We are often contacted by client’s who are interested in purchasing a business in Canada and would like to know their best options for obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) or LMIA exempt work permit.
Generally, a Canadian employer needs to conduct a genuine job search to find a local Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident to fill the job, and if the employer cannot locate a qualified person, then they can apply to Service Canada for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (“LMIA”). In other words, the LMIA is a detailed application process in which the employer demonstrates her/his attempts to hire locally and asks the Government for approval to hire a foreign national.
Service Canada (a division of ESDC), requires the employer to advertise the job for a minimum of four weeks using a variety of methods such as online and newspaper advertisements. However, there are exceptions to this rule, and the “owner/operator” is one.
A Canadian employer is exempt from advertising for the LMIA if the foreign national can demonstrate:
“that he is integral to the day-to-day operation of the business and will be actively involved in business processes/service delivery in Canada. In such instances, greater consideration should be given to demonstration by the applicant (owner/operator) that such temporary entry will result in the creation or retention of employment opportunities for Canadians and permanent residents and/or skills transfer to Canadians and permanent residents.”
It is important to determine what percentage of ownership of the Canadian company the foreign national does or will own.
Majority ownership in a Canadian company (50% or more) – the person may qualify for a “significant benefit” work permit. NO LMIA is required.
Minority ownership in a Canadian company (less than 50%) – the person may qualify for an LMIA-based work permit. No advertising would be required, and the foreign national would need to demonstrate that an employer-employee relationship exists, even though they own a part of the business.
CIC does not want to see a transfer of minority shares for the purpose of a work permit, so the foreign national’s investment into the Canadian business must be real/genuine. In order to learn more about LMIA exempt work permit/owner-operator work permits, please schedule a consultation.