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Owner Operator LMIA in Canada: Exploring Alternatives in 2023

As of April 2021, Canada's original Owner/Operator LMIA program, a popular route for foreign business owners and entrepreneurs seeking permanent residence, has been discontinued. However, for aspiring entrepreneurs, there are alternative pathways offering similar immigration opportunities. In this article, we'll delve into the topic of Owner Operator LMIA in Canada, the closure of the original program, and the available alternatives for foreign business owners and entrepreneurs looking to make Canada their new home.


1. The Discontinuation of the Original Owner/Operator LMIA Program

The Canadian Government officially closed the original Owner/Operator LMIA program in April 2021. This program was well-known for granting permanent residence to qualified professionals who could acquire a significant share (at least 50.1%) in a Canadian business and actively operate it. Despite its popularity, the decision to end the program was taken, leaving many entrepreneurs seeking alternative routes.


2. The Entrepreneur LMIA Program: A Revamped Alternative

One of the prominent alternatives to the original Owner/Operator LMIA program is the Entrepreneur LMIA program. This revamped initiative follows a similar principle but involves a few variations in the process. Under this program, foreign entrepreneurs are required to purchase a business in Canada and operate it. However, before proceeding, the current owner of the business must obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) to demonstrate that no qualified Canadians are available for the business's ownership or management role.

Once a positive LMIA is obtained, the foreign entrepreneur can apply for the Entrepreneur Work Permit Canada and come to the country to run the business. This alternative pathway provides a way for business owners to fulfill their aspirations of moving to Canada and contributing to the country's economic landscape.


3. The IMP C11 Program: A Viable Option for Entrepreneurs

Another option available for entrepreneurs is the IMP C11 program. Unlike the original Owner/Operator LMIA program, this route allows entrepreneurs to apply for a work permit without the need for an LMIA. To qualify, applicants must demonstrate verifiable, transferable management experience and possess sufficient assets to either purchase an existing business in Canada or start a new one.

The IMP C11 program provides a promising pathway for entrepreneurs who wish to establish themselves in Canada without the requirement of obtaining an LMIA.


4. The End of Special Temporary Foreign Worker Program Processing for Owner/Operators

It's essential to note that Canada immigration authorities have decided to abolish the special Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) processing exclusively reserved for candidates in the owner/operator category. As of April 1, 2021, owner/operator candidates are assessed on the same basis as other TFWP applicants, and they are no longer exempt from advertising and recruitment requirements when obtaining a positive LMIA. This change aims to ensure that the TFWP remains aligned with its intended purpose, and employers only use it when qualified Canadians or permanent residents are unavailable for the positions.


Conclusion

The closure of the original Owner/Operator LMIA program in Canada has prompted entrepreneurs to explore alternative pathways to achieve their immigration goals. The Entrepreneur LMIA program and the IMP C11 program are two notable alternatives that offer promising opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs to contribute their skills and expertise to the Canadian economy.

Aspiring entrepreneurs must thoroughly research and understand the requirements of each program before proceeding with their immigration plans. Consulting with immigration experts or lawyers familiar with these programs can significantly increase the chances of success in obtaining the necessary work permits and achieving their Canadian dreams.



FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Is the original Owner/Operator LMIA program still available in Canada? No, the original Owner/Operator LMIA program was discontinued in April 2021.


What is the Entrepreneur LMIA program? The Entrepreneur LMIA program is a revamped alternative that allows foreign entrepreneurs to purchase a business in Canada and operate it after obtaining a positive LMIA.


Is there an alternative to the Owner/Operator LMIA program for entrepreneurs? Yes, the IMP C11 program offers an alternative pathway for entrepreneurs to apply for a work permit without requiring an LMIA.


What changes were made to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) processing for owner/operators? As of April 1, 2021, owner/operator candidates are assessed on the same basis as other TFWP applicants and are no longer exempt from advertising and recruitment requirements when obtaining a positive LMIA.



How can aspiring entrepreneurs ensure a successful immigration process to Canada? Aspiring entrepreneurs should thoroughly research and understand the requirements of the available programs and consider seeking guidance from immigration experts or lawyers to increase their chances of success.

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