The owner-operator LMIA is a type of Labour Market Impact Assessment issued to a business owner or majority shareholder who is looking to work within their own business in Canada. With this type of LMIA, you can get a work permit in order to legally work within your own firm. The type of person who would be ideal for an owner-operator LMIA may have the following characteristics:
- owns more then 50% of a Canadian business
- has relevant business work experience or has technical skills essential to the business
- will create at least 1 job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident within the first 12 months
- can invest in a start-up company or buy into an existing business
- there is no minimum investment amount other then as determined by the business plan
- successful candidate will be eligible for a work permit up to 3 years in duration
- accompanying spouse or dependents can also get temporary resident status
- only one owner-operator can apply, two foreign national business partners cannot both apply
The owner-operator can own 100% of the Canadian business or have as a partner a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Each business type whether it is a retail business, service sector, franchise model, or others will have an optimal business plan that outlines the management and organization of the business, the product or service offered, the marketing plan, operating and control systems, the growth plan, the financial plan, and all relevant supporting documentation or research. The business plan will be the guide that determines the size of the financial investment necessary in order to implement the growth strategy and to cover any liabilities that may exist including operating expenses and salaries. Existing business are easier to predict then start-ups because existing businesses already have statistics to assess in order to predict future performance whereas a start-up, while it could require less of an upfront investment, it ultimately could prove to be a challenge for a new business owner to meet the firm requirement to create jobs within Canada. Falling short of this requirement would mean that you are in default of meeting the minimum requirements of the program.
This type of work permit is ideal for people who want to have the flexibility to come in and out of Canada. For nationals of some countries, they could be exempt from having to obtain an owner-operator LMIA under similar circumstances meaning that they are interested in being a business owner in Canada on a closed work permit. An individual holding a closed work permit can work only for the employer specified on their work permit whereas somebody holding an open work permit can work for almost any employer in Canada. Spouses of a skilled owner-operator work permit holder would be eligible for an open work permit of their own.