The Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit (the “ICT“) is intended to allow the temporary transfer of qualified employees from foreign-based companies to their Canadian related entities. The governmental goal behind this temporary work permit is to improve management effectiveness, expand Canadian exports, and enhance competitiveness in overseas markets.
When a Canadian company is in need of foreign senior-level or specialized-knowledge employees with advanced levels of expertise, this permit is of main interest.
Procedural Benefits of the ICT Program
Qualified intra-company transferees do not need a Labour Market Impact Assessment (a “LMIA“), see the definition on our website here. The reason is that such transferees provide a significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of expertise.
Paragraph R204(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations provides for LMIA exemption code T24 for qualified intra-company transferees who are citizens of a country that has signed a free trade agreement with Canada, namely NAFTA, and supplements the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act general provisions.
Business Benefits of the ICT Program
Intra-company transferees are not necessarily required to re-locate to Canada. However, they are expected to actually occupy a position within the Canadian branch of the company; there should be a clear employer-employee relationship with the Canadian company, and the Canadian company should be directing the day-to-day activities of the foreign worker. This is especially important for employees working at client sites and not at the parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary.
However, there may be chances that officers will rather consider the applicant as a business visitor, so it is important to consult on these options with Rana Charif, your Canadian business immigration lawyer.
Family Benefits of Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit
An individual on an ICT permit is allowed to be accompanied in Canada by their spouse or common-law partner who will also gain an open work permit. Foreign nationals from any country may qualify and applicants are entitled to have spouses accompany them on an open work permit.
General ICT Requirements
Intra-company transferees may apply for work permits under the general provision if they
- are currently employed by a multinational 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. Extensions may be granted up to the five- and seven-year maximums referred to in the section Breaks, recaptured time and duration of work permit limit. Documented time spent outside Canada during the duration of the work permit can be “recaptured” to allow the intra-company transferee five or seven full years of physical presence in Canada;
Note: If the applicant has not had full-time work experience with the foreign company, the officer should consider other factors before refusing the applicant solely on this basis, such as the following:
- the number of years of work experience with the foreign company;
- the similarity of the positions (e.g., is the applicant coming to work for a short period of time versus coming from a part-time position to a full-time long-term position?);
- the extent of the part-time position (i.e., two days a week versus four days a week);
- signs that this is an abuse of the intra-company transferee provision.
- are coming to Canada for a temporary period only;
- comply with all immigration requirements for temporary entry.
In the context of a recent corporate acquisition or merger, it is not a requirement that the applicant has worked for the named sending company for a year as long as the applicant has been working for one of the affiliates for at least one year in the previous three years provided that the new “successor entity” demonstrates that it has assumed the interests and obligations, assets and liabilities of the original owner, and continues to operate the same type of business as the original owner.
There are special guidelines for startup companies which may be consulted on by booking an appointment with Rana Charif, a highly accomplished, qualified and licensed immigration lawyer in Toronto. Email your information to email@example.com.
How long does the ICT Work Permit last?
An initial ICT work permit can last up to a year.
For Renewals: It may be renewed if the participant proves that the Canadian and foreign company still have a qualifying relationship, that the new office has continuously provided good and services in the past year and that the new office has been staffed.
How do I use my ICT work permit to become a permanent resident of Canada?
Many Canadian permanent resident programs require at least one year of full time Canadian or foreign work experience. Working in Canada for one year, especially in a highly skilled role, will certainly help your permanent residence eligibility satisfaction and your overall score.
Consult your immigration lawyer Rana Charif and book a payable meeting to discuss here.