Owner-Operator LMIA

Owner-Operator LMIA applications

The Owner-Operator LMIA is a variation of the Labour Market Impact Assessment the most suitable for business owners. You would need to demonstrate majority ownership in the company to be successful. From April 1st, 2021, these applications are not exempt from advertisement requirements. 

With this type of LMIA, you can get a work permit to work in Canada and further develop your company. Your spouse may be eligible for an open work permit. The type of person who would be ideal for an owner-operator LMIA may have the following characteristics:

  • Owns min of 51% of a Canadian business
  • Has relevant business experience in the field, either a previous owner-operator or senior management experience working for another company 
  • The company has created at least one job for a Canadian citizen or permanent resident or more.
  • The business has to be active, with signed contracts, invoices, and business licenses in place. 
  • There is no minimum investment amount other than as determined by the business plan.


There are certain types of jobs that are exempt from employers having to post job openings.  An Owner Operator LMIA is an application that allows business owners to obtain work authorizaton within their own company and who have an active involvement in the operations.  The individual must meet the strict requirements that the ESDC has stipulated.


Qualifications for Owner-Operator LMIA

As with any employment opportunity that you wish to benefit from in Canada, owning or operating your own business and applying for the respective LMIA, is monitored by the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) closely. This is to ensure that the business venture is positive and that you meet the requirements of the program.

The qualifications stipulated by the ESDC concerning the LMIA for foreign nationals who wish to own or operate their business in Canada are as follows:

  • Own a business located in Canada
  • Hold 50 percent or more of the interest in the business
  • Provide proof that through the temporary entry to Canada there will be a creation or retention of employment opportunities and/or skill transference offered to Canadians and permanent residents of the country
  • Must hold a position within the business that cannot be dismissed or is answerable to a more senior member of the company
  • Create a business plan that demonstrates how the business will be funded with the inclusion of at least a rudimentary financial plan and timeline of events, as well as an outline as to how the individual will create or maintain employment within the company
  • Show proof of the active management of the business by means other than through passive investment, in which the foreign national can provide possession of the qualifications and experience to hold their intended position within the company that will allow them to earn a wage equal to or greater than the median wage requirements for the position
  • Must agree to employ at least one Canadian citizen or permanent resident of the country within the first year. This must be described and included in the finished business plan

Most foreign nationals that are granted a positive LMIA for owning or operating their own business in Canada, soon after, seek the appropriate stream towards permanent residency. With the complexity of these programs, you will find that working with the Canadian Immigration Group can be a positive factor in this process when you want to own a business in Canada.

Owner-operators can start their own new company or purchase an existing one. LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) and Owner-Operator LMIA Application are two distinct processes in the realm of Canadian immigration.For detailed information about LMIA and its significance in the Canadian immigration system, you can refer to the following link:


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