Intra-company Transferee Work Permit – ICT Canada

Intra-company Transferee Work Permit

Reyansh is a citizen of India. He works as the Chief Technology Officer for a multi-national company in India. In fact, Reyansh’s company holds multiple offices in India, an office in Belgium, and two offices in Canada. Consequently, they intend to transfer him to Canada to expand their North American business. Reyansh wants to work in Canada for two years. However, he wonders if he qualifies for an intra-company transferee work permit (ICT).

A progressive economy highly depends on the qualified workforce and foreign investment. Therefore, Canada encourages multi-national businesses to invest in our country. Of course, the government also allows some key employees of those countries to work in Canada temporarily. Such arrangements enable foreign businesses to grow in Canada.  Inevitably, they will contribute to our economy and hire Canadians.

The basics of the intra-company transferee (ICT) program

Generally speaking, ICT facilitates LMIA-exempt work permits. Of course, if you are not familiar with these concepts, consider reading the following articles first:

ICT covers certain foreign workers under one of two main categories:

  1. Trade agreements [R204(a)], such as
    • NAFTA, a.k.a USMCA – LMIA exemption code T24
    • CETA – LMIA exemption code T44
    • Chile-Canada FTA – LMIA exemption code T24
    • Peru-Canada FTA – LMIA exemption code T24
    • Colombia-Canada FTA – LMIA exemption code T24
    • Korea-Canada FTA – LMIA exemption code T24
  2. Canadian interests [R205(a)]
    • General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) – LMIA exemption code C12
    • Other countries – LMIA exemption code C12
IRCC is now using new codes for ICT applicants. Click here for the new codes. Regardless, the method of the work permit has not changed much.

Qualifying businesses for Intra-company transferee

A qualifying business under ICT is a multi-national enterprise with a subsidiary, branch, parent, or affiliate in Canada. Hence, consider the following definitions:

  • Enterprise: An entity that could be for-profit or not-for-profit. Thus, this entity could be a sole proprietorship, joint venture, trust, partnership, corporation or other legal formats. Regardless, the applicable laws must recognize the enterprise.
  • Parent company:  If an enterprise owns one or more subsidiaries, it could be a parent company.
  • Subsidiary:  If the parent company owns at least 50% of an entity, then it is a subsidiary of the parent company. Regardless, the parent company must have veto power over the entity in joint ventures.  Of course, the parent company sometimes owns less than half of the subsidiary. However, in these situations, the parent company must control it.
  • Branch: The branch of a company entirely belongs to the company but has a different address.
  • Affiliate: If an entity or the parent company owns two subsidiaries, each is an affiliate.

I tried to simplify the explanations. Consequently, make sure to consult other sources for official definitions. Nonetheless, keep in mind that owning a branch or subsidiary in Canada is not good enough. The enterprise needs to be an active entity with a good track record. Nonetheless, depending on the LMIA exemption codes, the expectations of the officers could vary.

Qualifying employees for Intra-company transferee

A qualifying employee for ICT must have worked for the enterprise for at least one year in the past three years. Of course, the immigration authorities expect a full-time position in one of the following roles:

  • Executives: jobs such as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Chief Financial Officer (CFO), the Chief Technology Officer (CTO), etc.
  • Senior managers: positions that manage several employees of the company (excluding front-line or junior managers)
  • Functional managers: people who may not supervise other employees but work at a senior level and are essential in the directions the business takes
  • Specialized knowledge workers: employees who have been with the company for a few years and have access to critical skills that an outsider, regardless of their abilities, do not know

Just like before, these are loose definitions. Of course, the devil is in the details. You need to consult with a professional to make sure a position could qualify for the Intra-company Transferee (ICT) work permit.

The intra-company transferee and the validity of the work permit

The officers usually issue a one-year work permit for each applicant. However, depending on the circumstances, the initial work permit could be valid for up to three years. Of course, you may later ask for an extension if the officer issues a one-year or three-year work permit. Nonetheless, the maximum duration you may receive such work permits is seven years for management positions and five years for specialized workers. Hence, the following table better explains the potential validity of ICT work permits.

Initial  Permit
Maximum Extension
Management positions for a start-up in Canadaone yearseven years
Management positions for an existing and active company in Canadathree yearsseven years
Specialized jobs for a start-up in Canadaone yearfive years
Specialized jobs for an existing and active company in
three yearsfive years

There is no doubt the ultimate say is by the officer who reviews the case. Regardless, ensure to include convincing documents to receive the expected duration.

Where to apply for an intra-company transferee work permit

Everyone may apply for a work permit from outside Canada. However, if you want to apply at a port of entry or while inside Canada, read the following articles first:

Documents for intra-company transferee work permits

The exact document checklist depends on the applicant’s nationality, the LMIA exemption code and many other factors. However, consider the following:

  • You need to show the enterprise is legitimate in terms of the operation’s size, the ability to hire an employee in Canada, etc.
  • The employee must meet all the requirements expected by ICT
  • The whole process must not be a scheme to undermine Canadian immigration laws.

Of course, the employee must be admissible to Canada.

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Al Parsai, MA, DTM, RCIC
Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Ashton College Instructor – Immigration Consulting
Author – 88 Tips on Immigration to Canada

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Al Parsai

This article has been expertly crafted by Al Parsai, a distinguished Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (L3 RCIC-IRB – Unrestricted Practice) hailing from vibrant Toronto, Canada. Al's academic achievements include an esteemed role as an adjunct professor at prestigious Queen's University Law School and Ashton College, as well as a Master of Laws (LLM) degree from York University. A respected member of CICC and CAPIC organizations, Al's insights are further enriched by his experience as the dynamic CEO of Parsai Immigration Services. Guiding thousands of applicants from over 55 countries through the immigration process since 2011, Al's articles offer a wealth of invaluable knowledge for readers.