Time to get into the business of things
Buying or starting your own business is a popular way to immigrate to Canada for entrepreneurs and experienced business owners. Through Canada’s numerous Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP’s), a businessperson may buy a business or establish a corporate entity in a specific province. However, each PNP has specific requirements based on the applicant’s minimum net-worth, investment requirement and overall business plan. The application and approval process may also take well over a year, and intake periods can open and close without notice. Please go to the PNP page to view the current programs that are currently available for each Canadian province.
Understating the "LMIA"
In most circumstances, any business entity that wishes to hire and pay a temporary foreign worker (TFW) in Canada must first apply and be approved for what is known as a “positive” Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA is a document submitted to the Canadian government justifying the need to hire a TFW, while simultaneously ensuring there is a “neutral” or positive” impact on the current Canadian labour market. The challenge with the LMIA is the mandatory requirement for employers to go through an exhaustive effort – through job postings and advertisements – to prove to the government that a local Canadian cannot fill the role based on the job requirements and salary range. However, if a foreign national buys a business, they can apply for what is known as the "Owner/Operator LMIA."
The Owner/Operator LMIA
If a foreign national buys a controlling interest (51%) of a company as a whole (100%), of a Canadian company, they can apply for a what is known as an Owner/Operator LMIA. This application excludes the requirement of the purchased company to post any employment positions publicly. Put another way, the Owner/Operator LMIA is seeking the legal right for their newly acquired company to hire themselves or a family member as a temporary foreign worker. This is why this option is commonly known as the “Small Investment Immigration Program.”
The key advantage
The Owner/Operator LMIA option enables applicants - who do not meet the specific investment and personal net-worth requirements of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs) - to acquire or establish a new business in Canada with no minimum investment, personal net-worth requirements or age restrictions. Moreover, it also allows the applicant to choose whichever province they wish to reside in. This relatively new and unique business immigration option is one of the most sought-after programs being offered by Beaver Immigration Consulting. The Small investment Immigration Program further provides applicants with a path toward Permanent Residency in Canada.
How it works
Once the applicant has formed the business and secured a positive owner/occupier LMIA, they will be eligible to apply for a work permit for either one (1) to two (2) years, under which the applicant must be involved in the day-to-day operations of the business and meet other key requirements, such as including the employment of a Canadian citizens/permanent residents. The spouse of the applicant can further be eligible for an open work permit where he/she is able to work anywhere in Canada and for any employer. Upon acquiring at least one (1) year of business experience in Canada, eligible applicants (who meet particular work experience and language requirements) can make a strong application for permanent residency the Express Entry System. On average, approval wait times for an LMIA can take six (6) to eight (8) months from date of submission of application.