Foreign businesses with a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in Canada have the option to bring key personnel to Canada through an Intra-Company Transfer.
Work permits acquired through this program are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Although LMIA-exempt, workers and employers who utilize the Intra-Company Transfer program must comply with all provisions governing temporary work in Canada, including obtaining a Temporary Resident Visa, if applicable.
In three years immediately preceding the date of the initial application, transferees must have been employed with the foreign enterprise continuously for at least one year, in a full-time position similar to the position they will be occupying at the Canadian business. The Canadian business will also have to demonstrate a qualifying relationship with its foreign counterpart. Work in Canada must fall under one of three following functions:
- Executives and Senior Managers
- Executive: An employee who primarily directs the management of the enterprise or a major component thereof.
- Senior Manager: An employee who manages all or part of the enterprise and supervises/controls the work of other managers or professional employees.
- Functional Managers
- An employee who manages a function that is essential to achieving the company’s goals, but does not necessarily manage employees.
- Specialized Knowledge
- An employee who can demonstrate specialized knowledge, which in turn means knowledge at an advanced level of expertise and proprietary knowledge of the enterprise's products, services, processes and procedures.
Foreign businesses wishing to establish a Canadian enterprise may use the Intra-Company Transfer program to bring critical workers to the country for start-up operations. When applying for an ICT Start-Up visa, applicants must demonstrate their company’s ability to become established in Canada, which includes:
- Evidence that the company can financially support the start-up costs of the operation and has the ability to compensate employees.
- Preparing a business plan that outlines realistic plans for staffing the new operation and doing business in Canada.
- Evidence that physical premises have been secured (or are in the process of being secured).
The ICT Start-Up program provides a one-year temporary work permit and may be renewed if the companies have maintained a qualifying relationship and have continued to actively do business. The new Canadian operations must also have been staffed.
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