Canada has a number of immigration pathways that are designed to attract wealthy business immigrants. One of such pathways is the Owner-Operator program that allows foreign investors to invest into a business in Canada and move to Canada to become permanent residents.
Below you will find important information about this pathway as well as answers to the most commonly asked questions.
The Owner-Operator program allows foreign owners of Canadian companies to come to Canada to run their business and to settle in Canada permanently. In order to benefit from this program, foreign investors must buy a business in Canada or establish their own business in Canada and demonstrate to the Canadian immigration authorities that their business is genuine and will create employment opportunities for Canadians.
Foreign investors who meet the following requirements are the ideal candidates for the Owner-Operator program:
Foreign investors should take into account a number of requirements for the Owner-Operator program before they purchase a business in Canada. For detailed information, visit “How to Buy a Business for Immigration and Profit in Canada.”
In short, the company in Canada should meet the following criteria in order to support its owner-operator’s permanent residence application in Canada:
The Owner-Operator program is a two-step application process. Once the foreign investor buys a business in Canada, the company in Canada must apply to the Employment and Skill Development Canada (ESDC) office to obtain a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).
Once the company has received a positive LMIA, the foreign investor can obtain a work visa, which is usually valid for 2 years, as well as apply for permanent residence, if he or she meets the eligibility requirements under the Express Entry program.
In general, the process looks like this:
There is no minimum investment amount specified in the law regarding the Owner-Operator program. However, investors should keep in mind the following factors when it comes to the investment amount:
There are different sets of documents that the foreign investors must provide to the Canadian authorities at different stages of the process.
During stage 1 (LMIA applications stage), the foreign investors must include the following documents with their application:
During the second stage of the application process, the foreign investors will be required to provide more information about their education, work experience, and managerial experience, and they will undergo medical and criminality checks. Here is the list of additional personal documents that foreign investors will be required to prepare in advance:
On average, it takes around 6 months from the start of the process to the LMIA-based work permit approval. However, it may take much longer depending on the type of business foreign investors are buying and whether or not the LMIA is intended to support the foreign investor’s permanent residence application.
If you hire us for this program, the average timeline looks like this:
Initial LMIA-based work permits are issued for 1-2 years, depending on the nature of the business.
Foreign investors will be able to renew their work permits in Canada for up to 6 years, as long as the company in Canada is able to demonstrate that it is actively engaged in business and has complied with the law.
Family members can accompany foreign investors during their employment time in Canada as foreign owners of a Canadian business. The spouse of the foreign investor may get an open work permit to work in Canada and their children may attend public schools for free (this rule does not apply to post-secondary education). The foreign investors and their family members can also get access to free health care during the validity of their work visas. However, different provinces have different rules for the access to free health care for foreign workers, and investors should check the rules for the province where they intend to settle.
Through our licensed network of partners, we can help foreign investors and entrepreneurs in the following ways:
Our law firm charges $25,000+ in legal fees to assist with the Owner-Operator business immigration program. The fees may increase depending on the applicant’s background, experience, and language skills and the complexity of the case.
At Sobirovs Law Firm, we focus only on business immigration. That is, we help entrepreneurs, business owners and investors with sufficient funds and business experience to relocate to Canada using the most suitable immigration programs. We take time to learn about you, your goals and capabilities, and choose the best pathway(s) to Canadian permanent residence and, ultimately, Canadian citizenship for you and your family.
Contact us today and see how we can help you and your business!
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