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August 4, 2021


General: This work visas are for businessmen who wish to purchase a business or establish a new business in Canada and want to work in that business in a managerial position, often with the aim of immigrating permanently. If the work visa is issued to the foreign businessman, he/she will be required to become an employee of his/her Canadian company, which in turns mean that the company must pay the foreign worker a wage that meets the medium wage requirements.

This a two-step application. First, the foreign businessman must apply to the Employment and Skill Development Canada (ESDC) office to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Second, once the businessmen receives a positive LMIA, he or she can obtain a work visa usually up to 2 years. Once a work visa is obtained, the businessman will, in most cases, be in a position to apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry program. This type of work visa generates a substantially better chance for businessmen to permanently immigrate to Canada under the Express Entry.


However, some LMIA applications are exempt from advertising requirements, one such example being the Owner/Operator LMIA.

This specific category has been created for foreign businessmen who wish to either establish or purchase a business in Canada and manage it from Canada. The role of the simplified procedure is to attract business people to the country and make the transition process smooth, easy and quick.

If business owner had to go through the same laborious process of obtaining a work permit, they most likely would be dissuaded from investing so much effort into that and will look into other country for investment opportunities. This stream has been specifically designed to avoid that. So, if you are a business person who runs a business or wants to purchase a business in Canada, look into the below criteria to see if you qualify.

You must:

  1. Be a sole or majority shareholder, i.e. demonstrate that you have controlling interest in the business;
  2. Demonstrate that your entry into Canada will result in the creation or retention of jobs for Canadian permanent residents / citizens;
  3. Be independent from any senior management. You must occupy the highest position of power in the company and not be answerable to any superiors.

The key requirement for Owner/Operator LMIA is for an applicant to own a controlling interest of 50% or more in the company.


Other requirements include:

  1. A business plan. You must show in detail how you will fund the business and create/maintain employment. The business plan must be elaborate and convincing. You must convince the officer of Employment and Social Development Canada that you know what you are doing;
  2. You must be actively involved in the business. You should show that you are not making a passive investment. Instead, you intend to run and develop your business further. You are the architect and the muse behind your project.
  3. In your business plan, show an intention to hire Canadian citizens or permanent residents (ideally, in the first year of the business).

Get in touch with us if you would like to benefit from any of the above-noted pathways to Canada. Manuleaf Immigration specializes in bringing established foreign businesses and brands to Canada.
Are you interested to immigrate to Canada? We’re happy to help.