Owner Operator LMIA

What is this program?

The owner-operator LMIA is not a formal immigration program in itself; instead, it is a work permit issued under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). There is no fixed annual quota on the number of work-permits that can be issued.The Owner/Operator (LMIA) awards tremendous power to owner operator applicants to set the terms of qualification for their own entry into Canada. 

The program permits the applicant  immigration to any destination in Canada, and allows the candidate the privilege of choosing whether they intend to apply as a permanent resident, temporary work permit holder, or both. There is neither any regulatory requirement for minimum capital investment, nor job market advertising or recruiting.

Who Is it For?

The Owner Operator LMIA is one of the best options for business immigrants who can meet the Express Entry requirements but otherwise are not able to beat the cutoff score, as it may help in improving Comprehensive Ranking Score(CRS) by 200 points.

What does the applicant need to do?

The candidate is required to submit a business plan for a project they intend to set up or purchase an existing business and outline how the operation will earn revenue and profit. The official reviewing the proposal will determine the project's potential commercial feasibility. 

Work permits may be issued to foreign nationals( the applicant) whose proposed Canadian employer( The applicant’s business itself) has obtained an opinion from Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”), which ensures that the job offer( to the applicant only) is genuine; and would likely have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market.

Once admitted on a work permit, candidates can at a later stage, apply for permanent residence to Canada under one of the many immigration programs.  This can include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, under the Express Entry system, or under a suitable provincial (PNP) business immigration stream.


To qualify as an owner-operator, the foreign investor must have:

  1. Verifiable, transferable management experience.
  2. Sufficient assets to purchase the targeted business in Canada.
  3. Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.
  4. Controlling interest in the business: own more than 50% of the shares and cannot be dismissed


  1. The foreign investor identifies a Canadian business to purchase OR creates a business plan for a new business set-up.
  2. A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is submitted to ESDC along with a suitable business plan.
  3. Once a positive LMIA opinion is issued, the foreign investor applies for a 12-24 months renewable temporary work permit at the management level.

Pathway to Permanent Residence

During the first year of working in Canada, the foreign investor along with immediate family members can apply for permanent residence if they qualify under a suitable program, either the federal Express Entry or a provincial nomination program. In most cases, the process can be completed in less than 12 months.

Challenges and how Mars Immigration Inc. will assist you

Through our established network of licensed professionals, we can help foreign investor-entrepreneurs to identify suitable businesses for sale in Canada.  Once a suitable business is identified or purchased Or a new business is set up, with the help of our qualified RCIC and channel partners we will help you to complete the required business and  immigration formalities.

There are multiple things that need to be factored in before we submit your application. Some of the key points are-

  • Start Up issues- We need to put together  a compelling  business plan that reflects sustainability and profitability of the business. 
  • Business Purchases- The candidate needs to be educated about Canadian compliances and processes and only a qualified business should be purchased.
  • Role of the owner operator in the business- There must be absolute clarity with respect to the Owner Operator’s role in the business as it is one of the most crucial and determining aspects while an Immigration officer makes decisions on your application.

Complete our online assessment form and receive more details.

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Yash Sharma
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant.
(+1) 647-530-0426
9, Doris Pawley Crescent, Caledon, Ontario - L7C 4E7
Member # R534521
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