Mon | Jan 24, 2022

Immigration Corner | Photographer wants to emigrate to Canada

Published:Tuesday | January 11, 2022 | 12:06 AM

Dear Miss Powell,

I am a professional photographer and my wife is a teacher. I have been self-employed all my life and own a small studio. Can I emigrate to Canada as a self-employed photographer? What are the requirements.

– NB

Dear NB,

Canada has several programmes available to individuals who can demonstrate that they meet the requirements for each programme. Based on the brief information you provided, you may be able to qualify under the self-employed programme or under the Express Entry System.

The self-employed option requires that you clearly demonstrated that you intend to be self-employed in Canada, and that you have the skills, training, and work experience to make a significant contribution to the Canadian economy and excel in your area of expertise.

The two main categories are sports and arts. To qualify under the category of arts or cultural activities, an individual needs to demonstrate that he has a minimum of two years’ work experience.


Individuals with experience in occupations that span the arts, such as photographers, graphic designers, sculptors, creative designers, painters, craftsperson, musicians, creative and preforming arts, authors, writers, fashion, exhibits and other creative designers may qualify.

You will be assessed and selected based on the number of points you can accumulate. Self-employed persons must get a minimum of 35 out of 100 points, based on the selection grid. You and your spouse will be assessed based on your age, education, work experience, adaptability, language skills and other factors.

Individuals will be required to demonstrate competence in either English and/or French. You and your wife must sit the International English Language Testing System, General Training examination, or the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General English examination. Your level of education is a critical part of the application process, as points are awarded according to the level of education. A master’s degree is 25 points and a bachelor’s degree is 22 points. If you have a one-year diploma, trade certificate or apprenticeship with at least the equivalent of 12 years of full-time study, you would be awarded 12 points. If you only completed the equivalent of a Canadian high school, you will only be awarded five points. You will need to have your international education assessed by an approved organisation to give you an educational credential assessment report.

Your experience will be critical to this application. You must be able to show that the experience being relied on is within the last five years before your application is submitted. You must provide evidence that you have a minimum of two one-year periods being self-employed in cultural activities, or one-year periods participating at a world-class level in such activities, or a combination of both. Individuals with three to five years’ experience will get the most points.


The Express Entry System manages the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, the Federal Skilled Trade Programme, Canadian Experience Class and some Provincial Nominee programmes. You will need the same documents to apply under the Express Entry System. You must also be able to clearly demonstrate to a visa officer that you have enough money to settle in Canada with your family.

Since your wife is a teacher, you may qualify under either the self-employed programme or the Federal Skilled Worker Programme, depending on your age and other factors.

To find out which programme is best for you and your family, I strongly recommend that you contact an immigration lawyer to get a personal assessment of your background and assist you with choosing the best programme for you and your family.

Deidre S. Powell is a Canadian immigration lawyer and notary public with office located in Ottawa, Ontario. Submit your questions and comments via Tel: 613-695-8777 or 876-922-4092 Find her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.