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Buy and Run your own business in Canada by gaining temporary work permit

Option available for people with business experience or senior management who can invest and start a business in Canada.

For these foreign investors, the pathway to Canada is divided in two stages, beginning with a temporary work permit under the federal owner-operator rules.

Under this policy the foreign investor can receive a work permit following the sale and transfer to the foreign national, of the majority share ownership of an existing profitable Canadian business.

Once admitted on a work permit, candidates can at a later stage, apply for permanent residence to Canada under many immigration programs. This can include the Federal Skilled Worker Program, under the Express Entry system, or under a suitable provincial (PNP) business immigration stream.

What is the Owner-Operator LMIA?

The owner-operator policy is not a regular immigration program. Rather, it is a work permit issued under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP). This can be started with any investment. However, the business plan should be authentic and there should be clear intent and ability to run that business.

The latest rules governing new business owners under the TFW program is gaining considerable local and international attention to many foreign business entrepreneurs and investors.

Why is the Owner-Operator Program Attractive to Foreign Investors?

Current federal permanent immigration programs, although operational on paper, are not attracting interest from foreign investors.

Opportunities under federal investment-based immigration programs are unfortunately very limited in Canada.

Most provincial investment-based residence immigration programs operate under expression of interest scheme. Most candidates must begin with a temporary work permit and then apply for permanent admission once approved by the province. These programs operate under quotas and often require candidates to invest a lot of time and money.

This leaves a large pool of international investors seeking permanent admission to Canada to compete for a relatively small number of quota-based openings under Canada’s provincial business immigration programs.

A foreign investor-entrepreneur, motivated to live in a particular area of Canada, can purchase a suitable business and relocate to that area of choice before the permanent residence is granted. This is far more advantageous than trying to meet provincial immigration program requirements in areas of Canada that are not desirable.

Who is an ideal candidate?

To qualify as an owner-operator, the foreign investor must have:

  • Verifiable, transferable management experience.
  • Sufficient assets to purchase the targeted business in Canada.
  • Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.
  • Controlling interest in the business: own more than 50% of the shares and cannot be dismissed

Ownership of shares does not by itself guarantee that a foreign national qualifies as an owner-operator. The offer of employment must be made to a foreign investor that will be actively engaged in the management of the business. This will be assessed by reviewing the foreign national’s intention to operate the business as well as prior experience in managing or operating a business.

What is the process?

  • The foreign investor identifies a Canadian business to purchase.
  • A Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is submitted along with a suitable business plan.
  • Once a positive LMIA opinion is issued, the foreign investor applies for a 12-24 months, renewable temporary work permit at the management level.

How long does this process take?

Once a suitable business is found, it will take 2-3 months to complete the LMIA application process. It will take less than 3-months in most jurisdictions to receive a work permit.

When can the work permit holder apply for Canadian permanent residence?

There is no minimum wait time.

During the first year of working in Canada, the foreign investor along with immediate family members can apply for permanent residence if they qualify under a suitable program, either the federal Express Entry or a provincial nomination program. In most cases, the process can be completed in less than 12 months.

How StepWise Immigration be of help?


We can help you with identifying businesses to purchase. We help you form the corporation and start the buying of business process


Once you are ready, we help you get the work permit based on your intention to buy and run the business


Once you get the work permit, we help you get permanent residence based on eligibility criteria. Either through principal applicant or through the spouse

To know more about same, reach out to us for free assessment and free initial consultation. Complete business immigration information form and

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    "I am a businesswoman in India and during our visit to Canada, I realized that we are missing a lot while living our life in our home country. I liked the Country, People, and opportunities that Canada provides to newcomers. The business environment is awesome and its so easy to do business in Canada. We discussed our intent of doing business in Canada with team at Stepwise. They made it look so easy that we jumped into the proposition of investing in Canada. Today, we have successfully launched our Wine manufacturing business in British Columbia, and we are progressing towards our aim of getting permanent residence."

    Puneet Bagga

    (Owner Operator Program)