Intra Company Transfer
International Mobility Program (IMP) allows high-skilled foreign workers to temporarily work in Canada as an Intra-Company Transferee (ICT). If an international company has a location (branch, subsidiary, or affiliate) in Canada that company can transfer their employee to the Canadian location. Employers bringing international staff to Canada as intra-company transferees are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) as they provide significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of their expertise to Canadian businesses. Intra-company transferees may be from any country.
Intra-Company transfer categories
Under the Intra-Company transfer program, foreign workers must fall into one of three defined categories (executive, senior manager, and worker with specialized knowledge).
A position must meet some or all the following criteria to meet the definition of executives:
A position must meet some or all the following criteria to meet the definition of Senior Manager:
A position having “specialized knowledge” requires both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise.
Proprietary Knowledge: “company-specific expertise related to a company’s product or services. It implies that the company has not divulged specifications that would allow other companies to duplicate the product or service.”
Advanced Expertise: “specialized knowledge gained through significant (i.e., the longer the experience, the more likely the knowledge is indeed “specialized”) and recent (i.e., within the last 5 years) experience with the organization and used by the individual to contribute significantly to the employer’s productivity.”
Work Permit Duration
The initial work permit is usually granted for 1 year. In certain cases, the IRCC may issue a work permit for 2 years, provided that the company in Canada is a subsidiary of the established foreign company.
The work permit can be renewed several times (for 2-3 years at a time and up to 7 years in total) provided that all the requirements of the program are met (such as having an office in Canada, employing at least 1 staff member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen and active business in both Canada and the home country).
Average processing time for the Intra-Company Transfer is 2 to 10 weeks but there are priority processing options. Those who are qualified for the 2-week processing time will get the Intra-Company Transfer visa within 2 weeks. This priority processing option is for visa-exempt countries (biometrics processing is not included in these 2 weeks).
Can Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) transition to permanent residency?
Workers working under ICT program may qualify for permanent residency through the Express Entry system or Provincial Nominee Programs.
Am I allowed to work for another company/employer with an ICT?
No! You can not work for any other employer while holding an Intra-Company Transferees 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.
Do I need to give an English or French test for ICT work permit?
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.
Can my spouse & children join me in Canada if I get an Intra-Company Transfer work permit?
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.
Is there a requirement to pay intra-company transferees Canadian wages? Can I receive my salary from the home company?
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.
What happens if my Canadian company is not profitable in the first year?
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).
Do I have to meet the targets set in my business plan submitted to the IRCC as part of my ICT application package?
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.