What is Intra Company Transfer?
ICT is an immigration pathway under the International Mobility Program that allows qualified foreign business owners to transfer their businesses to Canada and acquire a work permit. Through the ICT pathway, you will be able to secure an ICT Work Permit and eventually permanent residence (PR). In most cases, the principal applicant’s spouse and children will gain an open work permit and study permit, respectively.
Who Can Apply for ICT Program?
The intra-company transfer program is designed to attract established companies from all around the world to expand their operations to Canada. There are 3 categories of individuals who may benefit from this program:
- Business owners, entrepreneurs, and shareholders of successful companies who are currently holding executive positions in that company and who intend to do similar work in Canada.
- Senior managers and functional managers who are currently working in a foreign company and intend to occupy a similar position in Canada.
- Key employees of a business who have advanced specialized knowledge that is unique or uncommon.
Individuals who occupy one of the positions above must also meet several additional requirements as described below in order to secure a work permit under the ICT program.
Intra Company Transfer Canada Requirements
Entrepreneurs who own successful businesses in their home countries can apply for the ICT WP to expand their business to Canada. There are several additional requirements that entrepreneurs must meet in order to secure a work permit under the ICT program, including the following:
- The home company must be operational for at least 12 months (but ideally for at least 3 years) before expansion to Canada;
- The home company must be financially sound and capable of supporting foreign operations in Canada;
- The applicant seeking an ICT WP must be working/engaged with the home company for at least 12 months in the past three years prior to the immigration application;
- The home company must be related to the company in Canada as a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate company; and
- Canadian operations will be a viable enterprise and result in job creation for Canadians.
If it is an initial expansion to Canada of a foreign company, then immigration officers will also check to confirm the following:
- Is there a sound business plan that demonstrates that Canadian operations will be a viable enterprise and can generate sufficient revenue to cover its costs and compensate its employees?
- Will this expansion result in job creation for Canadians?
- Will the company be large enough to require an executive or a manager in Canada?
Thus, if it is the first ICT application in Canada, companies are required to establish that expansion to Canada makes business sense for the company and that the newly established operations in Canada are likely to succeed and become large enough to hire local staff. Therefore, for companies expanding to Canada for the first time, it is critical to present a solid business case and explain the rationale for expansion in addition to meeting basic eligibility criteria for the ICT applications.
Investment Amount for the Initial Expansion of your Business to Canada
The Canadian government does not set any minimum investment amounts for companies expanding to Canada. However, the companies must be financially sound and have the required capital to support their new operations in Canada and hire local talent.
Therefore, in our experience, companies must be able to demonstrate solid gross sales exceeding $250,000 per year and access to liquid funds in the amount of at least $100,000 to cover the first year’s operational costs. In addition to the initial investment capital, applicants should demonstrate that they have access to additional funds or assets to support the business in Canada if it does not reach self-sufficiency by the end of year 1.
ICT Work Permit Duration
ICT work permits are usually issued for 1 – 2 years. If they are employed by a start-up company, then the WP will only be valid for 1 year. Some nationals from the visa-exempt countries benefit from a 3-year WP. The WP can be renewed for additional 2 – 3 years for a total of up to 5 years for specialized knowledge workers and 7 years for executives & managers.
However, immigration officers may issue work permits for only 1 year to individuals who will be employed by newly established companies in Canada. US nationals and other citizens from the visa-exempt countries (like Australia, UK, EU, Japan etc.) may benefit from Free Trade Agreements their countries have with Canada and obtain a 3-year ICT work permit.
Under the program, it is possible to obtain a WP through a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption (C12). However, in some cases, LMIA will be required.
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