Last Updated on February 18, 2021

Canada immigration authorities are moving to abolish the special Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) processing reserved for candidates in the owner/operator category.

As of April 1, 2021, owner/operator candidates will be assessment on the same basis as other TFWP applicants.

Currently, candidates in the category are exempt from the advertising and recruitment requirements for obtaining a positive Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

But this exemption is being removed “as part of regular policy reviews to ensure the TFWP continues to work within its intended purpose, and is only used by employers to fill a position when qualified Canadians or permanent residents are not available,” says Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

Owner operators are candidates who qualify for a work permit by buying a business and moving to Canada. They must have controlling interest in the business by being the sole proprietor or majority shareholder.

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Buy a Business and Move to Canada Immigration Program
How to Buy a Business and Move to Canada

Buy a Business and Move to Canada 

Who Qualifies?

  1. A foreign investor with verifiable, transferable management experience.
  2. Sufficient assets to purchase, or start the targeted business in Canada.
  3. Sufficient language abilities in either English or French to actively work as a manager in the business.

What is the process?

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

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. This processing time may be affected by COVID-19.

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

There is no minimum wait time.  Qualified candidates may apply for permanent residence with their families, soon after they arrive in Canada.

Is this a formal government program?

No.  The above process relies on the rules governing owner-operator policies, and other immigration programs to achieve the above described outcome.

Who is an ideal candidate for a “buy business and work in Canada visa”?

Opportunities under formal investment-based immigration programs are very limited in Canada.  Most provincial investment-based residence immigration programs operate by an invitation to apply scheme.  That overall process takes 12-36 months and often longer to conclude.

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.  This is far more advantageous than trying to meet provincial immigration programs.

How can help?

Through our established network of licensed professionals, we can help introduce foreign investor entrepreneurs to buy suitable businesses for sale in Canada.  Once a suitable business for sale is identified, we rely on our 60+-years of legal experience, recognized in the Canadian legal community, to complete the required immigration formalities.

Complete our online assessment form and receive more details.

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