Are you looking for ways to immigrate to Canada and you want to increase your chances? Do you need an alternative plan of a quick move? Learn about the opportunities offered by the Owner Operator Pathway.

From this article you will learn how the Owner Operator Pathway can help you immigrate to Canada even if you don’t have enough points to complete the immigration programs.

If you are an investor and you have the capital to open business in Canada, there are several different opportunities for your immigration to Canada.

According to our observations, the Owner/Operator Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is one of the most promising paths for potential investors. To tell a long story short the entrepreneurs who follow it hire themselves. This direction is a lifesaver for many businessmen. What are the pros? Firstly, it is obtaining permanent residence in Canada, secondly, directly establishing a business, and thirdly, what is important, investors reserve the right to manage their own company.

This option is suitable for those who:

  • for some reason, have not yet reached the required number of points when passing in the category “a self-employed specialist”
  • do not have the support of authorized organizations such as for example business incubators and who cannot apply for immigration through the Startup Visa program for startup entrepreneurs.

What is LMIA?

In the labor market, a situation often arises when an employer takes an applicant for a job under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP — program for temporary foreign workers). And before hiring such a person to work, he must first obtain an LMIA.

LMIA is Labor Market Impact Assessment. This is a document that an employer who is an owner of a business in Canada may need when hiring a foreign employee. It is issued by ESDC, an organization that oversees employment and social development of Canada (Employment and Social Development Canada, also called Service Canada). Obtaining an LMIA is a rather expensive and slow process.

A positive LMIA decision gives the employer the right to hire a foreigner. To do this, the employer must prove that he could not find an employee in Canada who would meet the requirements. His invitation to work from abroad should not violate the established status quo in the Canadian labor market.

Owner Operator LMIA

Is there a type of application that assesses the impact of the entire business, and not an individual foreign employee? Yes, the Owner/Operator LMIA.

Owner/Operator LMIA is a special type of order under the TFWP program. According to them, a self-employed person can move to Canada in case of starting or acquiring a business and receives a work permit (work visa). There is no annual quota for such applications.

A foreigner receives the status of Owner / Operator (Owner / Operator) if one can prove that one:

  • has a controlling vote in the company
  • cannot be fired or relieved of duties

3 ways to secure controlling voting rights:

  • purchase of a ready-made company; you must daily actively participate in its operational processes (as an individual entrepreneur)
  • becoming a majority shareholder (owning at least 50.1% of shares)
  • providing an official document certifying that you own a controlling stake (even if you do not own 50.1% of the total number of shares). There is no set minimum percentage of shares that must be owned by a foreign national to be considered an Owner / Operator.


Which business co-owner applies for an LMIA with Service Canada for other co-owners as “workers”?

This is done by the shareholder who owns the majority of the shares.


Who does not fall under the meaning of the term “Owner / Operator”?

These are individuals who received their shares as part of a compensation package. In this case, the received amount of shares must be less than necessary to establish a controlling block of shares.


Are there any restrictions on filing documents proving that you have a controlling stake?

As a foreigner, you are required to prove that you had a controlling stake even before applying for immigration to Canada.


Restrictions for Owners / Operators when hiring foreign employees

A Canadian employer of a foreigner must obtain an opinion on the following criteria:

  • Foreign Temporary Worker Program (who passed through other Immigration Programs (TFWP)) requires administration. And, accordingly, the employer must be declared in his status as a foreigner employer, and the type of his relationship with the employee must be clearly documented. Is a job offer required? No, it’s not required. Instead, you need to provide a controlling stake, a business plan or a contract for the purchase of shares of an enterprise
  • the issuance of a work permit does not need to conflict with the terms of any federal provincial agreement
  • language restrictions. The Canadian government believes that if the employer does not require the employee to communicate in English or French, this may negatively affect the labor market in the country. An exception is made when the Owner / Operator can prove that it is not essential to know a language for the conscientious performance of duties. Usually, the employer only needs to provide valid results of the IELTS language tests from CLB level 5.0 for each of the 4 test components (CLB is a Canadian Language Benchmarks; this is a system for assessing the knowledge of a person’s language based on the language tests they have passed). In general, each procedure is considered separately, and in practice, the level of language proficiency is assessed based on real work needs
  • Labor market factors. The most important thing is not to take away jobs from Canadian citizens. It’s great if you create a new workplace. You must pass on your experience to people who have canadian citizenship and to permanent residents. Your business should not negatively impact the country’s labor market.
  • It is better if the business assumes the availability of innovations, and belongs to the priority sector of the economy. You can prove that opening it will help Canadian employees acquire new skills
  • The Owner / Operator must demonstrate the quality of a capable manager who takes full responsibility for his business



In Canada, as in other countries, there are requirements for the average wage. In accordance with these requirements, the salary level of the foreign employee is calculated, which must be fair. At the same time, the assigned salary cannot be higher or equal to what you will have after moving in Canada.

