What Do the New Changes to the Owner-Operator LMIA mean?

Cancellation of the Owner-Operator LMIA Program as we know it

Nearly four months after news first broke that Service Canada and IRCC were considering making substantial changes to the Owner-Operator LMIA program, Service Canada officially announced on February 18, 2021, that they plan to revise the program entirely as of April 1, 2021. Understandably, this has left many business owners scrambling to figure out where they stand – are pending applications being thrown out? Are there any other options for business owners that want to open and operate a business in Canada? What are the best alternatives to the Owner-Operator LMIA Program?

While this news went far beyond what Service Canada and IRCC were rumoured to be changing, there is hope yet!

The Owner-Operator LMIA was only one of many programs business owners can use to run their business in Canada and as we reported in November 2020, no longer the most ideal program for business owners hoping to relocate and run their businesses in Canada and get those needed 200 CRS points for their Express Entry application.

So, now, what are the alternatives to the Owner-Operator LMIA Program?

LMIA-Exempt Programs

These programs are independent of Service Canada and are less likely to change spontaneously. They are tried and tested programs that we have seen high rates of success with.

The C-11 Significant Benefit Program

The C-11 Work Permit program allows foreign entrepreneurs and investors to come to Canada and work in a Canadian company that they own that provides significant economic, social or cultural benefits to Canada. This is an LMIA exempt work permit, which means that foreign entrepreneurs can apply for a work permit to the Canadian immigration authorities without the need to secure a positive LMIA decision

The C-12 Intra-Company Transferee Program

The Intra-Company Transfer Program (ICT) is a work permit program for foreign business owners with active and successful companies already operating in their home countries. This program allows business owners to expand their businesses to Canada, transfer executive or managerial employees, or employees with specialized knowledge and provides a pathway to settle in Canada permanently.

You can find answers to your ICT-related questions in the FAQ section of our website.

Treaty-based Work Permit Programs

There are many work permit programs available to business owners from treaty countries like the USA, Mexico, Chile, Australia, Japan, Vietnam etc. These Treaties offer specialized programs to foreign business owners and entrepreneurs looking to do business in Canada. Check-in with us to see if you qualify under a Treaty to explore your options.

The LMIA Programs

The Owner-Operator LMIA Program

The Owner-Operator LMIA Program will continue to be active until April 1, 2021, and as a result, applications submitted before this date will still be considered. If your sights are firmly set on this program, there is a small window of opportunity left to apply under this program.

The Regular LMIA Stream

Business owners of Canadian companies also have the option of applying for an LMIA-backed work permit as employees of their companies. Under the regular stream, the business will need to first apply for an LMIA for the position they are hiring in, and once they receive a positive decision, they can apply for a work permit.

What about business owners already in Canada under the Owner-Operator LMIA Program?

While Service Canada hasn’t announced its plans or intentions to transition the business owners that are currently in Canada under the Owner-Operator LMIA program, we expect there will be more news about this in the weeks to come. Unless they announce otherwise, this new decision will not apply retroactively, which means that valid LMIAs will continue to be valid until they expire. What you will need to keep your eye on are LMIA extensions and renewals.

Contact Us For Clear Guidance

The bottom line is, whatever path you decide to take, we will be here to see you through it.

Sobirovs Law Firm is committed to helping our clients pick the most favourable strategies through changing policies and global pandemics. We work with various Canadian organizations that attract foreign investment to many regions of Canada.

If you are determined to come to Canada through business immigration and have enough financial resources to do so, we will do our best to find the most suitable options for you. We take the extra mile for our eligible clients.

If you are feeling uncertain about your future with these proposed program changes or if you have questions about what strategy may be best for you, don’t wait, contact us today and book your 1-hour Strategy Meeting with your senior immigration lawyer.

Bringing You, Your Tech Talent & Your Business To Canada

Get started and make your first step towards Canada. Book your 1-hour strategy meeting with a licensed Canadian immigration lawyer.

Immigration to Canada can be very complicated for businesses, business owners, and foreign employees. Hiring business immigration lawyers with the skill, experience, and patience is often crucial to successfully navigating this complex process. The experienced professionals at Sobirovs Law Firm offer tailored legal services in all business and corporate immigration matters. Contact us for more information on how we can help you meet your immigration needs.

