Owner and Operator

The Owner/Operator program requirements and specifications have been changed.
Please refer to the Canada.ca website for the latest updates.

The Owner-Operator is a pathway that will help you immigrate to Canada, even if you do not score enough points in the economic immigration programs. If you are an entrepreneur and have the funds to start your own business in Canada, there are several different opportunities for you to immigrate to Canada.

Owner and Operator is suitable for those who:

  • Cannot immigrate directly through the Express Entry or any provincial program.
  • Does not meet the requirements of the Start-Up Visa program.

The Owner-Operator program is not a formal immigration program, but a work permit, which is issued under the federal program for temporary foreign workers. A work permit under the Owner-Operator Program is for businessmen who want to acquire an existing or start a new business in Canada and want to work in this business in a management position. The foreign businessman will have to become an employee, i.e. Director of his/her Canadian company, which in turn means that the company must meet most of the requirements for Canadian employers wishing to hire a foreign worker.

What are the pros of the Owner-Operator stream?

  1. Obtaining permanent residence in Canada.
  2. Directly setting up a business.
  3. The investors reserve the right to manage their own company.
  4. Getting the freedom to launch your company in any city in Canada.
  5. No requirements for the amount of investment
  6. Also, there is no annual quota for the number of work permits that can be issued under the Owner-Operator program.

What is Owner-Operator LMIA and why is it needed?

To employ foreign nationals, an employer must obtain a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA is a document issued by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), that gives an employer permission to hire a temporary foreign worker.

While in the regular LMIA application we must prove that there are no Canadian employees available for this job after the efforts made to recruit local workers, in the Owner-Operator application, we are exempt from this rule as you are going to operate your own company and don’t want other individuals to manage it.

The ESDC will examine your business proposal as a whole. If Department officers see that your business in Canada will bring significant social, cultural or economic benefits, or create jobs for Canadian citizens or permanent residents, your application will be approved. As a part of our application, we create a business plan to demonstrate reasonable grounds for your intention to run a business in Canada and support it with marketing analysis and industry research.

Application processing time is usually 2-3 months for obtaining an LMIA, plus 2-3 months for obtaining a work permit.

What is the purpose of Owner-Operator Work Permit?

The strategic goal of becoming an owner of a Canadian business is getting a valid job offer to work as an operator of the business in one of the following Senior managers’ roles:

  • NOC 0013 Senior managers – financial, communications and other business services
  • NOC 0014 Senior managers – health, education, social and community services and membership organizations
  • NOC 0015 Senior managers – trade, broadcasting and other services, n.e.c.
  • NOC 0016 Senior managers – construction, transportation, production and utilities

Obtaining a work permit under those conditions, allows you to get additional 200 points in the Comprehensive Ranking System of the Express Entry. In the other words, it can help you to meet the threshold required to get the invitation to apply for permanent residence in Canada. If you do not score enough points required for Express Entry with 200 points, the conditions of owner-operator allow you to get additional 35 points (if you are married) or 40 points (if you are single) after one year of work experience in Canada.

The process of moving to Canada under this program consists of four steps:

  1. Choose a Canadian business to buy or establish.
  2. Apply for a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) along with a suitable business plan.
  3. After receiving a positive LMIA, apply for a work permit for up to 2 years
  4. During the first year of employment in Canada, an entrepreneur and his family will be able to apply for immigration through one of the federal or provincial immigration programs.


The entrepreneur must demonstrate leadership, interests, and business acumen to work in the relevant industry. Also, you must prove that your arrival in Canada will benefit the economy. This can be done by creating new jobs for Canadian residents.

Other requirements include:

  1. Providing a proper business plan that outlines the management program, profitability and basic budget idea. The hiring process, employee management and funding should also be included in the plan.
  2. Funding the business and paying employees in wages equal to or above the average wage requirement for the job (if applicable).


Required documents:

  1. Proof of ownership of the Canadian company (registration documents or share purchase agreement).
  2. Confirmation of sufficient funds in the bank account for the Canadian company.
  3. Applicant’s personal documents (diplomas, work references, passport, marriage certificate, bank statements, proof of business experience and management experience, etc.).
  4. Business plan for a Canadian company (can be provided by an attorney in Canada).

Your work permit most likely will be valid for 1 or 2 years, depending on the nature of the business.

Family members

Family members of a foreign businessman can join him in Canada. The spouse can get an open work permit, and the children can get a study permit. Children can attend public schools for free. The applicant and his family members can access free medical care during the validity of their visas.

Thus, during the first year of employment in Canada, a foreign businessman, along with immediate family members, can apply for permanent residence if they are eligible to participate in the relevant immigration program. In most cases, the immigration process can be completed in less than 12 months.

Do not hesitate to contact Mansouri Immigration! Our team of professionals will answer all your questions and help you collect the required package of documents. We will guide you from the very establishment of your business to the application for permanent residence.

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