Multinational companies can send key staff to work in Canada through Intra-Company Transfer work permits.

If your company has a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in Canada, you can send key personnel to the Canadian location through an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT).

ICT work permits are initially valid for one year and may be eligible for renewal. If the worker qualifies, employers are exempt from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) requirement.

Both the company and the transferee must meet certain qualifications to be eligible for the ICT.

Company requirements for ICT

In order for a company to be qualified for an ICT, it needs to be operating in Canada. It is not enough to just have a physical presence. The Canadian and foreign locations must be providing goods and services on an ongoing basis.

There may be some flexibility allowed for start-ups. In specific cases involving the transfer of senior managers or executives, Canada may accept that the address of the new start-up is not yet secured. The company may use its lawyer’s Canadian address until the executive can purchase or lease a location.

Also, start-ups must have realistic plans to staff their new operations and be financially able to start a business in Canada and pay employees.

When transferring executives or managers, the company must demonstrate it will be large enough to support executive or management functions.

When transferring a worker with specialized knowledge, the company must ensure the work is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation and demonstrate that the company is expected to be doing business.

Intra-company transferee requirements

Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits if they:

  • are employed by a multi-national company and seeking to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of that company in Canada;
  • are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
  • are transferring to a Canadian location that has a qualifying relationship with their current company, and will be working at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company;
  • 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 for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application.
  • are coming to Canada temporarily;
  • comply with all immigration requirements for temporary entry.

If the transferee has not had full-time work experience with the foreign company, immigration officers may consider other factors before refusing the applicant on this basis alone. Some of the other considerations could include the number of years of work experience the applicant had with the foreign company, the similarity of the positions, and the extent of the part-time position. Officers will also look for signs of abuse of the intra-company transferee provision.

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