Immigrate to Canada as an entrepreneur through the Owner Operator program.

What is the Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit and why is it so popular?

The Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit allows entrepreneurs to open a new business, buy an existing business or a franchise – anywhere in Canada.

The company must be running before sending the work permit application which is why we prioritize the purchase of existing businesses or franchises rather than a brand new business.

With corona virus and many businesses closing and laying off employees, this type of application, if well done, can have high chances of approval since it will help Canadian economy restart, maintain businesses, and create jobs for Canadians.

Why the Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit is one of the best 3 ways for entrepreneurs to immigrate to Canada?

Most entrepreneurs want to invest in Canada in order to obtain permanent residency for themselves and their family. But in Canada, most permanent residency programs are based on points; the more points you have the more chances you have to be selected.

As a business owner having an Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit, you will get +200 points for your permanent residence and this, as soon as the LMIA is received. For immigration each point counts so this program is sometimes the best strategy for entrepreneurs to achieve permanent residency faster than through other immigration programs.

In addition, most entrepreneur programs will require that you first manage the business for at least 1 year in a specific province, and invest a minimum amount (anywhere from $100,000 CAD to $600,000 CAD), and pass an interview, before being able to apply for permanent residence. With the Owner Operator Work Permit, you can choose where to open your business, there is no minimum investment or net worth amount (anywhere between $100,000 CAD and $900,000 CAD) required, neither an interview. You must show that you and the company you are buying have the financial capacity to incur the costs associated with at least the first year of doing business in Canada.

Lastly, there is no need to pass an IELTS test until you are eligible to apply for permanent residence. At that time, you will need to obtain IELTS 6 minimum on all four language skills (reading, speaking, listening and writing). But, at least, you are already in Canada and can apply for permanent residence either right away after the LMIA is issued, or before 1 or 2 years after coming to Canada.

What do you get with an Owner Operator Work Permit?

  • An existing business that you own for at least 51%
  • Receive training and mentorship to run the business during the first months.
  • 1 or 2 years work permit for you.
  • Your spouse can have an open work permit to work anywhere in Canada and for any employer.
  • Your children can get study permit (free education before university).
  • Health coverage for everyone.
  • +200 points to apply for permanent residence. Depending on your profile, you can apply for permanent residence right after the issuance of the LMIA or after 1 year of work in Canada.

What are the conditions to obtain an Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit?

  • Choose between opening your own business, buying an existing business or a franchise.
  • Own at least 51% of the business.
  • Your services or products must be useful to the Canadian market. You cannot open a simple convenience store.
  • You must have experience in this industry and be able to prove it.
  • You must hire 1-2 Canadians during the first year.
  • There is no minimum investment amount, it depends on the business concept, but to give you an idea, you should be ready to invest at least $150,000 CAD into the purchase of your business AND be able to pay your salary and the salary of 1 or 2 employees.
  • The business must be started before coming to Canada: incorporation, business bank account, physical location/office, complete business plan, list of distributors/potential clients (negotiations with potential clients must have at least started).

There is no language condition although you must be able to communicate in basic English or French to start a business in Canada.

We help you from beginning to end, step by step.

How much does an entrepreneur have to invest to obtain an Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit?

By law, there is no minimum investment amount, however it will be difficult to buy a business for less than $150,000 CAD, which means that you should have a net worth of at least $400,000 CAD.

You cannot spend all your money into a business in Canada, and must have room to pay for legal fees, marketing fees, office rent, etc. Most importantly, you must be able to pay your own salary (approximately $100,000 CAD per year) and the salary of at least 1 other employee during year 1.

Depending on the type and scope of business, we will be looking for funding as well. This does not change the fact that you should have a decent net worth in order to undertake any business immigration program.

What is the process to obtain an Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit?

  • Discussion with Lawyer to assess chances of success.
  • Sign contract with Lawyer.
  • We help you find and buy a business. We take care of all financial and corporate processes. We help you negotiate the deal, open a bank account, register the business.
  • We write the business plan tailored to immigration requirements.
  • When the application is ready, second payment is due.
  • We submit the LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) application (stage 1).
  • Once stage 1 is approved, we submit stage 2 of the application, the actual work permit application.
  • You come to Canada with your family (spouse obtains a work permit and children study permits).
  • Depending on your profile, we will apply for permanent residence when stage 1 is approved or after managing the business for 1 year (cost are separate, it is a different application).

How long does it take?

The entire process takes approximately 8 months.

How do we help entrepreneurs apply for an Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit application?

We first ensure that this program is actually the best strategy for our clients. If not, then we will suggest more suitable immigration programs.

We then discuss the industries, types of businesses you wish to manage, and the potential location of the business.

The location depends usually on different factors:

  • Having family/friends/business partners in a specific city.
  • Wanting to be in a rather populated, crowded city while balancing the important difference in the cost of living.

There is of course an important difference in the overall cost of living between a small and big city. In either case, we find the province and city which best suits the entrepreneurs’ industry, needs, and financial capacity.

While we find the best business opportunity, we review your documents, and prepare a complete application package to be submitted to the government.

We work with business consultants, real estate brokers, chartered accountants, corporate lawyers, business plan writers, bankers, and even with the government to help you bring your business and immigration projects to life.

We guide you before, during and after coming to Canada.

Once the Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit is issued, how can you become permanent resident?

Once you have enough points, you can apply for permanent residence under the Express Entry program.

Depending on your profile (age, level of education, years of skilled work experience, language skills, family in Canada), you will obtain a number to which you can add +200 points. If at that time you have enough points, then we can start the permanent residence application when:

  • the LMIA is issued - or
  • after 1 year of additional work experience - or
  • after 2 years of additional work experience.

Please note that the Owner Operator’s spouse who received an open work permit, can in some cases become the Main Applicant at the permanent residence stage if for example he/she has a job offer.


Although these explanations provide an overview of the Owner Operator LMIA Work Permit, each case is truly unique, which is why it is important to meet with an immigration professional to help you setup the appropriate immigration and business strategy right at the beginning.

To see the summary of this program in an easy to read table, and to compare this program with other very advantageous entrepreneur immigration programs, please see the table on my previous article called “What are the best 3 ways to immigrate to Canada as an entrepreneur?”.


This is just one of the numerous immigration program for entrepreneurs who want to open a business in Canada. Book a consultation to know what is the best way for you to immigrate to Canada.

We help entrepreneurs set up their business and immigration strategy and execute on it.

We believe immigration is more than just a visa. We accompany our entrepreneurs during their entire immigration journey: from business set up to the first work permit, then permanent residency and finally, citizenship.

  • Find the business to buy or rent.
  • Find the location.
  • Incorporate the business.
  • Write a business plan tailored to immigration requirements.
  • We put you in touch with our network to start finding clients, distributors, suppliers.
  • Find schools for your children.
  • Your spouse and children under 22 years old can be included in your application.

To book a consultation with a lawyer and explore your business immigration options, email us.


+1 647.979.7068 (WhatsApp available)

85 East Liberty Street, Toronto, Ontario, M6K 3R4, Canada

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