What is the Owner/Operator LMIA and why it is important for PR applications?

The employment of a temporary foreign worker (TFW) is a very interesting process for all Canadian employers. Thus, in order to employ a TFW, any employer in Canada must obtain authorization from the government. To do so, the employer must prove that by hiring a TFW there is no negative impact to the Canadian labor market. In most cases, the employer must apply for approval of the LMIA (Labor Market Impact Assessment). The application for this assessment must be completed without error, as it passes a very detailed review.
In most cases, the employer must advertise the available positions to Canadian workers within a certain period of time. However, there are some exemptions to this rule. One of such exemptions is the Owner/Operator LMIA. This assessment is made for those foreigners who wish to purchase an established business or launch a new one in Canada and to work in that business as its manager, for example. Usually the foreign nationals do so with the aim to immigrate permanently to Canada in the future.

The criteria for qualification of a foreign national as an owner/operator are very simple:

  • He/she must demonstrate a level of controlling interest in the business; and
  • He/she must prove that his/her temporary entry to Canada will create or retain employment opportunities for Canadians and permanents residents and/or transfer skills to Canadians and permanent residents; and
  • He/she must detain a non-dismissible position (must occupy a superior position or one of superior positions in the company without the possibility to be dismissed).

As the Owner/Operator LMIA is an exception to the rule, no advertising or recruitment efforts are required.