The Process:
Owner
Operator
Program


You can purchase a share of a business or set up a new one, and apply for an Owner Operator -based Work Permit. You can be admitted to Canada in less than 6 months.
An Owner Operator Application (called an LMIA) allows a foreign entrepreneur to purchase a business and obtain a Work Permit much faster than through the provincial Entrepreneur Programs. The applicant must meet strict requirements that the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has stipulated; but, once done, the Applicant would be able to obtain a Work Permit in 3-4 months after applying. This makes the Owner Operator Stream the preferred route for many potential entrepreneurs.

In contrast, most provincial Entrepreneur Programs operate under an Expression of Interest scheme. Candidates must submit a lengthy application to express their interest, and wait until the province approves them. The entire process can take up to 2 years, before an applicant can enter Canada on a Work Permit. In turn, many potential entrepreneurs choose the Owner Operator stream instead.
The Process
1) We obtain for you a Business Visitor Visa to visit Canada
2) We help you find an eligible business to buy or establish
3) We submit an LMIA Work Permit Application
4) We process your Work Permit and your family's travel documents
5) You work in Canada, for a year
6) You could then apply for Permanent Residency
What are the qualifications for the program?
To qualify as an owner-operator, the foreign investor must have:

  • Verifiable, transferable management experience.
  • Sufficient financial savings to purchase the targeted business in Canada. Usually most businesses are between $50,000 to $250,000 CAD.
  • Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.
  • Controlling interest in the business: own more than 50% of the shares and cannot be dismissed
  • Commit to creating 1-3 new employee positions for Canadians, in addition to the existent employees (if any) in the Canadian business

Ownership of shares does not by itself guarantee that a foreign national qualifies as an owner-operator. The offer of employment must be made to a foreign investor that will be actively engaged in the management of the business. This will be assessed by reviewing the foreign national's intention to operate the business as well as prior experience in managing or operating a business.



What is the process?
As illustrated above:
  • The foreign investor visits Canada
  • The foreign investor identifies a Canadian business to purchase.
  • A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is submitted along with a suitable business plan.
  • Once a positive LMIA opinion is issued, the foreign investor applies for a 12-24 months, renewable temporary work permit at the management level.
What is the time duration of the process?
It is recommended to apply for a Visitor Visa in order to visit Canada and canvass different business options or prospects. Obtaining a Visitor Visa generally takes 1-2 months. Finding a suitable business could take an additional 1-2+ months. Completing the business transaction can take 2-4 weeks. Submitting an Owner Operator LMIA and awaiting a result can take between 3-4 months. Obtaining a Work Permit will take 2-4 weeks. In total expect the entire process to take 5-7 months.
When can the work permit holder apply for permanent residency?
There is no minimum wait time. In order to qualify for extra points in the Express Entry process, it is recommended that you apply after 1 year of work experience. After the first year of working in Canada, the foreign Owner Operator along with immediate family members can apply for permanent residence through the Express Entry Process, Canadian Experience Class. In most cases, the Express Entry process can be completed in less than 12 months.
Other Immigration Routes
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