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Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Program: 6 Key Pointers for International Companies

Updated: May 14

The Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Program is the best immigration pathway to send your company’s most talented employees to seek business expansion in Canada.

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Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Program:  6 Key Pointers for International Companies

The Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Program is a category of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s International Mobility Program: Canadian Interests – Significant Benefit – Intra-Company Transferees (exemption code C12). The intracompany category enables overseas companies to transfer qualified employees to Canada temporarily with the objective of expanding the businesses’ market. Intra-company transferees need a Canadian work permit to come to Canada.

How do I know if I am eligible for the Intra Company Transfer Program?

While this immigration pathway is objectively beneficial to international companies, it’s a little more selective with the employees of international companies, as only workers who hold executive or managerial positions or have specialized knowledge are eligible to become intra-company transferees. Conditions of similar nature are outlined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) as the requirements for applicants.

To apply for Canada’s Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Program, employees must:

  1. Be currently employed by a multi-national company

  2. Seek entry to work for a Canadian parent, branch, affiliate, or subsidiary company of the multi-national for which they are currently working

  3. Seek to be transferred to a company that holds a qualifying relationship with the company at which they currently work with the objective of undertaking employment in a legitimate and continuing way

  4. Be transferred to work under a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity for the Canadian enterprise

  5. Have maintained continuous employment (either via payroll or direct contract) with the company that plans to transfer them to Canada in the same or a similar full-time position and for at least 1 year within the 3-year period that precedes the initial application submission

  6. Be coming to Canada on a temporary basis

  7. Obey all immigration regulations pertinent to temporary entry to Canada

What is considered a qualifying relationship between companies?

One of the most important requirements of the ICT program is that the companies concerned in the transfer of an employee must have a qualifying relationship between them. A qualifying relationship means that the international and Canadian companies must be legally tied to one another through a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate agreement. Additionally, both companies need to remain as active businesses – meaning that their operations should continue regularly and systematically. Both companies concerned in an ICT application must provide evidence of ongoing business including (but not limited to) articles of incorporation, annual tax reports, and business licenses.

Furthermore, it’s important to keep in mind that the requirement of a qualifying relationship between companies is not absolved once an ICT application is approved. Instead, the nature of this relationship must be maintained through time. If two companies break the nature of this relationship, any employees transferred overseas through the program would not be allowed to continue working for the Canadian company.

6 Critical Factors for a Successful Application under ICT for a Start-up

There are many factors that make your ICT application successful. However today, we are discussing the five most important factors 

1. Business plan for the new Canadian company

Throughout the process of preparing an ICT program application for a company employee, remember: the goal is to prove that there’s purpose behind the expansion of your foreign company and that this expansion is being guided by a pre-meditated plan. ICT applications should, therefore, include an ICT Business Plan that clearly defines the foreign company’s goals and objectives in expanding the business to Canada. The goals of a company can be anything from servicing clients, expanding the company’s client base, or leveraging the resources and expertise that are available to a similar industry. Regardless of the motivation that applies to your company, try to be as specific as possible.

2. Intra-company transferee’s expertise

Just as the ICT Business Plan should overall convey the purpose of a foreign company’s expansion, different sections within the Business Plan should explain the nature of each element of the planned expansion in detail. Indicating why a particular employee is essential to a company’s expansion makes it easier for your company’s case to be convincing and even desired by the visa officer reviewing it. This section of the ICT Business Plan should illustrate how the potential intra-company transferee’s professional qualifications and expertise will benefit the Canadian company’s establishment and success.

3. Identification of your target market and the need for the Beneficiary presence in the target market

Another key element that should be addressed in an ICT Business Plan is a company’s intended target market in Canada. ‘Target market’ is a term used to refer to a businesses’ intended consumer base. Just as your foreign company has a customer base in its country of origin, it should have a customer base in Canada. Hence, your company should determine the new Canadian company’s target market, considering the differences in demographics and any operational differences in Canada’s industry.

4. Proof of financial sufficiency

As the famous economics law says, “There is no such thing as a free lunch”, so you must back your ICT Business Plan with realistic numbers. Opening a new company in a new country is undeniably costly, hence, a foreign company must prove that they have enough funds to establish and support the new Canadian company until it becomes financially solvent. This evidence must include the foreign company’s source of funding as well as revenue projections for the new Canadian company for an initial period of 5 years after its establishment in Canada.

5. Professional guidance

Business immigration applications are quite detailed and often complex. Therefore, it is perfectly acceptable and even advisable for a foreign company to hire professional immigration support. More than the ICT Business Plan, which should also be very specific and precise, an Intra Company Transfer (ICT) application mandates a series of documents and credentials as evidence of a foreign company’s genuine intentions as well as the capacity to expand its business in Canada.

It’s hard to foresee the work ahead when deciding to expand to Canada and upon the selection of a qualified employee to lead the expansion. For this reason, hiring an immigration consultant is a great idea, as it takes the burden off company representatives and ensures that proper guidance is given through every step of the application process.

These requirements and the immigration application process can be hectic and stressful. But that is why you need an immigration expert to assist you. We are regulated by the Canadian government and well-informed about the rules and requirements to follow when applying for any immigration sponsorship. Most importantly, we save your money, time, and energy and our clients are always satisfied with our services.

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.


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