Author: Andrea Neira
Last Updated On: November 24, 2022

IMP C11 – a work permit for entrepreneurs and self-employed people

IRCC has updated the criteria for IMP C11. Please visit the updated article instead of the current page.

On April 1, 2021, the Canadian government marked the practically end date of the owner/operator LMIA. Of course, a business can still request an LMIA; however, applicants must go through the normal process of a high-wage or low-wage application. For most applicants, this is an impossible option.

In this article, we will explore what the owner/operator LMIA was and what the alternatives are.

What was the owner/operator LMIA?

The owner/operator LMIA was an opportunity for entrepreneurs to work and immigrate to Canada. You could purchase an existing business in Canada or establish a new one. Then you could hire yourself as a senior manager of the company. However, you had to go through the LMIA process.

Unlike a regular high-wage/low-wage LMIA, you did not post job ads. By receiving a positive LMIA, you could obtain a work permit in Canada. Moreover, you could receive up to 200 CRS points for Express Entry. The end of owner/operator LMIA means those applicants are off the table.

An alternative for entrepreneurs: IMP C11

According to our CEO and RCICAl Parsai, the closest alternative to the owner/operator LMIA is IMP C11. Of course, in the latter, you may apply for a work permit without an LMIA. The following table briefly compares these two options.

RequirementsOwner/OperatorIMP C11
Business ownership in CanadaYesYes
Senior management or business experience outside CanadaYesYes
Work permit applicationYou need a positive or neutral LMIA letter first.No need for an LMIA
Job creation in CanadaYesYes
CRS points because of the job offer from your own companyYes, immediatelyYes, but only after one year of working in Canada

What is IMP C11?

Canada’s International Mobility Program (IMP) is a way for Canadian employers to hire international temporary workers where Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) doesn’t affect the work permit requests from immigrants. This IMP program has an LMIA exemption code C11, which lets entrepreneurs and self-employed individuals apply for a work permit that does not require LMIA.

<<Read: Parsai Immigration leads the way in IMP C11 applications>>

Two-Stage Immigration for Entrepreneurs under IMP C11

If you have a business mind and enough expertise, you could immigrate to Canada with the help of IMP C11 in two stages.

Stage 1 – Work Permit under the IMP C11

The International Mobility Program (IMP) paves the way to apply for a Work Permit without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The LMIA process is tedious and prone to refusal. Consequently, about two-thirds of those who receive Canadian work permits use one of the IMP programs (e.g. the Mobility Francophone, etc.). One of the IMP options is the LMIA exemption code C11. This code is for entrepreneurs or self-employed people who meet the following requirements*:

  • They have the skills and background to establish a successful business in Canada or purchase an existing one and turn it into a successful business.
  • They own at least 50% of the business they establish or purchase in Canada.
  • Their activities in Canada creates significant cultural, social, or economic benefits to our country (e.g. contributes to remote areas, creates jobs for Canadians, exports Canadian goods to other countries, contributes to technological development, shows to be innovative in nature, helps Canadians to hone their skills, etc.)
  • They present a business plan that is meaningful and viable.
  • They have taken steps to make their plans happen before entering Canada (e.g. they have established the business, secured enough financial resources for the business, contacted parallel businesses in Canada, and signed agreements with Canadian suppliers, etc.)

This work permit is limited to one applicant as the applicant needs to hold the business’s controlling shares. If you want to know more about this option, read the following articles:

Stage 2 – Applying for Permanent Residence after IMP C11

IMP C11 work permit does not result in permanent residency by default. In fact, dual intention for permanent residency is currently limited to the following immigration options:

  • Immigration to Canadian provinces as a business person or entrepreneur (PNP programs)
  • Immigration to Quebec as a self-employed person

Despite limitations on dual intent, an applicant who moves to Canada under this program and works for at least one year could apply under the Federal Skilled Worker program category through the Express Entry system. To apply for permanent residency, you need to meet the following criteria:

  • Actively manage your business in Canada for at least 12 consecutive months with a valid work permit. This option is important as you will receive up to 200 CRS points (conditions apply – subject to change in the future)
  • Meet the minimum requirements for the Federal Skilled Worker Program
  • Enter the Express Entry pool and receive an Invitation to Apply (ITA) from IRCC

I must emphasize that your intention, in the beginning, needs to be the Work Permit alone. If you decide to immigrate to Canada after a year of work experience, you may consider stage 2.

* Resource: IRCC Operational Instructions: International Mobility Program: Canadian interests – Significant benefit – Entrepreneurs/self-employed candidates seeking to operate a business [R205(a) – C11]
* This article was written by Al Parsai and Edited by Andrea.

Let us help!

If you would like to apply for the IMP C11 work permit, submit the following form. However, you may alternatively book a consultation session or fill out our assessment form. If you are filling out the following form, make sure to be as thorough as possible.

    How many years of work experience do you have as a business owner or senior manager in the past five years?

    The highest level of education

    How much do you intent to invest (in Canadian dollars):

    Do you have access to liquid assets for this investment?

    Your knowledge of the English language:

    Your knowledge of the French language:

    Have you ever travelled to Canada?

    Are you currently inside Canada?

    Please share more information to help us better assess you:

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    If you wish to visit or move to Canada, please fill out our free assessment form. We will review it for free, but we will contact you only if we find an opportunity for you. Alternatively, you may book a consultation session. Consultation sessions are not free, but you will receive formal advice from a licenced practitioner.

    Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
    Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
    Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
    Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

    Fill our Free Canada Immigration Assessment Form in your language!

    This article provides information of a general nature only. Considering the fluid nature of the immigration world, it may no longer be current. Of course, the item does not give legal advice. Therefore, do not rely on it as legal advice or immigration advice. Consequently, no one could hold us accountable for the content of these articles. Of course, if you have specific legal questions, you must consult a lawyer. Alternatively, if you are looking for immigration advice, book an appointment.

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    Andrea Neira