making artisan dishes) while a zoo interpreter (which falls into NOC 5212) is in this list, but does not have merit to applying under this stream.

The other mistake is the definition of a self-employed person. In a nutshell, a self-employed person means that the applicant is his/her own employers as well. In this case, for relevant experience, (if an applicant is not active in a world-class activity), must not be an employee of any company and/or organization. Obviously, the self-employed applicant may provide his/her artistic, cultural or athletics services to a wide range of customers. Many of these customers might be organizations or companies. In that case, the formed relationship between the applicant and the company would be the self-employed – client relationship and not the employer-employee.

Obviously, review and endorsing the relevant experience has many other details which are outside of the scope of this article. If you are interested to have your eligibility checked under Federal Self Employed program and other programs, please fill out the free assessment form

Selection criteria

Applicants must get 35 points under the following selection criteria:

  • ٍٍExperience
  • Education
  • Age
  • Language abilities
  • Adaptability

Federal Self-Employed (FSE) Selection Criteria


Experience counts for a maximum of 35 points, so IF an applicant can show enough experience, then the passing mark is received.

Federal Self-Employed (FSE) Experience Criteria


Federal Self-Employed (FSE) Education Criteria


Federal Self-Employed (FSE) Age Criteria


The language abilities are not reported in the IRCC website by IELTS or CLB points, but rather a more requirement based. Here is the link to the full language requirements. Based on my experience, any IELTS score below 4 is not worth reporting. I personally will put 4-5 as BASIC / 6-7 as MODERATE and 8-9 as ADVANCED.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to top