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Intra-Company Transfer Canada [2024] Expand Your Business

Canada ICT

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The Canadian immigration system offers various avenues for business immigration, with the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) program being particularly beneficial for foreign business owners aiming to expand into Canada. Below, you’ll find comprehensive details on the ICT program, covering its requirements, advantages, application process, and pathways to permanent residency.

Understanding Intra-Company Transfer (ICT):

The ICT program falls under the International Mobility Program, enabling eligible foreign business owners to transfer their operations to Canada and obtain a work permit. Through this program, participants can secure an ICT Work Permit, with the potential for eventual permanent residency (PR). Typically, the principal applicant’s spouse and children also gain privileges such as open work permits and study permits.

Who Can Apply for the ICT Program?

The ICT program targets established companies worldwide seeking expansion in Canada. Three categories of individuals stand to benefit:

  1. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and shareholders currently in executive positions within their company, intending to continue similar roles in Canada.
  2. Senior and functional managers currently employed in a foreign company, planning to assume similar roles in Canada.
  3. Key employees possessing advanced specialized knowledge, which is unique or uncommon.

Applicants must meet the additional requirements outlined below to secure a work permit under the ICT program.

ICT Canada Requirements:

Entrepreneurs seeking to expand their businesses into Canada must fulfill specific prerequisites, including:

  • The home company must have operated for at least 12 months (preferably 3 years) before expansion.
  • Financial stability of the home company to support Canadian operations.
  • The applicant must have worked with the home company for at least 12 months in the past three years.
  • Relationship between the home company and the Canadian entity as parent, subsidiary, or affiliate.
  • Assurance of viable Canadian operations leading to job creation.

For initial expansions into Canada, companies must demonstrate a solid business plan and rationale for expansion, in addition to meeting basic eligibility criteria.

Investment for Initial Expansion:

While no specific minimum investment is mandated by the Canadian government, companies must showcase financial stability and sufficient capital to support Canadian operations and local hiring. Typically, companies should demonstrate gross sales exceeding $250,000 annually and access to liquid funds of at least $100,000 to cover initial operational costs.

How to Apply for an ICT Work Permit?

Applicants must confirm eligibility, devise a compelling strategy, gather strong evidence, and prepare a thorough application. For first-time ICT applicants, the process involves:

  1. Registering the company in Canada.
  2. Developing a comprehensive business plan.
  3. Collecting necessary documents.
  4. Submitting the work permit application.

Processing times vary based on nationality, with some countries benefiting from expedited processes or port-of-entry applications for visa-exempt nationals.

ICT Work Permit Duration:

Work permits typically span 1-2 years, with exceptions for start-up companies or nationals from visa-exempt countries who may receive longer permits. Renewals are possible, extending up to 5 years for specialized knowledge workers and 7 years for executives and managers.

Transition to Permanent Residency:

After a year of full-time employment with the Canadian company, individuals may qualify for PR through the Express Entry program, potentially receiving additional points for arranged employment. This transition can significantly enhance Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) scores, increasing the chances of PR selection.

ICT Canada and International Free Trade Agreements:

Certain countries enjoy special benefits under international agreements with Canada, facilitating streamlined processes for ICT applications. Nationals from these countries can utilize treaty regulations for ICT applications, enhancing their immigration journey to Canada.

Frequently Asked Question

Q: What is the validity period for the initial Intra-Company Transferee work permit, and can it be renewed before expiration?

A: Typically, the initial work permit granted under the Canada ICT program is for 1 year. In certain cases, the IRCC may extend this to 2 years if the Canadian entity is a subsidiary of a foreign company. Renewals are possible for up to 7 years, provided all program requirements are met.

Q: Are business plan targets binding, and what if my company fails to meet them?

A: Business plans are not legally binding. While it’s ideal to strive for plan goals, failure to meet them won’t hold you accountable. Plans serve to demonstrate feasibility and market understanding but aren’t mandatory for all applications.

Q: Can I work for another company while holding an ICT work permit in Canada?

A: No, the work permit restricts you to working for your Canadian employer. However, your company can engage in business activities within and outside Canada.

Q: What if my Canadian company isn’t profitable in the first year?

A: Profitability isn’t a legal requirement initially. Active engagement in business activities and employing at least one Canadian citizen or PR are necessary.

Q: Is there a minimum stay requirement for ICT work permit holders in Canada?

A: No, managerial and senior executive staff can maintain their principal residence outside Canada. Other key personnel must relocate.

Q: Must intra-company transferees be paid Canadian wages?

A: While wages from the home company are acceptable, aligning salaries with Canadian standards is advisable but not mandatory.

Q: Are language test results required for ICT work permits?

A: Business owners typically don’t need language test results. Key personnel may require them to prove suitability for the position.

Q: How long does it take to obtain an ICT work permit?

A: Processing times vary but typically range from 1-2 months. Due to COVID-19, it may take longer.

Q: Will I be reimbursed if my ICT work permit application is rejected?

A: Refunds may be possible in certain cases, subject to the terms of the retainer agreement.

Q: Can my family join me in Canada on an ICT work permit?

A: Yes, spouses are eligible for open work permits, and children can attend public schools. Health care benefits are also available.

Q: Is an ICT an open work permit?

A: No, it’s specific to the employer mentioned on the permit, barring entry into the Canadian labor market without an LMIA.

Q: Is the Canada ICT Visa location specific?

A: Work must be conducted for the specified employer and location indicated during the application.

Q: How can I transition from ICT to PR in Canada?

A: Commonly, transitioning to permanent residency involves applying through the Express Entry program after 12 months of employment in Canada. Additional strategies may apply based on individual circumstances.


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