Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) has recently clarified their policies regarding Owner/Operator LMIAs. Under the current updated policy, applicants must demonstrate a controlling interest in the business (e.g. being the business’s majority shareholder). Additionally, applicants must not be able to be dismissed from their employment as owner/operators. Previously, applicants needed to prove “active involvement” in a business’s processes or service delivery in Canada. This vague requirement could often, but not always, be satisfied by proving an applicant was the largest shareholder in a business with at least a 33% stake. Though ESDC’s recent policy change has established more onerous ownership requirements, it has provided much-needed clarity regarding exactly what applicants must establish to satisfy the requirements of this LMIA.

The owner/operator LMIA is an attractive option to applicants looking to enter Canada to actively control and manage a business, as these LMIAs are exempt from the lengthy and cumbersome advertising requirements that apply to most LMIAs. However, it is still necessary for all applicants to satisfy ESDC that their employment will benefit the Canadian labour market.

Our team of lawyers has extensive experience with all types of LMIAs, and can help ensure your application satisfies ESDC’s challenging and ever-changing requirements. To learn more about the LMIA process and working in Canada, please contact our office.

Borders Law firm


Excellent Firm..! Always helpful, friendly and honest with their work. My personal thanks to Devika and Yana for providing excellent service. I highly recommend them for any kind of Visa application.

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The team at Borders - specifically Devika and Jenny - were an extraordinary support in navigating the Permanent Residency process. They were responsive and easily available, and incredibly detailed and thorough in their work. I strongly recommend them for anyone navigating the immigration process, and feel so grateful for their expertise and kindness that made a tricky process feel smooth.

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I and my family want to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to Devika, John and the team at Borders Law firm for assisting us with the PRTD application at a time when most processing was closed due to lockdowns. They also worked proactively with us to establish a good strategy with back up plans which gave us sufficient information and assurance. Very responsive and forthcoming with information. Proactive in processing but at the same time they put enough time in the application and the supporting details to have high quality of the application. As a result our application was processed in 1 go at a time when it was critical and sensitive time for the family. Thank you again.

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