What Is An Owner Operator LMIA, And How Can You Move To Canada By Starting Or Investing In A Business?

What is the owner/operator LMIA program?

Before hiring a foreign worker, Canadian employers must obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This document proves that a foreign worker is needed to fill the vacancy in Canada and that no Canadian worker is available to fill the position. You might also know the LMIA as a “confirmation letter.”

The purpose of the LMIA is to prove that the Canadian employer made an effort to hire a Canadian citizen before giving the job to a foreign worker. Seems simple enough, right? But before the Canadian employer can receive the LMIA, they must advertise the position online to provide proof that they attempted to recruit potential applicants from Canada.

There is one way around the advertising requirements: the Owner/Operator LMIA.

The Owner/Operator Labour Market Impact Assessment gives entrepreneurs a chance to operate their business in Canada, obtain a work permit, and work towards citizenship. The Owner/Operator LMIA isn’t just for owners of existing businesses. Foreign investors can create a new business, acquire an existing Canadian business, or invest — substantially — in Canadian business.

The basic idea is that you bring your business to Canada and then hire yourself, therefore gaining a work permit without jumping through the advertising requirements hoops. 

So, who qualifies for an Owner/Operator LMIA? Here are three of the most basic requirements:

  • You must be a sole or majority shareholder.
  • You must provide proof that your business will create Canadian jobs.
  • You must hold the highest position of power in the company and be independent from any senior management.

The Owner/Operator LMIA was designed to attract entrepreneurs to Canada. And there’s no denying its appeal. This specific category makes the immigration process smooth and relatively easy for those who qualify. 

Owner/Operator LMIA and Canadian immigration

Once you receive a positive Owner/Operator LMIA, you can apply for a work permit. This is exactly how it sounds: your newly Canadian business will hire you to work in Canada. These work permits are typically valid for two years. 

After you get the work permit, you and your immediate family will be able to apply for Canadian permanent residence through the Express Entry system or Provincial Nominee Program. In most cases, the process can be completed in less than 12 months.

Conclusion

The Trump administration could reduce legal immigration to the US by up to 50%. In June 2020, Trump issued a presidential proclamation that suspends the entry of foreign nationals on H-1B, L, H-2B and J temporary visas. That means almost no new immigrants are allowed to enter the United States until at least December 31, 2020. The Trump administration has also tried to keep out, and in some cases kick out foreign students whose college or university was planning to only have online classes this fall, and while that rule has been rolled back because of swift action by a number of US universities, it still creates an environment that is as anti-immigrant as it has ever been.

There are many reasons — as you can see — why fewer immigrants are entering the United States, but there are just as many reasons why immigrants are flocking to Canada. Tech companies and workers are happy, Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has seen a proliferation in the number of startups, investors, and global tech companies calling the city their home, and Montreal has become one of the world’s leading hubs for artificial intelligence research.

Right now is the best time to bring your business to Canada, and utilizing an Owner Operator LMIA is a great way to go if you qualify.

Interested in making the move to Canada? At SuperVisas, we’ve combined cutting-edge technology and Canada’s top immigration consultants to help you move to Canada in the fastest, easiest and most cost-effective way. Reach out to us to learn more!

Written by Sean Fu
Co-Founder and CEO