LMIA – OWNER/OPERATOR STREAM (Business/Entrepreneur)
This category is for foreign nationals who wish to establish or purchase a business in Canada, and want to work in that business in a high-skilled position, often with the aim of immigrating permanently. To be eligible under this program, the foreign national will need to provide evidence of the following:
- Majority ownership and/or controlling interest in the business;
- Establishment or purchase of business will result in the creation or retention of employment opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents and/or skills transfer to Canadians and/or permanent residents; and
- Senior and active position in the company, one from which one cannot be dismissed
There are no advertisement or recruitment efforts required for this application. The main requirement is that the foreign national be majority owner of the Canadian business, ie. have more than 50.1% of shares/controlling interest. As this is an application under the LMIA stream, the foreign national will need to pay him or herself the prevailing median wage for the specific position in the anticipated region of employment. Important to note: the applicant will not have to actually invest the funds, but provide evidence that monies to pay himself plus operating expenses for the first year of business are available.
Other requirements include:
- A business plan that shows how the owner/operator will fund the business and create or maintain employment, and contains at least a rudimentary financial plan and timeline of events;
- Active management of the business; and
- And employing at least one Canadian or permanent resident (ideally in the first year as described in the business plan).
Once an owner/operator receives a positive LMIA, he or she can obtain a work permit from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada equal to the validity of the LMIA (usually up to 2 years). Once a work permit is obtained, the owner/operator will, in most cases, be in a position to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry program as the approved LMIA job offer gives the applicant either 50 or 200 additional points, based on position.