The Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway – Business Immigration to Canada via Business Purchase

Canada welcomes the free market and entrepreneurial spirit of its residents. Being one of the most diverse countries in the world and having one of the most developed economies, the government allows Canadians to do business with foreigners, as well as allows foreigners to purchase existing or establish a new business in Canada. The purchase or establishment of a business in Canada can lead a foreign national to a permanent residency in Canada.

What requirements the Owner/Operator pathway has?

To immigrate through the Owner/Operator, a foreign entrepreneur must:

  1. Establish new or purchase an existing business in Canada.
  2. Hold at least 50.1% shares of the total shares of the company.
  3. Get a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment from the government.
  4. Obtain a Work Permit to operate the business.
  5. Qualify for one of the immigration programs based on gained Canadian work experience.

Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway is not an immigration program. It is a combination of legal regulations that allows foreign businessmen to become permanent residents of Canada!

Who is eligible for the Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway?

In most cases, there are three categories of foreign entrepreneurs who can immigrate through the Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway:

  • Foreign entrepreneurs that own an established business outside Canada who wish to expand their business in Canada.
  • Foreign entrepreneurs who possess funds to launch a brand-new business in Canada.
  • Foreign entrepreneurs who possess funds to purchase an existing business in Canada.

Owner Operator Immigration Pathway

Immigration through the Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway is possible after obtaining a Canadian business and applying for a permanent residence under one of the federal or provincial immigration programs.

Business consulting support from our partners

Immigration Canada PRO collaborates with a range of business consulting experts across Canada. Our partners possess years of experience in dealing with regulatory bodies, Canada Revenue Agency, federal, provincial, and municipal authorities, to help you purchase existing or establish a new business in Canada.

Do you want to move to Canada as a business owner/operator? Contact our company for advice, and we will help you with business immigration to Canada!

Immigration through the Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway consists of the following steps:

Stage 1: Initial Expertise

At this stage, our experts will help you to do a market analysis to identify what business you can purchase or establish, what is the best province for your business to operate and what are the legal procedures to register the ownership with the Canadian government.

Stage 2: Purchase/Establish your Business

Once the market research is done, you must become a registered owner of the Canadian business. To meet the requirements set by the government, you must hold 50.1% of the company shares.

Stage 3: Apply for an LMIA

In order to act as a business owner of the Canadian company, a foreign national must obtain a permit from the government. The Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) assesses the applications for the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This document allows Canadian employers to hire foreign workers. To have legal grounds to apply for a Work Permit in Canada, the Owner/Operator must obtain a positive or neutral LMIA.

Stage 4: Apply for a Work Permit

Based on the positive or neutral LMIA, a foreign national can apply for a work permit in Canada. In this case, an applicant simultaneously acts both as an employer and an employee, as the company hires its director to run the business. The Owner/Operator work permit is usually issued for a period of two years, which is enough to obtain grounds for the permanent residence application of the entrepreneur and his family.

Stage 5: Selecting Immigration Strategy

At this stage, depending on your situation we will advise the proper immigration path. Immigration for Business Owners/Operators is possible both via Express Entry’s Federal Skilled Workers and Canadian Experience Class, as well as via different streams of Provincial Nominee Program. In the case of the provincial immigration strategy, we will first apply for a provincial nomination and then apply for permanent residence. In some cases, Owners/Operators need to obtain at least one year of Canadian work experience to qualify for some immigration programs.

Stage 6: Application for Permanent Residence in Canada

Applying for a permanent residence in Canada is the final stage of the whole process. Our immigration experts will prepare all the necessary documentation. The Owner/Operator and his family will have to provide biometric data, undergo medical checks, obtain criminal records, collect certificates of language proficiency, and other documents. The application will include documents of all family members and will be sent to Immigration Canada for verification. The government takes 6-8 months to process the application through the Express Entry and up to 12-24 months to process the application through the Provincial Nominee Program. During the processing of the PR application, the Owner/Operator can extend the work permit for him and his family members.

Stage 7: Permanent Residence in Canada

As soon as all checks are completed, the applicant will receive an electronic notification requesting him to send passports or copies of passports to the local Canadian visa office. After 3-4 weeks you will get the Confirmation of the Permanent Residency and family members will be able to obtain permanent resident status in Canada.

Work and Study Permits for the Family of the Owner/Operator

Owners/Operators can bring their spouses or common-law partners as well as their dependent children to Canada with you! Spouses of Business Owners/Operators can get an open work permit, which allows them to legally work in Canada. Dependent children of Business Owners/Operators can get a study permit to attend a public school in Canada for the whole duration of the Owner/Operator’s work permit.

Getting a Canadian Citizenship

Once you obtain permanent resident status, you need to live three out of five years within Canada as a permanent resident to be eligible for Canadian Citizenship. Moreover, the Government of Canada counts the time you lived in Canada as a temporary resident as half a day for up to 365 days to meet the three-year residency requirement. This means that Owners/Operators could become eligible for Canadian Citizenship faster if they lived in Canada for two or more years in the status of the temporary resident.

The Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway is a great alternative for foreign entrepreneurs who cannot immigrate through other economic immigration programs or who don’t want to wait a long time before being able to relocate to Canada. If you have sufficient financial resources to purchase or establish a business in Canada, we can help you to obtain Canadian permanent residence!

Why Should Foreign Entrepreneurs Work with Immigration Canada PRO?

Our team members have over six years of experience dealing with Employment and Social Development Canada in the Labour Market Impact Assessment applications and with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in the Temporary and Permanent Residence applications. Several hundreds of foreign nationals have successfully immigrated to Canada with our help.

If you still have questions regarding the Owner/Operator Immigration Pathway or would like to assess your chances to move to Canada, please contact us!

Disclaimer: All decisions on your application are made solely by the Government of Canada and Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada in particular. The immigration consultant cannot guarantee a positive decision. The immigration consultant can only maximize your chances for a positive decision by properly preparing your application.

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