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Getting a Canadian work permit requires understanding the Intra-Company Transfer Program process.

The Intra-Company Transfer program is one of several LMIA-exempt work permit options offered by Canada. Continue reading to find out more about transferring to Canada via a foreign business entity.

Canada offers several options for foreign nationals wishing to apply for a work visa in order to work here.

The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program is one of the policies that Canada has in place.

This program is for people who, as the name of the program implies, have been temporarily transferred to work for their foreign employer’s Canadian subsidiary, parent business, or affiliate.

ICT program fundamentals

Foreign nationals wishing to use this program to apply for a work visa should be aware of the following fundamental prerequisites:

In this program, work permits are not required to undergo a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)

For a person to qualify under this category, their Canadian employment must be “managerial, executive, or involving specialist expertise.”

In relation to the last item on the list above, Canada provides the following definition of jobs that are “managerial, executive, or involving specialized expertise.”

There are two subgenres of managerial positions: seasoned and practical

Seasoned Managers: “Employees who oversee or control the activities of other managers or professional employees and manage all or a portion of the organization.”

Practical Managers: Workers who oversee a specific task that is crucial to attaining the company’s objectives but who do not necessarily supervise staff members

Executive positions are ones in which the primary duty of the employee is to direct the administration of either the entire company or a significant portion of it.

Employees who work in positions requiring specialized knowledge have a “proprietary understanding of the enterprise’s products, services, processes, and procedures” and “knowledge at an advanced degree of expertise.”

ICT eligibility requirements

The many groups of eligibility requirements for the ICT program are broken down in the subheadings that follow.

Employee eligibility for ICT

Employees who are being transferred inside the company must:

  • currently, work for a multinational corporation (MNC) that wants to transfer international workers to Canada.

  • be transferred to a business that has a qualifying connection to the one they presently work for

  • by taking a job at a company location that is active and reputable in Canada.

  • satisfy all immigration rules for temporary admission into Canada

  • and have continually had a full-time job for at least one year out of the last three in a role that is comparable to the one they will hold in Canada.

Regarding the last bullet point in the list above, there are some exceptions. These exclusions consist of:

  • If the employee worked part-time rather than full-time for the foreign MNC, IRCC may take other factors into account, such as the number of years of work experience with the foreign company, how similar the position is to one in Canada, how much time was spent working part-time, and whether there are any indications that the company is trying to abuse the ICT work permit’s intended purpose.

  • It is not necessary for an employee to have worked for the company for a year following a recent corporate purchase or merger if they have previously worked for one of the affiliates for at least a year during the previous three years. The successor firm must show that it has taken on the rights, obligations, assets, and liabilities of the original company and that it is still engaged in the same line of work.

Companies eligible for ICT

Following are the requirements for a typical business relocating staff to Canada under the ICT program.

  • The foreign MNC must have a parent business, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate relationship with a Canadian organization in order to be eligible for a work permit through the ICT program.

  • The company hiring foreign national employees must actually operate in Canada, not only have a physical presence there.

  • The foreign MNC and the Canadian enterprise must currently be conducting business.

Note: The definition of “doing business” is the regular exchange of products and services.

Start-Ups eligible for ICT

Beyond the requirements for ordinary businesses, the ICT program has different requirements for foreign businesses looking to relocate key personnel for the purpose of starting a new operation in Canada.

Successful ICT start-up applicants receive a temporary employment visa valid for one year. If the company continues to have a qualifying relationship with a Canadian entity and does active business in Canada, these licenses may be renewed. The new Canadian operations needed to be manned as well.

ICT work permits for new businesses are granted to those who can show they have what it takes to succeed in Canada. To demonstrate this ability, one must:

  • demonstrating the company’s ability to pay for the start-up costs of the business, including the capacity to pay workers

  • putting together a business plan that details hiring strategies for the new operation and conducting business in Canada

  • showing proof that an area has been secured physically (or the company is in the process of securing a physical space for the organization)

  • demonstrating that the business will be big enough to handle the responsibilities of the executives and/or managers it is relocating to Canada

  • demonstrating the company’s intention to conduct business and demonstrating that Canadian management will in fact be in charge of the work being done there

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