Moving to Canada for Owner/Operator in 4 steps

  1. First you need to decide what kind of business you are purchasing. It is better to stop the choice on a business that is at the intersection of what you know as a manager and what is most in demand in Canada
  2. Applying for the LMIA. Submitting a business plan if required
  3. Applying for a work visa. The visa is issued for a period of 2 years
  4. Applying for immigration for the whole family. You can take any path that provincial and Canada-wide federal immigration programs open up


Which applications are approved

Your business should:

  • be profit-oriented
  • must bring social, cultural and economic benefits to the country
  • improve the situation on the labor market


Business plan requirements

  • it should describe the basic concept, positioning, marketing plan, potential distribution channels, partners, hiring process, management system, profitability, etc.
  • financing, potential investors, payment of salaries to employees. As for the salary, it must be equal in size to the average salary in the country or higher
  • during the first year, you must employ at least one, and preferably several, Canadian employees
  • you must actively manage the business using your experience, qualifications and education


Arguments for choosing the Owner / Operator path

  • you can start a business in any city you want. A prerequisite is that you must really intend to live in the declared city
  • the amount of funds required is not limited. There should be enough money for real business needs
  • there’s no need to advertise the vacancy (according to demand of Canadian law)
  • you run your own business


What are your chances?

Here we can please you. Only about 1% of all LMIA applications per year were rejected / withdrawn, and only 16% of applications received a negative response due to the fact that the applicant did not collect a sufficient set of arguments for obtaining a visa. Our experts are guaranteed to help you to represent the fact that you are the one who will benefit Canada and deserves to come here. Business immigration with us is easy.

Application processing time is short and it depends on the circumstances.


On the way to a permanent residence in Canada

You are guaranteed to receive a work permit in Canada after an LMIA decision is made in your favor. You will almost certainly also be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada through a provincial program, through the Federal Skilled Express Entry system, or as a spouse.

3 ways to obtain permanent residency in Canada:

  • Express Entry: if you, as the Owner / Operator, receive an LMIA in a senior management position, you will receive an additional 200 points in your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) account at Express Entry. This increase in points will almost certainly allow you to receive an invitation to apply (ITA, “Invitation to Apply ”). Moreover, you will receive additional points if you have been running a business for more than 1 year. In case your position is not managerial, you get 50 points on the account.
  • PNP, Provincial Nominee Program: After obtaining a work permit, when the owner has lived in Canada for at least a year, he is able to apply for a permanent residence visa through the provincial immigration program.
  • Spouse(s) can apply after 1 year of living in Canada and finding an employer.


When can a work permit holder apply for a permanent residence in Canada?

You will be eligible to apply in your first year of employment in Canada. Permanent residence is provided to you and your immediate family members. Most often, the process does not take more than a year.

Why do you need an immigration expert as a future Owner / Operator

Of course, the application must be filled out as competently and completely as possible, and the data must be completely reliable and proven.

Our experts will develop an individual move strategy for you, providing several alternative options. Each method of moving has its own specific nuances, special obligations are imposed.

If you immediately decide on the right immigration strategy, most likely, this will save you a lot of money in the long run.

Usually, people at risk of submitting a package of documents on their own will only submit those materials that are listed in the official document checklist. However, the decision-making immigration officer may find this package insufficient. You will have to find additional ways to prove that you comply with the visa regulations. We will help you collect as complete package of documents as possible, which will give you a head start and quickly increase your chances of obtaining a visa. We will also recommend which nuances could become a minus and help mitigate the flaws.

Do you have any questions about the possibilities for the Owner / Operator? Get in touch with our experts! The road to permanent residentship in Canada may seem slow. Of course, because the Canadian administration needs to make multiple checks. Each officer who observes your case examines specific details and makes an expert conclusion. We’ll help you to prepare documents in a flawless way to be confident about your chances. We’re a perfect bridge for your permanent residence in Canada.

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