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Intra Company Transfer(ICT)

The International Mobility Program (IMP) allows international companies to temporarily transfer high-skilled workers to their Canadian branches, subsidiaries, or affiliates as Intra-Company Transferees (ICTs). This program aims to enhance management, expand Canadian exports, and boost competitiveness on global markets. ICTs must obtain work permits but are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under paragraph R205(a) (exemption code C12), recognizing their contribution to Canada’s economy through expertise transfer. This exemption applies universally, including under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). Additionally, LMIA exemption code T24 under paragraph R204(a) applies to ICTs from countries with a free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada, like NAFTA (and similar FTAs). The IMP exempts employers from acquiring an LMIA, facilitating the transfer of significant business expertise to Canada from various countries.

Intra-Company transfer categories

There are three main job categories: Executive, Senior Manager, and Specialized Knowledge Worker.

Executives

  • Lead the company or a major part of it.
  • Set goals and policies.
  • Make important decisions with minimal supervision.
  • Report to top-level executives, the board, or shareholders.
  • Typically, they’re high up in the company hierarchy, like Vice Presidents.


Senior Managers

  • Manage a department or a section of the company.
  • Oversee the work of other managers, professionals, or key functions.
  • Have the power to hire and fire or make significant personnel decisions.
  • Operate with a good deal of freedom in their daily operations.

Both executives and managers are responsible for guiding and controlling a business or its parts. They might implement policies or, at higher levels, even create strategies that shape the business’s direction.

Specialized Knowledge

Specialized knowledge is defined as having advanced and unique knowledge of the company’s products, services, or processes that is not commonly known or readily transferable. This knowledge must be specific to the company and crucial to the Canadian branch’s operations, distinguishing it from general industry knowledge.

Documentary Evidence for Specialized Knowledge: The documents should include a detailed resume, reference letters, support letters from their current employers, and detailed job descriptions. Documentation should emphasize the applicant’s extensive and current experience within the company, emphasizing the impact of their specialized knowledge on the company’s productivity.

Salary Compliance for Specialized Knowledge Workers: Applicants must be compensated for their specialized skills. A salary is determined using the prevailing wage in an applicant’s region of work in Canada, according to the “Working in Canada” website from Employment and Social Development Canada. Non-monetary benefits such as accommodation and transportation are excluded from this salary calculation.

Training and Knowledge Transfer: Due to the specialized nature of the knowledge, workers typically do not need significant training in their field of expertise at the Canadian host company. Specialized knowledge is not commonly available in the Canadian labor market. Knowledge specialization is not determined by the length of the job offer in Canada.

Exceptions Under International Agreements: International agreements, like CUSMA, have specific exceptions to these rules. While a mandatory wage policy may not be strictly required for applicants under such agreements, the offered wage remains a critical indicator of specialized knowledge. This wage is a significant factor in immigration officers’ overall assessment.

General Requirements for Intra-Company Transfer

Employees working for multinational companies can apply for a work permit in Canada under certain conditions. 

Employment with a Multinational Company: You should be working for a multinational company and plan to work at its parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate in Canada.

Qualifying Relationship Between Companies: The company in Canada where you plan to work must have a legitimate relationship with your current employer.

Role in the Company: You should transfer to a position as an executive, senior manager, or in a role requiring specialized knowledge.

Continuous Employment: You must have worked for at least one year in the past three years in a full-time role (not part-time) for the company that’s transferring you. This is required for the initial application. The time spent outside Canada during the duration of the work permit can be “recaptured” to provide five or seven full years of physical presence in Canada. If you haven’t worked full-time for a foreign company, immigration officers will consider other factors before deciding. These include:

 

  • Your work experience duration with a foreign company.
  • How similar your current and previous positions are.
  • Whether your previous role was part-time, and how many days a week you worked.

Temporary Stay and Immigration Compliance: Your stay in Canada should be temporary, and you must meet all immigration rules for temporary visits.

Assessment guidelines for start-ups

Office Space for the Company: Normally, the company should have a physical office in Canada, especially for employees with specialized knowledge. But for senior managers or executives, it’s okay if the company hasn’t yet secured a physical location. They can temporarily use an address provided by their legal counsel until they find a permanent space.

Staffing Plans: The company should have clear and realistic plans for hiring staff for its Canadian operations.

Financial Stability: The company must have enough funds to start operations in Canada and pay its employees.

Size of the Company for Executives or Managers: If the company is transferring executives or managers, it should be large enough to need these roles.

Requirements for Specialized Knowledge Workers: For specialized knowledge workers, the company should:

  • Be expected to actively conduct business.
  • Ensure that the specialized knowledge worker’s tasks are overseen and directed by the management team in Canada.

Documentation Requirements

Office Space for the Company: Normally, the company should have a physical office in Canada, especially for employees with specialized knowledge. But for senior managers or executives, it’s okay if the company hasn’t yet secured a physical location. They can temporarily use an address provided by their legal counsel until they find a permanent space.

Staffing Plans: The company should have clear and realistic plans for hiring staff for its Canadian operations.

Financial Stability: The company must have enough funds to start operations in Canada and pay its employees.

Size of the Company for Executives or Managers: If the company is transferring executives or managers, it should be large enough to need these roles.

Requirements for Specialized Knowledge Workers: For specialized knowledge workers, the company should:

  • Be expected to actively conduct business.
  • Ensure that the specialized knowledge worker’s tasks are overseen and directed by the management team in Canada.

Work Permit Duration

Initial Work Permit: Typically, valid for 1 year.

Extended Work Permit: Up to 2 years if working for a Canadian subsidiary of a foreign company.

Renewals: Possible for 2-3 years at a time, up to a total of 7 years, if conditions are met:

  • The company has a Canadian office.
  • Employs at least one Canadian resident or citizen.
  • Active business in Canada and in the home country.

Processing Time

Standard Processing: 2 to 10 weeks.

Priority Processing: Available for visa-exempt countries, visa issued within 2 weeks (excluding biometric processing).

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)about the Intra-Company Transfer/Transferee

Yes! ICT may qualify for permanent residency through the Express Entry or Provincial Nominee Program.

No! You can not work for any other employer while holding an ICT work permit since it is a closed work permit. However, depending on the nature of your business, your company in Canada can sell goods/services to its clients in Canada and beyond.

Business owners are generally not required to provide any proof of language skills. However, if they wish to transfer key personnel to Canada under this program, such employees may be required to provide English or French language test results to prove their suitability for the position in Canada.

Yes! Business owners and key employees may bring their families to Canada during their employment period in Canada under the ICT program. Spouses are eligible for an open work permit and children can attend public schools in Canada for free. The applicant and his/her family can also access the free health care.

Managerial and senior executive staff may remain on the payroll of the home company and receive their wages from their home company. However, if they wish to receive their salary in Canada, it is recommended that the salary meet the Canadian median wage standards based on the position they hold. 

There is no legal requirement to be profitable. However, your company must be actively engaged in business, which means it must be offering services/goods to its customers in Canada or abroad. Also, your company must have a physical location (office or warehouse) and employ at least one Canadian employee (Canadian Citizen or Permanent Resident).

A business plan is not a binding agreement and business owners will not be liable if they are unable to meet targets set out in the original business plan. A business plan is a document that demonstrates that feasibility research has been completed before expansion to Canada and which supports the seriousness of the intentions of a foreign company expanding to Canada. It is not mandatory to submit a business plan with your application for an ICT work permit.