Owners are not required to recruit Canadians/permanent residents for the position they would hire themselves (LMIA Variation). However, assessing the impact of a business owner’s employment on the Canadian labour market [LMIA] and the job offer’s genuineness is still required. Program officers and visa officers have broader discretion when processing Owner-Operator LMIA applications and work permits. Mainly, these applications are subject to significant scrutiny from the business perspective, for which the requirements are not set. From practice, we know that the program worked in both startup and purchase of operating business scenarios.
Quite the opposite, provincial nomination business programs (Business PNPs) have set requirements for the business and its owner, which, however, not all can meet. It is fair to say that the Owner-Operator Program filled that gap for entrepreneurs who do not meet provincial net worth, investment, or other requirements, or was looking for faster business immigration to Canada option.
Given the high unemployment rates, a certain level of uncertainty due to the “vague” requirements and the associated with that potential abuse of this program, ESDC proposed changes to the Owner/Operator LMIA Program.