Updated IMP Codes for Intra-Company Transferees (ICT)

ICT work permit

Alejandro, a 42-year-old IT Senior Manager from Buenos Aires, faces a pivotal career move. His global tech firm employer offers him a lead role at their Winnipeg branch. Sitting at his desk, Alejandro reviews the (Intra-Company Transferees) ICT exemption, wondering if it could streamline his work permit process. He learns that he must secure his permit before arrival as an Argentinian. This knowledge shifts his focus towards gathering the necessary documentation. Meanwhile, he contacts a Canadian immigration consultant for advice. Together, they navigate the complexities of the ICT category, ensuring Alejandro meets every requirement. Their collaboration bolsters his confidence in the process. Each step forward reinforces Alejandro‘s excitement about his new life in Winnipeg. This tale underscores the strategic use of ICT to facilitate seamless corporate transitions across borders.

Understanding the International Mobility Program (IMP)

ICT is part of the International Mobility Program (IMP), so let’s introduce this program first. IMP facilitates the entry of foreign workers to Canada and exempts certain applicants from the Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). Since LMIA adds a complex layer to the work permit application, it is wise to explore LMIA-exempt options first.

Crucially, the IMP supports Canada’s economic and cultural growth. It targets situations that benefit Canadians and residents. Notably, this program includes agreements like CUSMA and other Free Trade Agreements. However, it may also consider exemptions because of other benefits to Canada or due to humanitarian reasons.

As a result of IMP, some companies may transfer key employees without the cumbersome LMIA process. Ultimately, the IMP simplifies and accelerates work permit issuance, streamlining international business operations.

Understanding Business Structures: Affiliate, Branch, Enterprise, Parent, and Subsidiary

Navigating the various business structures, such as branches, affiliates, subsidiaries, and parent companies, is essential for ICT applications.

  • Enterprise: An enterprise encompasses entities organized under applicable laws, including corporations, partnerships, and joint ventures. It may operate for profit or not and could be privately or publicly owned.
  • Parent: A parent company is a firm or legal entity with subsidiaries. It controls and influences these subsidiaries to align them with overarching corporate strategies.
  • Subsidiary: A subsidiary is a company majority-owned by a parent company. The parent controls more than half of the subsidiary directly or indirectly. In a 50-50 joint venture, the parent company must have equal control and veto power. Furthermore, a parent can own less than half of a company but maintain control.
  • Branch: A branch acts as an operating division or office of the same organization located in a different area. This setup allows a company to expand its operational footprint without forming a separate legal entity.
  • Affiliate: An affiliate is a firm related to another through common ownership. Specifically, it refers to entities like two subsidiaries owned and controlled by the same parent or individual. Alternatively, it includes entities controlled by the same group, each member holding approximately equal shares.

Each structure serves different strategic purposes, affecting corporate governance, financial liability, and operations across borders.

Basic Requirements for Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Eligibility

Understanding the eligibility criteria for ICT is crucial for applicants aiming to transfer to multinational companies.

  • Employment Requirement: Applicants must have worked continuously in a similar position with the same enterprise for at least one year in the three years preceding their application. This ensures they possess adequate experience and familiarity with the enterprise’s operations.
  • Qualifying Relationship: The foreign enterprise and the Canadian operation must have a parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate relationship. This link is essential for the ICT designation.
  • Employment Capacity: The position in Canada must be executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge. This distinction defines the level of responsibility and expertise required for the role.
    • Executive Capacity: An executive primarily directs the management or a significant organization component. They set goals, establish policies, and exercise substantial discretionary decision-making. Executives receive minimal supervision, highlighting their high-level role.
    • Managerial Capacity: Managers oversee the organization or key parts of it. They may manage other supervisory or managerial staff or key organizational functions. Managers have hiring authority and are responsible for personnel decisions. They operate at a senior level, guiding the organization’s day-to-day operations.
    • Specialized Knowledge: Specialized knowledge workers must demonstrate a high degree of proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. Deep industry knowledge or specialized skills applicable to the position can also qualify.

Each criterion helps ensure that only qualified, integral personnel are transferred to contribute significantly to Canadian operations, align with strategic business needs, and comply with immigration laws for temporary entry.

Key ICT LMIA Exemption Options – formerly C12, now C61, C62, and C63

Some ICT options are based on the Canada Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with other countries. I’ll introduce them later. However, those options that do not fall under the FTAs stem from the old C12 exemption code. IRCC has now divided the ICT LMIA exemption codes into three main categories, each targeting specific types of intra-company transferees.

  • C61 – Starting a Branch or Affiliate: This option supports executives, managers, or other employees starting new operations in Canada. Importantly, applicants may include specialized workers under this category. Thus, it caters to essential personnel initiating Canadian branches.
  • C62 – Executive, Senior or Functional Manager: This code applies to high-level employees transferring to an existing Canadian operation. They must occupy a similar role in the new setting. Consequently, it ensures leadership continuity within multinational companies.
  • C63 – Specialized Knowledge: Reserved for employees with unique, critical knowledge, this exemption allows the transfer of specialized skills. Such workers must demonstrate advanced expertise relevant to their Canadian roles. Therefore, it preserves specialized functions crucial for business success.

An Overview of ICT LMIA Exemption Code C61

Code C61 specifically aids employees who aim to establish a new branch or affiliate in Canada. Typically, these employees include executives, senior managers, and specialized workers. This exemption serves those initiating new operations from scratch.

