One of the several Canada LMIA-exempt work permit programs is the intra-company transfer program. Learn more about transferring to Canada through a foreign business entity below.

Canada offers foreign citizens seeking to work in this country different ways to obtain a work permit.

One of the programs that Canada has is called the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program.

This program is for people who, as the name of the program suggests, are temporarily transferred to work at the Canadian branch, parent company, subsidiary or affiliate of their foreign employer.

Fundamentals of the ICT program

Some basic requirements that foreigners wishing to obtain a work permit through this program must take into account are:

  • Work permits in this program are exempt from needing a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
  • The nature of the applicant’s work in Canada must be considered “managerial, executive or involving specialized knowledge” for the person to be eligible in this category.

With respect to the final bullet point in the list above, Canada defines jobs that are “managerial, executive, or involving specialized knowledge” as follows.
Management positions are divided into two subgenres: Senior and Functional

  • Senior Managers: “Employees who manage all or part of the company and supervise/control the work of other managers or professional employees”
  • Functional Managers: Employees who manage a particular function that is essential to achieving company goals, but do not necessarily manage employees

Executive positions are defined as those in which an employee’s responsibilities consist primarily of directing the management of an entire company or a significant part of it.

Employees in a position involving specialized knowledge have “advanced level knowledge of specialization and proprietary knowledge of the company’s products, services, processes and procedures”

ICT Eligibility Criteria

The following subheadings will now break down the different sets of eligibility criteria that exist within the TIC program.

ICT Eligibility for Female Employees

To come to Canada as an intra-company transfer, employees must:

  • Be presently employed at a foreign multi-national company (MNC) looking to transfer foreign employees to Canada
  • Be transferred to a company that has a qualifying relationship with the company in which they are currently employed
  • Be working in a legitimate and continuous establishment of the company in Canada
  • Meet all Canadian immigration requirements for temporary entry
  • Have continuously worked full-time for a minimum of one year (out of the last three) in a comparable position to the one they will be occupying in Canada

There are some exceptions in relation to the last item in the list above. Those exceptions include:

  • If the employee worked part-time rather than full-time for the foreign multinational company, IRCC may consider other factors such as the number of years of work experience with the foreign company, the similarity of the position to Canada, the scope of the position to be part-time, and if there are indications that the company is seeking to abuse the purpose of the ICT work permit
  • If there is a recent corporate acquisition or merger related to the foreign multinational company, the employee is not required to have worked for the company for one year, provided the employee has worked for one of the affiliates for at least one year in the previous three . years. The successor entity must demonstrate that it has assumed the interests, obligations, assets and liabilities of the original company and continues to operate the same type of business as the original company.

ICT eligibility for companies

The eligibility criteria for a standard company transferring employees to Canada as part of the ICT program are as follows.

  • The foreign multinational company applying for a work permit through the TIC program must have a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate relationship with a Canadian organization.
  • The business receiving the foreign employee must be operational in Canada rather than simply have a physical location in Canada.
  • The Canadian company and the foreign multinational must be currently doing business.
  • Note: “Doing business” is defined as providing goods and services to each other on an ongoing basis.

ICT eligibility for start-ups

Beyond the standard business eligibility criteria, the ICT program has different conditions for foreign companies looking to bring critical employees into the country in order to establish a new business in Canada.

Successful ICT start-up applicants receive a one-year temporary work permit. These permits can be renewed if the business maintains a qualifying relationship with a Canadian entity and continues to actively do business within the country. New Canadian operations must also have been staffed.

ICT work permits for start-up companies are issued to companies that can demonstrate their ability to establish themselves in Canada. Demonstrating this ability involves:

  • Provide evidence that the business can financially support the initial costs of the operation, including the ability to compensate employees.
  • Prepare a business plan outlining staffing plans for the new operation and doing business in Canada
  • Provide evidence that a physical location has been secured (or that the business is in the process of securing physical space for the organization)
  • Show that the company will be large enough to support the functions of the executives and/or managers being transferred to Canada
  • Demonstrating that the company expects to do business and demonstrating that Canadian management will in fact direct the work that takes place within the country. Contact Us.

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