Intra Company Transfer
There’s no denying that Canadian immigration can be a lengthy and involved process. If you are a business owner interested in establishing yourself in Canada, you may be able to fast-track your Canadian immigration process through the Intra-Company Transferees Program (ICT).
In 2016, the Canadian Immigration Authorities made changes to the Express Entry system which allowed intra-company transferees to earn extra points towards their CRS score without requiring them to receive a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Ever since then, ICT has been an increasingly popular pathway to Canadian permanent residence for business owners and their employees.
Through ICT, entrepreneurs and select essential personnel can come to Canada in order to assist in the day-to-day operations of an existing Canadian division of the company, or to introduce their business to the Canadian market for the first time.
ICT provides business owners with the opportunity to fulfil their dreams of expanding their business within Canada, a pathway towards Canadian permanent residence and, eventually, citizenship.
About an ICT Program…
The intra-company transferee program facilitates people to work in Canada for a temporary period. This program is designed for Canadian Business Immigration, allowing multinational companies with a branch, parent company, affiliate or subsidiary in Canada to temporarily transfer foreign workers.
The intra-company category permits international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding Canadian exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets.
The entry of intra-company transferees is guided by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations and the general provisions of this section, and is supplemented by provisions contained in international trade agreements for citizens of signatory countries.
• Qualified intra-company transferees require work permits and are exempted from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) under paragraph R205(a) (exemption code C12) as they provide significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of their expertise to Canadian businesses. This applies to foreign nationals from any country, including under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).
• Paragraph R204(a) provides for LMIA exemption code T24 for qualified intra-company transferees who are citizens of a country that has signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with Canada, namely NAFTA (and similar FTAs), and supplements the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act general provisions.
Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under the general provision if they
• are currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;
• are transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company (where 18–24 months can be used as a reasonable minimum guideline);
• are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
• have been employed continuously (via payroll or by contract directly with the company), by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position (not accumulated part-time) for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application.
• are coming to Canada for a temporary period only;
• comply with all immigration requirements for temporary entry.
What Are The Advantages of Immigrating to Canada Through ICT?
Successful entrepreneurs are able to make use of their tried-and-true business model while gaining traction within the Canadian economy. This also serves to further enhance the reputation of their already existing business, while providing them with valuable experience in Canada.
This immigration pathway provides business owners with the freedom to choose where in Canada they would like to live. Unlike other immigration programs such as Canada’s Provincial Nominee Programs, for example, ICT does not require eligible candidates to be bound to a specific location. Business owners are free to establish themselves wherever they feel is most viable for themselves and the success of their enterprise.
Intra-company transferees may also bring their families with them to Canada. They will be granted access to Canada’s renowned medicare system, as well as free schooling for children, and subsidized tuition for post-secondary education.
What Are the Requirements of Canada’s ICT program?
Employees that qualify as intra-company transferees provide significant economic benefit to Canada by bringing their skills to the labour market. The ICT program does not require employers to get a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA), however a Canadian work permit is still required. Qualified intra-company transferees are eligible for a one-year work permit for newly established affiliates / subsidiaries of overseas companies and up to 3 years for existing Canadian businesses, after which they may apply to have their permits renewed.
These employees must be in an executive or senior managerial position, or otherwise have specialized knowledge that is essential to the operations of the company. They must already have been employed by the company’s overseas subsidiary for a minimum of one year within the past 3 years.
The company must also secure a physical location to house the business, such as an office or warehouse. A business plan is required to demonstrate that the business is financially viable and has the ability to contribute to and compete within the Canadian marketplace.
How ICT Can Provide a Pathway to Canadian Permanent Residency and Citizenship
After a year of successful operations in Canada, business owners within the executive category will be granted approximately 250 additional points (200 points for arranged employment + additional points for transferable skills factors) toward their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, effectively moving them to the top tier of candidates within the Express Entry pool. These candidates are virtually guaranteed to receive an invitation to apply for Canadian permanent residence.
Permanent residents who have lived in Canada for at least three years are eligible to submit an application for Canadian citizenship. This requires meeting the physical residency obligations, demonstrating proficiency in one of the official Canadian languages (English or French), and passing a citizenship test demonstrating a keen knowledge of all things relating to life in Canada, including a citizen’s rights and responsibilities.
If you are a business owner who is interested in immigrating to Canada, leveraging your successful business may be the best way to do so. By expanding your business operations in Canada, you can establish yourself and your business on an international scale, gain valuable experience within the Canadian market, all while working toward the ultimate goal of obtaining Canadian citizenship for you and your family.
Requirements for the company
• Generally, the company must secure physical premises to house the Canadian operation, particularly in the case of specialized knowledge. However, in specific cases involving senior managers or executives, it would be acceptable that the address of the new start-up not yet be secured; for example, the company may use its counsel’s address until the executive can purchase or lease a premise.
• The company must furnish realistic plans to staff the new operation.
• The company must have the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.
• When transferring executives or managers, the company must
o demonstrate that it will be large enough to support executive or management function.
• When transferring a specialized knowledge worker, the company must
o demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business;
o ensure that work is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation.
Duration of work permits
• Initial work permit: one year
• For renewals, evidence should be provided that
o the Canadian and foreign companies still have a qualifying relationship;
o the new office has engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year;
o the new office has been staffed.
The following documentation is required:
• confirmation that the foreign national is currently employed by an international enterprise outside Canada, and seeking entry to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of that enterprise in Canada;
• confirmation that the foreign national has been employed (via payroll or by contract) continuously (full-time, not accumulated part-time) by the enterprise outside Canada, in a similar full-time position, for at least one year within the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application;
• outline of the applicant’s position in an executive or managerial capacity or one involving specialized knowledge (i.e., position, title, place in the organization, job description);
• in the case of “specialized knowledge”, evidence that the person has such knowledge and that the position in Canada requires such knowledge;
• outline of the position in Canada (namely, position, title, place in the organization, job description);
• indication of intended duration of stay; and
• description of the relationship between the enterprise in Canada and the enterprise in the foreign country (the officer may request tangible proof to establish the relationship between the Canadian and foreign organization wishing to make the transfer).
For more information about the program, you are requested to take an appointment with ICCRC approved Immigration Consultant.