Owner-Operator Work Permits

Are you a business owner looking to establish your business in Canada and gain Canadian work experience? We can help you achieve your goal

Experienced business owners have a relatively fast and easy path
to working in Canada.

As the government encourages business people who will contribute to Canada’s economy, both in generating revenue and hiring Canadian labourers, the process is more stream lined and has
fewer requirements than other work permits.

There are 2 ways for an owner-operator to acquire a work permit:

  1. Owner – Operator LMIA
  2. Owner – Operator LMIA Exempt
Owner Operator Work Permit Application

Owner-Operator LMIA

The first application method requires a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) form your prospective employer.

An LMIA provides assurance that a foreign worker is not taking work away from Canadian citizens or permanent residents who could potentially fill that job. Requirements including showing that the company has advertised for Canadian workers to fill the job but found no qualified respondents in terms of skills or experience in a set period of advertising time.

Find out more about LMIA.

When a positive LMIA is received, you can apply for your work permit.

A major benefit of obtaining the positive LMIA easier is that you can get a large number of points (200) for the Express Entry stream, which can bring a person with an otherwise low score into the range of successful draws. Find out more about Express Entry .

Ties to Canada

An owner/operator of a business can bypass the LMIA requirement, saving time and complexity, but they must demonstrate that they have controlling interest in the business in a few different ways:

  • Sole Proprietor (not a partnership);
  • Majority Shareholder; or
  • Proof that you are a shareholder with a controlling interest

Owner-Operator Requirement

General requirements for Owner-Operator Work Permits include:

Detailed Business Plan

  • type of business
  • product or service being offered
  • number of employees that will be hired
  • proof of sufficient funds for the initial capital investment (buying property and equipment, hiring workers, stocking inventory, etc.)
  • Marketing strategy
Steps to begin opening the business in Canada,
  • Registering the business in Canada
  • Hiring: Employ at least 1 Canadian citizen or permanent resident within the first year of operation
  • Proof of related Business Experience
  • Amount to Invest
    Amount to InvestThere is no specific dollar amount that must be invested in to the Canadian business.It will depend on factors such as type of investment (buying an existing business or building a new one), province and city it will be located in, and general economic trends.

Have a Question?

How VisaPath Can Help

At VisaPath, our representatives are highly successful with Owner-
Operator Work Permit applications and understand all the ins and outs.

We can guide you through each step of the process to ensure you compile a strong, convicting and complete application to give you
the best chances of success.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is owner operator program?

Owner Operator is one of many work permit issued by Immigration, Refugee & Citizenship Canada. It is for business individuals who are interested in buying business which results for them to become owner operators of that business.

This is a two-step work permit in which a foreign business person can receive a work permit and then become share ownership of an existing Canadian business.

Who can apply for owner operator?

The ideal candidates for owner operator work permit are:

  • Foreign business individuals who have experience in managerial and supervisor positions.
  • Have enough financial assets to purchase a business in Canada
  • Language proficiency in English or French

Controlling shares or interest in the business

What is the processing time for the owner operator immigration program?

The processing time for this application is around 2-3 months to get a decision. It could take longer depending on the business plan or operational rules, employment, business relations, etc.