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.

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