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Did you know? Last year, Forbes did a piece on Canadian entrepreneurs and their significance for the country’s economy.  The article delved deep into the many benefits of investing in startups and innovative business plans. They also discussed the benefit of ‘creating a level playing field for entrepreneurs.’

How does this impact you? If you’re a business owner in your own country, then this article is the green signal for you to change gears and head to Canada. It’s one of the few countries in the world that looks favourably upon immigrants who wish to open up shop in the country.

Owner-Operator LMIA is amongst the few pathways that can make this happen. It’s basically a work permit that allows you to work in Canada by establishing your own firm.

Here’s everything you need to know about it:

The Basics of Owner-Operator LMIA

For starters, you need to know what LMIA is to understand how your request to get a work permit via owner-operator LMIA works.

So what’s LMIA?LMIA stands for Labor Market Impact Assessment. Itpermits Canadian companiesto hire foreign employees after they’ve passed the standard recruitment procedure. It is conducted by two government organizations: the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) and Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship in Canada (IRCC).

The assessment proves that Canadian applicants lack the skills or expertise to meet the company’s requirements. It also looks at the benefits and profit a foreign employee will bring to the country’s economy.
They have to do this by advertising their job openings on various recruitment platforms and also going through a proper hiring process to find the right candidate. Once their attempts to hire someone from Canada fail, then the government accepts the Canadian company’s plea. After this, they’re allowed to recruit employees from other countries.

The main idea is to make sure that the immigrant workers aren’t filling in positions that could easily be taken by Canadian residents.

So what’s owner-operator LMIA?

Owner-operator LMIA is an exception to this process. Instead of analyzing the significance of a single candidate they look into your business proposal. If the government feels that your business is valuable enough for their economy, then they’ll allow you to set up shop here.

Some of the advantages of this work permit include:

  • Getting a chance to operate your business in Canada.
  • Getting the freedom to launch your company at your chosen city in Canada.
  • No mandatory advertising/recruitment process required within the country before registering for the LMIA.

Bonus: LMIA also allow business owners to purchase a Canadian company that is undergoing administration change. Your request is usually accepted if you’re deemed capable to manage the firm and have the funds to operate.

How to Get Started?

Owner Operator LMIAThe terms and conditions for applying to Canada through this pathway are quite simple. The owner in question should display leadership skills, interests and the business acumen to work in the relevant industry. Plus, your average salary at your old job must be higher or equal to the managerial post you’ll have in Canada.

Apart from that, they must prove that their arrival in Canada will benefit the economy. This can be done by opening up new job opportunities for the residents of Canada or retaining them. In addition to that, their business is supposed to be innovative or at least have the ability to teach new skills to the Canadian employees.

Lastly, the applicant should be the owner of the company in question. It means that they aren’t a ‘puppet’ in the hands of other shareholders. As that would mean that they’re operating on someone else’s instructions. It would also mean that they could get fired from their position anytime. Both things instantly nullify their authority in the company they created in Canada.

The last rule prevents individuals from securing a positive LMIA under false pretenses.

The other requirements for this are as follows:

  • You must own at least 51% share of the Canadian business.
  • You must submit a proper business plan that discusses their management program, profitability and a basic idea of their budget. Things like hiring process, employee management and financing is included in this plan.
  • You must employ one or more Canadian employees (this includes permanent residents) in your company within the first year.

What’s More?

Let’s look at some frequently asked questions about owner-operator LMIA:

  1. Is there a minimum investment required for this?

At present, there is no fixed answer for this question. This is not an investor program wherein the government suggests the minimum threshold investment to apply under this program. The government only checks if you have a solid business plan to operate a profitable venture which not only contributes to the Canadian economy but also generates employment. The applicant should have sufficient funds to start up the operations and sustain the business.

  1. How long does it take IRCC to process your application?

The typical processing is time is around 2-3 months. It may take longer if there are any problems in your paperwork. However, you’re usually notified about the delay.

  1. How long can you stay in Canada on this work permit?

You’ve got 2-3 years max depending on the conditions of your work permit. However, securing a positive LMIA makes it easier for you to get permanent residency in Canada.

Thus, it is suggested that you start applying for it as soon as you can. The best option for you is to hire an immigration agency to get you through this.

Why? It’s a speciaiized category and hiring a licensed immigration consultant can ensure that your application process starts off without a hitch.

Pro tip: You should get in touch with an immigration consultant before you apply for LMIA. It’s an effective way to counter any setbacks during your verification process. Moreover, they can also recommend alternate channels to live in Canada if you fail to get accepted for this pathway.

Let’s Sum It Up…

In a nutshell, owner-operator LMIA is a great way to enter Canada. The work permit allows you to experience Canada on your own terms as it’s less restrictive as getting a regular job. You also get to be an integral part of the Canadian economy by contributing to it financially and through human capital.

More importantly, it brings you a step further to achieve permanent residency in Canada.

It can’t get any better than that!

How Can We Help?

Elaar Immigration Consulting Inc is proud to be a licensed immigration consultancy that helps Canadian immigration around the world. We can help you throughout the process which includes helping shortlist the right business for you, the entire LMIA process followed by a work permit and permanent residency of Canada.



  • JATIN SHAH says:

    I am interested in getting PR through owner-operator LMIA. How can we go ahead?

  • Smriti says:

    Hi I am looking for applying can you suggest me the minimum investment required to start a business there???

  • Duraisamy marimuthu says:

    i am intrested to owner operator LMIA.

  • Rooma Shah says:

    I am currently owning and operating an export import company in India & currently looking forward to invest and start a business in Canada

    I would be very interested to know more and get some help with Owner Operator LMIA Based Work Permit

  • Khaled tamim says:

    I am interested in getting PR through owner operator path.

  • Arshad says:

    I am interested in getting PR through owner-operator LMIA. How can we go ahead?

  • Aamer Pervaiz says:

    I am a 48 years educated (BA) guy from Pakistan and working on a managerial position in the retail industry.
    Am interested in the Owner / Operator LMIA program.

    My wife is 45 years of age holding an MA in Economics degree and working as a Senior Cambridge teacher in one of the schools in Sharjah, UAE.

    My only child, 17 years old, is doing his A Levels from Sharjah and wishes to pursue his further education in Canada.

    I shall much appreciate if one of our consultants can contact me to discuss further.

  • Ali Akber says:


    Thanks for your useful guidance on Owner-operator LMIA program. We are considering to explore it as path to Canadian residency. Can we talk to one of your consultant please?


    Ali & Amna


    Hi I am interested in getting PR through Owners Operator program. Pls guide complete process

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