We have worked with & represented clients from all walks of life. Always just one call – or click – away, weʼre happy to help you begin your & your familyʼs journey to Canada.

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Our Clients Say…

Lucia Lu
Lucia Lu
I cannot say enough good things about Sobirovs Law Firm’s exceptional team. My work permit application was quite complex and underwent numerous tests, including a rejection from the first attempt. Feruza developed a tailored strategy that contributed to the best chance of success in the resubmission, and her entire team presented my case with unparalleled expertise and genuine care. I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Maggie, a phenomenal consultant who supported me in every step of the application, took the time to understand my unique situation and answered all my questions patiently. Her in-depth knowledge of the work permit program, proficiency in preparing my application and professional communication were reassuring and truly remarkable. Thanks to your team’s extraordinary work, I can now pursue my business goals in Canada with peace of mind. I am grateful for your hard work and the compassionate support you provided throughout this journey. You have my highest recommendation without any reservations.
Nomin Dunburee
Nomin Dunburee
I had the pleasure of collaborating with the highly skilled professionals at Sobirovs to achieve my goals. Feruza's extensive expertise was invaluable, as she guided me through the most suitable pathway for my business immigration. I am profoundly grateful for choosing Sobirovs and highly recommend their exceptional services!
Bimal Banik
Bimal Banik
I really appreciate Sovirovs professional services ,I am truly happy and satisfied with their team work .I wish them all the best
Amirov Temur
Amirov Temur
I am happy with the help I got from Sobirov Law Firm. They were always there for me : answering my questions and giving me support through the visa application process and with general immigration related questions. They made everything easier and were quick to respond whenever I needed them. I would recommend Sobirov Law Firm to anyone needing visa assistance for Canada. I trusted them, and did not regret! Thanks for all your help! I hope for further cooperation with you.
Yuri l
Yuri l
I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Ms. Feruza Djamalova, Ms. Judy Le and the entire team of Sobirovs Law Firm for their highly professional and excellent work in the complicated process of obtaining approval of our application for the business immigration program. I had several previous refusals over the course of 5 years. At that point, I contacted Sobirovs Law Firm. Their knowledge, competence, and perseverance turned my application into a success! My case was dealt by Feruza and Judy and I sincerely appreciate what an incredible job they have done and how much they have helped us. I believe they have a special gift and talent for assisting their clients. I want to particularly thank Judy for her patience and attention to detail in our case and also for thanks to her diligence, skill and attention to detail. I highly recommend Sobirovs Law Firm to anyone who wants to move to Canada using Business Immigration Programs and is looking for an immigration law firm capable of making a dream come true. They are highly professional and specialized in this field. I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks for their support.
Syed Namdaar Ali
Syed Namdaar Ali
My experience with Sobirov's was very rewarding. Starting from LMIA to Work permit it was a smooth sail. The entire team especially Yulia prepared my case painstakingly. They guided me on every little detail. Special thanks to Feroza, Farukh, Madina and the entire team for making this happen.
Bhrushank Ved
Bhrushank Ved
I had an amazing experience with the Sobirovs in applying for my C11 Work Permit. Feruza, Maggie, Judy and Yulia planned every step of the way and made the process a breeze. Benjamin was also quite knowledgeable and assisted me with the business plan for my application. I recommend Sobirovs team if you plan to expand your existing business or start a new business in Canada. Highly recommended!
Senol Ercetin
Senol Ercetin
Dear Sobirovs Team, I would like to thank you (Yulia, Faruk, Feruza, Madina) for taking care of us closely in obtaining the necessary work permits for the establishment of the Canadian branch of our company and the necessary visas for our family. You have carried out a flawless process. With sincere regards
Rakesh Shrivastava
Rakesh Shrivastava
I had a great experience working with the Sobirov Law Firm. The entire team was professional, prompt, and meticulous in their approach. We started working with them on LMIA under GTS of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. The time it took from creation of an Incorporation to submission and approval of our application was around 8 weeks. Work Permit approval took another 2 weeks. They also helped us get shared office space since it was a new experience for us. They guided us in finding a payroll service provider and a realtor to help with the relocation of the foreign employee. My sincere thanks to Feruza Djamalova and Rakhmad Sobirov (Attorneys), and Yulia Kan (Team Lead).


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