This program allows international companies to transfer qualified employees to their established or new Canadian branch which is either a subsidiary or an affiliate entity. The work-permit issued under this program is LMIA exempt. This program is best suited for senior managers (or key personnel) with the intention and ability to expand their business in Canada. The foreign company can nominate one of its high-ranking decision makers who is currently employed, or an employee with specialized knowledge to travel to Canada to establish and/or run the Canadian operation. This person will get a one-year work permit under this program that can be renewed for two more years if certain conditions are met.

If structured correctly, the Work Permit obtained through this program can earn the applicant up to 200 CRS points under the Express Entry regime. This will considerably increase the applicant’s chances for getting the right of permanent residence through that program.

ICT(Start-up) at a glance

Legal GroundSection 205(a) of IRPR 
LMIA RequirementExempted – C12
Eligibility  Business owners (or key personnel) who have been continuously employed in the foreign company for at least 12 months;
RequirementsLegally organized foreign business, actively engaged in doing business;
Canadian incorporation of a subsidiary, affiliate or branch;
Detailed business plan;
Financial ability to operate Canadian company;
Performance ObligationsNone;
Financial/Investment RequirementThere are no investment obligations but the foreign company must prove sufficient financial ability to start operations in Canada. This amount varies depending on the type of business, but in general cannot be less than CAD 100,000;
Required Supporting DocumentsProof that foreign company is actively engaged in business (i.e. Article of incorporation, annual reports, financial statements, licenses, permits, payroll, contracts, …);
Proof of transferee’s employment (i.e. pay stub, contract, payroll);
Transferee’s personal documents (i.e. resume, education, financial ability and etc.);Proof of Canadian incorporation;
Detailed business plan;
Visa Validity and Renewal1-3 years (depending on transferee’s position). Can be renewed if certain conditions are met (staffing, securing premises and engaging in business); 
Family MembersTransferee’s spouse can get open work permit;
Transferee’s children under 22 can get study permit;
Work Permit Social BenefitsAccess to free health care for transferee and their family members;
Access to free education for transferee’s children (up to and including secondary education);
Processing Time2 weeks – 3 months (depending on the country of applicant); 
Permeant Residency ProspectLikely. Under different federal and provincial programs depending on certain conditions; 
  1. Which key personnel can qualify for this program?

    There are three categories of positions that can qualify for transfering to Canada:
    Executive and Senior Managers: In general, executives and managers plan, organize, direct, or control the activities of a business, or a division of a business (e.g. Vice President of Marketing), either independently or through middle managers. They are frequently responsible for the implementation of the policies of a business. More senior persons, either alone or in conjunction with a board of directors, may formulate policies which establish the direction to be taken by the business.
    Functional Mangers: in general, functional mangers. manage an essential function in the company, but do not necessarily manage staff. Essential function generally means a function that is indispensible or important to achieving the organization’s goals. A functional manager must operate at a senior level within the organization or within the function managed, and have discretion over the day-to-day operations of the function.
    Employees with specialized knowledge: these employees have a high degree of both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise.

  2. Can any company use this program?

    Qualified companies are those that regularly, systematically, and continuously provide goods and/or services in their home jurisdiction. For instance, a company with no employees which only exists on paper, and is established for the sole purpose of facilitating the entry of intra-company transferees is not qualified. Companies must be able to provide evidence to prove that they are doing business. For example, payroll showing at least 5 employees, annual reports, website and commercial literature, profit/loss statements, partnership agreements, license to do business, business tax returns, and etc.

  3. Do only incorporated businesses qualify for this program?

    Not necessarily. A business can qualify if it is an entity constituted or organized under its jurisdiction’s applicable law, and either privately-owned or owned by the government, including any corporation, trust, partnership, sole proprietorship, joint venture or other associations.

  4. Does the business have to be for-profit?

    No. Religious, charitable, service or other non-profit organizations can also qualify to use this program.

  5. Does the business expanding to Canada have to incorporate in Canada?

    Yes. The entity operating in Canada has to be incorporated and structured such that a parent-subsidiary, affiliate or branch relationship is established between the foreign and Canadian entities.

  6. What are the obligations of the Canadian entity?

    The Canadian company must furnish realistic plans to staff the Canadian operation, and show the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees. The company must secure physical premises to house the Canadian operation. In the start-up phase however the company can use its lawyer’s address until the executive can purchase or lease a premise.
    The company will have to provide immigration Canada with a business plan that details the Canadian operation, and in particular its recruitment approach.

  7. Does the Canadian company have to employ the transferred employee?

    Yes. The transferee has to be transferred to a position in a similar capacity and be offered employment for at least 18 months. The transferee must be paid by either the Canadian entity or the foreign entity.

  8. How do I know if I can get permanent residency after my work-permit?

    This requires an assessment on a case-by-case basis. If interested, please book your consultation now.

  9. Is there a language requirement for this program?

    No. But if you are planning for permanent residency you will need to have language proficiency by the time you apply for permanent residency.