Although the original Owner/Operator LMIA program is closed, a similar program is available with some variation in the process. Canada’s Owner Operator LMIA program was a popular Canada Business immigration route for foreign business owners and entrepreneurs. This program offered permanent residence to qualified professionals who could acquire a 50.1% or a more significant share in a Canadian business and then operate it. However, the Canadian Government discontinued the program in April 2021.
The great news is that a few alternative programs offer similar immigration pathways for prospective foreign business owners and entrepreneurs. Here are three such programs.
1. Entrepreneur LMIA Program
The Entrepreneur LMIA program is essentially a revamped version of the Owner Operator LMIA. This program requires you to purchase a business and Canada and operate it. However, before you can do this, the business’s current owner must complete a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to demonstrate that no Canadians can take on the business ownership or management role.
If they receive a positive LMIA, the foreign entrepreneur can apply for the Entrepreneur Work Permit Canada and then come to the country to run the business. They will also get up to 200 CRS points and be eligible to apply for permanent residence immediately.
The C11 Significant Benefit Program is available to foreign entrepreneurs who wish to operate a Canadian business that significantly benefits Canada’s economy, culture, and social fabric. Foreign professionals who apply through this program do not require a positive LMIA to apply for the C11 Work Permit Canada. For this reason, they may favour this program over the Entrepreneur LMIA program. It is one of the best alternatives to Owner Operator LMIA.
3. Intra Company Transfer Canada
The Intra Company Transfer Canada program is a unique program designed to allow foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to expand their existing businesses to Canada. This program also allows foreign business owners to apply for an LMIA-exempt work permit and then come to Canada.
The business owner can apply for permanent residence after operating their Canadian business for 12 months.
The three programs mentioned above are the most popular alternatives to the Owner Operator LMIA program. However, there are a few options you may also want to consider.
International Free Trade Agreements
Many International Free Trade Agreements allow foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to obtain work permits to run businesses in Canada. The Intra-Company Transfer program falls into this category.
Numerous Provincial Nominee Programs allow foreign entrepreneurs and business owners to set up or purchase and operate businesses in Canada. These programs have unique requirements depending on the province, so you should look up each one to determine which is right for you.
Start Your Business Assessment for Entrepreneur LMIA
As you can see, foreign business owners and entrepreneurs have many alternatives to the Owner Operator LMIA program. If you intend to apply to any of the programs mentioned above, please contact Elaar Immigration. Our skilled team of Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants can study your background and qualification and recommend the best program for your situation. Start your business immigration journey to Canada under the guidance of the experienced professionals at Elaar Immigration.