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  • Writer's pictureCalver Immigration Consulting Inc.

LMIA for Business Owner

Owner Operator LMIA Pathway

A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is a document that proves an employer may need to get before hiring a foreign worker. The positive LMIA shows that no Canadian citizen or permanent resident is available to do the job. The typical LMIA application process requires a recruitment period where the employer lists the job on job board websites in an attempt to find Canadian talent.

The LMIA program also includes an exemption for entrepreneurs, this is called the Owner-Operator stream. This is a stream where entrepreneurs who have started a business in Canada offer themselves a job offer in Canada.

The Owner-Operator LMIA is one of the most useful tools for Business Immigrants who can meet the Express Entry requirements. An opinion or LMIA is obtained from Employment and Social Development Canada, which allows you to obtain a work permit/ points for Arranged Employment under Express Entry.

Owner Operator LMIA Requirements

The most important part of the application is embodied in the Immigration Act/regulations: which asks: “Whether the employment of the foreign national will or is likely to result in direct job creation or job retention for Canadian citizens or permanent residents”.

Sub-section 203(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (the “Regulations”) provides that work permits may be issued to foreign nationals whose proposed Canadian employer has obtained an opinion from Employment and Social Development Canada (“ESDC”) that:

a) the job offer is genuine; and

b) would likely have a neutral or positive effect on the Canadian labour market.

In determining whether a job offer is genuine, the officer is to consider the following factors from section 200(5) of the Regulations:

a) whether the offer is made by an employer that is actively engaged in the business in respect of which the offer is made;

b) whether the offer is consistent with the reasonable employment needs of the employer;

c) whether the terms of the offer are terms that the employer is reasonably able to fulfil; and

d) the past compliance of the employer, or any person who recruited the foreign national for the employer, with the federal or provincial laws that regulate employment, or the recruiting of employees, in the province in which it is intended that the foreign national work.


Important Points to Consider: The Owner-Operator LMIA

a) Start-up Business: It may be difficult for a startup business to qualify for this program. Start-up businesses are new and thus are not actively engaged in business at the time of application submission. In our experience, Owner-Operator LMIAs are best suited to those start-ups that have invested substantially in the business and can begin operations before the application is finalized.

b) Business Purchases: As per the explanation above, it is often easier to purchase a business rather than start a new company. The application would then reflect that the existing business is actively engaged in business.

d) Owner Operator’s future role: Should the owner-operator purchase a business, they would need to demonstrate that they are needed in the business. The application can demonstrate the applicant’s unique or specialized skillset in addition to an under-resourced management team that requires additional support.

e) Ability to afford Owner Operator: It’s important to ensure that the company has sufficient financial resources to hire (and pay) the Owner Operator, especially if they have committed to a particular salary.

f) Compliance with Employment laws: The applicant must ensure that the business being purchased has been compliant insofar as recruiting and employment laws.


Our Services

Calver and Associates is a leading provider of Canadian Immigration services in Durham Region. We serve clients in Oshawa, Whitby, Ajax, and beyond. Our Registered Canadian Immigration Consultant has over 10 years of experience in Canadian Immigration law and over four years of experience serving those in the Oshawa area.

We can provide assistance with applications for both temporary and permanent residency in Canada. We handle applications for study permits, permanent residency, family class sponsorship, visitor visas, work permits, and Canadian citizenship. We also handle criminal inadmissibility cases by developing remedies for refusal.

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