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Owner Operator LMIA Program

One of the most effective pathways for permanent residency in Canada is through working in Canada for at least one year. This allows the foreign national to gain extra points for the Express Entry system, thereby increasing their chance of receiving an invitation to apply for permanent residence by the Canadian government. The problem with this idea is that it can be almost impossible for most foreign nationals to enter Canada on a work permit.

The reason for this is that employers in Canada require a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) for the position. This requires the employer to advertise the position to Canadian workers.

There is hope. The Canadian government has launched a program called the Owner Operator LMIA. Under this program, there is no need to advertise the position to the Canadian labour market.

How does a foreign national qualify for the Owner Operator LMIA program?

To qualify, a foreign national must:

  • Show that they are a sole proprietor or controlling share holder in a Canadian business.
  • Show that they are prepared to employ at least one Canadian or permanent resident.
  • Show that they will be in a senior management position where they are not subject to dismissal (for example, CEO or Director of the business).

What are the key documents needed for this program?

The documents required are many, but the key documentation includes:

  • A comprehensive business plan created in the context of government requirements and including, at a minimum, quantitative factors in support of expected revenues, capacity to employ at least one Canadian or permanent resident, milestones, and time lines.
  • An accounting of the ways and means by which the foreign national will manage the business at the CEO or Director level at a salary comparable to any similar position in the Canadian labour market space.
  • A clear plan for continuance of the business and maintenance of the employment requirements for Canadians or permanent residents.

What are the basic steps in the program?

Like all business immigration programs, Owner Operator LMIA is complex. Your case needs to be built on two fronts – Business and Immigration.

Although the process is complex, here are the basic steps:
The applicant, as an owner operator:

  • undergoes a business and immigration profile evaluation.
  • receives the comprehensive business plan and supporting business intel.
  • receives a positive LMIA
  • uses the positive LMIA to receive a work permit (WP)
  • creates the Express Entry (EE) profile and applies the WP to the profile.
  • receives the invitation to apply for permanent residence (PR).

It is important to note that no RCIC or lawyer can guarantee that you will be successful at any step in this process. Our strength is that we offer you highly experienced immigration and business consulting professionals with a proven track record and the necessary licensing from the regulatory bodies in Canada. Thus, we ensure you have the best possible chance of success.

It is also worth noting that the ultimate goal, permanent residency in Canada for you and your family, is well within reach given the fact that the positive LMIA will add 200 points to your EE profile for your senior management position. For 2020, the minimum points needed to receive the invitation to apply for PR was in the range of 440 to 460. That means your EE points can be as low as 260 and keep you well within range of receiving the invitation to apply.