Do you have clients who are skilled workers seeking to immigrate to Canada, but score lower than the points they need to be eligible for Canada’s Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) program?
Perhaps you represent people who are ready to be a prospective applicant in Canada’s Express Entry pool, but don’t have enough points.
For those who are unfamiliar, Express Entry is one of the quickest ways to become an immigrant to Canada. Prospective immigrants gain points under Canada’s Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS), and those with the highest CRS scores are invited to apply to permanent residence. Applications can take six months or less to process.
Securing permanent residence under Express Entry can be tricky for newcomers working their way through the system. The good news is that there are many ways for
applicants to score the points they need to receive an invitation to apply.
Points are awarded based on how prospective applicants meet criteria under several different categories, which are themselves based on factors such as your work experience in Canada, your economic viability and the skills you can bring to Canadian society. Meeting selective criteria under provincial programs can also help you gain points.
For example, prospective immigrants can gain points by having a valid job offer. You can also gain additional points if you are self employed or an entrepreneur, working in a Canadian business that you own and operate.
You can potentially gain these points if you first meet the requirements to secure a work permit under Canada’s C11 Significant Benefit category. It’s designed to support newcomers who bring work or business to Canada that will be of significant benefit to Canada and Canadians.
The C11 category is not necessarily a direct stream toward a work permit. But someone who owns and runs their own business can get a work permit to work in the business they have established in Canada and potentially support their permanent residence process down the line.
It can be a valuable tool for prospective immigrants who already have good work or business experience abroad and now seek to bring their talents here. To qualify, you need to show that you have the skills and background to establish a successful business in Canada, and you need to own at least 50 per cent of this Canadian business.
Canada takes a generous view of what kind of business offers significant benefits. Does it create jobs? Are you setting up in a remote region? Expanding Canada’s export markets with your goods or services? Bringing high-tech innovation or new, or different skills that more Canadians can learn?
Under C11 you’re also expected to present a meaningful and viable business plan. And you should show the steps you took to make your plan happen even before you entered Canada — such as securing office space, getting your Canadian business number and documents, presenting any prospective deals or agreements and so on.
Because you’re in effect creating your own job, your employment falls under an exemption from a review called the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Normally, an LMIA takes place to determine whether there is a need for a foreign worker to fill a particular job.
By creating your own job, you can get an employment number online and then apply for a work permit. As a temporary worker in Canada and entrepreneur or self-employed person, the same job offer that helps you obtain your work permit helps you gain more points toward being invited to apply for permanent residence under Express Entry.
You can offer a job to yourself as an entrepreneur if your business can show that it’s bringing such significant benefits, and that can mean more points, and a pathway to applying under Express Entry for permanent residence. Arranging employment through your own Canadian business can play a key role in your immigration journey.
While having arranged employment is not the only path toward acquiring points for Express Entry, it can be a highly effective one for those who are able to hit the ground running, contributing right away to the Canadian economy by creating their own jobs in their own Canadian business. It’s great for newcomers because it means stable work right away, and it’s good for Canada because it brings skill and business energy to the economy.
Canada’s points systems for immigration can be complicated and difficult to navigate; low points can look like an insurmountable barrier at first.
Getting help from a good immigration lawyer is important — a good legal team can make sure you get the points you’re eligible for, to help you secure your permanent residency and be welcomed to Canada.

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