What Is The Owner/Operator LMIA Program?

LMIA which stands for Labour Market Impact Assessment is an authorization document from Employment and Social Development Canada. Canadian employers take advantage of LMIA to prove that there exists a shortage in labour and skills which can be justified by hiring a foreign worker. Owner Operator LMIA is different from typical LMIA as it focuses more on your business proposal opposed to assessing a single candidate. Under Owner Operator LMIA, the candidate could enjoy benefits such as a chance to operate his own business, the freedom to launch his business in any Canadian province, and no mandatory advertising process required.

Advantages of Owner/Operator LMIA

  • Not job advertising required
  • Not required to conduct recruitment
  • Give the business owner 200 Express Entry points
  • 6 – 8 months processing time

Who Can Apply An Owner/Operator LMIA

Owners are the primary shareholders of business and demonstrate their business will create jobs for Canadian citizens

  • Foreign applicants must own more than 51% of the shares of the company in Canada;
  • The company in Canada must be operational;
  • The company must have sufficient funds to pay the owner’s wages and operate business in Canada (recommended number – minimum $200,000).
  • Comply with all requirements in “Step 2: Apply To Get An LMIA”

How Can You Apply An Owner/Operator LMIA

Once you decide that Canada is the place for you, you can choose one of the immigration pathways available to you to become a Canadian citizen. One of the strategies could be citizenship through ownership of a business in Canada.






Step 1: Own A Business In Canada

The first step in this pathway is to own a business in Canada. When it comes to owning a business, you have 3 options:

  • Buying an existing business in Canada from $150,000 CAD
  • Buying a franchising from $ 250,000 CAD
  • Establishing your own business with an initial investment of $ 100,000 CAD or above

Step 2: Apply To Get An LMIA

Once you have established a business in Canada, the next step is to apply for the Labour Market Impact Assessment as an owner-operator of the business in Canada. This step is essential, as you can only be issued a work permit to operate your business in Canada once you receive a positive decision from Service Canada for your LMIA application.

As a business owner of a company in Canada, you must be ready to commit to the following conditions:

  • You must pay yourself a salary in Canada that meets the median wage standards for your proposed position (on average, around $50-$60 per hour); As a manager of your business in Canada, you must pay yourself a salary that meets the Canadian median wage standards (around $58/per hour for senior executive roles). What this means is that you will be responsible for paying all payroll deductions to the Canadian tax authorities of approximately $3,000 – $4,000 (per month).
  • Hire at least 1 Canadian or retain the existing staff;
  • Participate in the active management of the company and perform the duties of your position.
  • Work only for your own company.

Step 3: Get A Work Permit

Once you receive a positive decision on your LMIA application, you can apply and receive a work permit to work in Canada as a business owner. Initial work permits for new companies are usually issued for 1 year, extendable up to 5-7 years (depending on the position). At the end of your first work permit, your office must have at least 1 Canadian employee.

Your family members can also accompany you to Canada as well. Your spouse will have an opportunity to work in Canada and your children can attend public schools for free. As a an owner-operator of a business in Canada, you can get access to the following benefits:

  • Free access to premium health care which is available to all Canadians;
  • Free schooling for children (except post-secondary education);
  • Open work permit for a spouse;
  • Ability to apply for permanent residence as soon as the company is established & operational and once a positive LMIA is issued.

Step 4: Apply For Permanent Residence

There are a number of options and pathways to transition from work permit to permanent residency in Canada. However, the most popular one is the “Express Entry” program (EE), which allows owners, executives and professionals, who hold senior managerial positions, to apply for permanent residency through a job offer from their very own company in Canada.

There are a number of requirements that must be met to become eligible for the Express Entry pathway to permanent residency.

Applicants must meet the following requirements to apply for permanent residency:

  • Have at least 1 year (preferably 2-3 years) of work experience in a senior managerial or executive capacity;
  • Own or control a company in Canada that is actively engaged in business and is financially capable of paying the applicant’s reasonable Canadian wages;
  • The applicant must hold senior executive or managerial position at the Canadian company (employer);
  • The Canadian company must have a physical location (commercial office) and employ at least 1 Canadian citizen or permanent resident;
  • The applicant must score at least 6 for each band of the IELTS language test, or 7 for each band of the CELPIP test.
  • Meet other requirements of the Express Entry Program, such as education and etc.

Step 5: Apply For Canadian Citizenship

Once you become a permanent resident of Canada, and after having lived in Canada for 1095 days, you can apply for Canadian citizenship. In order to become a Canadian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a permanent resident of Canada
  • Have physically spent 1095 days in the last 5 years in Canada
  • Have filed your annual income tax returns for the past 3 years
  • Pass a basic test on your rights, responsibilities and knowledge of Canada
  • Prove your basic language skills

Get Experienced Advice Before You Apply For Owner/Operator LMIA

Second Passport Incubator team can assist you to invest your money, time, and energy into a worthwhile business. You can focus on your business and we focus on your permanent residence in Canada. Email us or book a consultation to work with an immigration lawyer today!

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