Crucially, the company must first secure physical premises for the Canadian operation. In cases involving senior managers or executives, a temporary address, such as a lawyer’s office, may suffice initially. This flexibility supports early-stage business setup.

Additionally, the company must present realistic plans to staff the new operation. This ensures that the startup has a clear path to operational success. Financial stability is also essential. The company must demonstrate the ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.

The company must be large enough to support executives’ or managers’ managerial functions. It must also actively conduct business with specialized knowledge workers and have Canadian management in place.

Overall, C61 offers a valuable pathway for companies to expand their global footprint into Canada, aligning with strategic business growth and international talent management. Upon a successful work permit application, the start-up ICT employees receive a one-year work permit. They may later extend their work permits in intervals of two years. The maximum duration of the work permit for managers is seven, and for specialized knowledge, it is five years.

Exploring ICT LMIA Exemption Code C62

Code C62 specifically targets executives and senior managers within multinational companies seeking to transfer to Canadian operations.

  • Role Definition: Executives and senior managers under C62 must be transferred to similar positions within the Canadian parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. This ensures consistency in their managerial or executive responsibilities.
  • Operational Necessity: The Canadian entity must already be established and conducting business. This criterion confirms the operational need for such high-level transfers.
  • Strategic Importance: Transferring senior managers and executives supports the strategic alignment and governance of the Canadian operation with its global counterpart.
  • Continuous Employment: Applicants must have worked continuously in a similar role for the same employer outside Canada for at least one year within the last three years. This requirement demonstrates their deep understanding and integration with the company’s culture and operations.
  • Compliance with Immigration Requirements: As with all ICT categories, applicants must comply with general immigration requirements for temporary entry. This includes having the appropriate work permits and adhering to Canadian immigration laws.

In summary, C62 facilitates the movement of key decision-makers to enhance leadership and management continuity within multinational entities operating in Canada.

Understanding ICT LMIA Exemption Code C63

Code C63 is designed for highly skilled individuals with specialized knowledge crucial to a multinational company’s Canadian operations.

  • Specialized Knowledge Definition: Applicants under C63 must possess a unique and high level of proprietary knowledge or advanced expertise. This knowledge is vital for their role in Canada.
  • Role Specificity: They must be transferred to similar positions within the Canadian parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate. This ensures their expertise is directly applicable and beneficial.
  • Operational Readiness: The Canadian entity must be established and actively conducting business. This requirement confirms that there is a practical framework for effectively utilizing specialized knowledge.
  • Employment History: The applicant should have a full-time employment history with the company outside Canada, spanning at least one year within the previous three years. This demonstrates their proven experience and reliability.
  • Compliance with Immigration: As with other ICT categories, C63 applicants must comply with all existing immigration laws for temporary entry. This includes securing the proper documentation and meeting all entry criteria.

In conclusion, C63 enables the transfer of individuals whose specific knowledge is essential to the operational success and competitiveness of the Canadian operation.

Specialized ICT Codes Under Free Trade Agreements (FTAs)

While C61 to C63 serve as generic codes for Intra-Company Transferees (ICT), specific Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) necessitate using specialized codes tailored to each agreement. These specialized codes ensure compliance with the unique provisions of each FTA. Consequently, use these codes instead of C61 to C63 if you are a citizen of the following countries. Below is a list of alternative codes for various countries under different FTAs:

CUSMA (Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement):

  • Executives or Senior Managers: T37
  • Specialized Knowledge: T38

Colombia:

  • Executives or Senior Managers: F13
  • Management Trainees: F14
  • Specialized Knowledge: F15

Chile:

  • Executives or Senior Managers: F23
  • Specialized Knowledge: F24

South Korea:

  • Executives or Senior Managers: F33
  • Management Trainees: F34
  • Specialized Knowledge: F35

Peru (both citizens and permanent residents):

  • Executives or Senior Managers: F53
  • Management Trainees: F54
  • Specialized Knowledge: F55

CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement) with EU Countries:

  • Executives or Senior Managers: T44
  • Graduate Trainees: T42
  • Specialized Knowledge: T41

CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership):

  • Applicable to these countries:
    • A citizen of
      • Australia
      • Brunei
      • Chile
      • Japan
      • Malaysia
      • Mexico
      • New Zealand
      • Peru
    • or a permanent resident of
      • Australia
      • New Zealand
  • Executives or Senior Managers: T51
  • Management Trainees: T54
  • Specialized Knowledge: T55

UK:

  • Executives or Senior Managers: F61
  • Management Trainees: F62
  • Specialized Knowledge: F63

These codes are pivotal for ensuring that intra-company transfers comply with specific international agreements, enhancing the movement of skilled workers in alignment with global economic partnerships.

Acknowledgements and Consultation Opportunities

Navigating the IRCC website for the new codes posed challenges due to its ambiguity. Therefore, I contacted the IRCC International Mobility Workers Unit (IMWU). Through a few email exchanges, they provided valuable insights and clarifications. I sincerely thank the team for their assistance, which greatly enhanced my understanding of the new ICT codes.

If you are considering the ICT program and need guidance, please book a consultation with me. Together, we can explore your options and ensure that your application aligns with your professional goals and complies with immigration regulations. This proactive approach will help streamline your pathway to working in Canada under the ICT exemptions.

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