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Owner Operator/LMIA Program

What is Owner Operator – LMIA?

Owner Operator LMIA is an immigration program for business entrepreneurs who want to buy an existing Canadian business or setup up a new business in Canada, then become the operator of the business and apply for the Owner-Operator LMIA. After get a work permit and start working, they can apply through Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Program (selective PNP programs) and become a permanent resident of Canada.

Who should apply The Owner Operated– LMIA Program?

Foreign nationals who are owners and operators of a business with more than 3-year experiences in managing a business within the last 5 years or who have skills and experience to successfully run that specific business in Canada. Foreign nationals also need to prove the sufficient fund to invest in the proposed business.

Immigration pathway to Canadian Permanent Residence

After the ruling of a positive LMIA, a work permit is granted. After operating the business in Canada 1-2 years, the owner would be in a position to apply for a permanent resident visa through the Federal Skilled Express Entry or under selected Provincial Nominee Program.

Owner Operator Program Requirements

To be eligible for an Owner-Operator Work Permit, an entrepreneur must:

  • Be a sole proprietor by purchasing 100% a Canadian business and be involved in its day-to-day operations. The applicant is required to submit a Business plan to show in detail how you will be funding the business and maintaining employment. Moreover, you will need to show how the business will bring significant economic benefits to Canada. For example, meeting the demand for a service or good, creating more jobs for Canadians, which is described in a business plan, constituting an integral part of this type of application.

  • Hold at least 51% of the shares in a Canadian company. Importantly, an applicant must take some steps to put the business in action prior to applying for the Owner Operator LMIA. For example, hiring personnel, renting space, having a website, advertising, negotiating contracts with potential customers, if any, etc.

Advantages of Owner Operator – LMIA

  • No minimum investment requirement.

  • Owner Operator LMIA is exempted from the job advertisement requirement, as compared to a regular LMIA.

  • Family members, such as spouses and dependent children under 22 years of age can immigrate with the principal applicant and could receive free high school education like Canadian children.

  • No minimum investment requirements. The investor only needs to prove that the investment plan has a clear economic contribution and is a serious investment project.

  • No investment deposit requirement from the government. There is a huge advantage compared to some other investment programs such as Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) or Start-up Visa.

  • After 1-2 years of operating a business in Canada, the investor will be able to apply for permanent residency (PR).

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