Can I Get Canadian Work Experience Points in Express Entry If I am Self-Employed in Canada?

Let's say you have studied at a college or university in Canada and then received your post-graduation work permit. With this work permit, you can start your own business or work for different employers as a self-employed person.


The question is:


When you apply for permanent residence (PR), does your work experience as a self-employed person earn you Canadian work experience points in Express Entry?


Before answering this question, let's take a look at the program through which a person who has eligible Canadian work experience may apply for permanent residence.


As you might know, in the Express Entry system, there are three 'skilled labour' programs.


One of them, Canadian Experience Class (CEC), requires at least 1 year of Canadian work experience in the last 3 years prior to the date of application.


The definition of this 1 year work experience is as follows:


1-year full-time work: minimum 30 hours per week, i.e. 1,560 hours per year


Or an equal amount in part-time hours. For example, working for 15 hours a week for 2 years corresponds to 1 year of full-time work experience.


A total of 30 hours a week for 1 year in two different jobs is also considered eligible in this category.


An important detail: Even if the person works over 30 hours a week and completes 1,560 hours in less than a year, they do not meet the eligibility criteria of this category until after the completion of one year.


It is okay to have work experience with different NOC codes or with different employers. However, no work experience (on-campus, 20 hours off-campus or co-op) that you have gained while in student status is considered Canadian work experience.


In addition, the person must have legal status in Canada and the work must be 'skilled work', i.e. NOC 0, A or B. We can generally define these jobs as those requiring a diploma.


It is also very important that the work experience is accurately documented according to the requirements of the program.


Now, the answer to our question: Having your own business in Canada, in other words being self-employed is not considered eligible Canadian work experience in this category and does not bring you additional points in Express Entry.

You can fill out our Pre-Assessment Form to see if you may be eligible for one of the programs under Express Entry.

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