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Intra Company Transfer

Canada offers various immigration options for entrepreneurs and business owners. The Intra Company Transfer (ICT) program is an excellent choice for foreign business owners who want to grow their businesses in Canada. On this page, you’ll discover information about the ICT program, including its requirements, benefits, how to apply, and pathways to gaining permanent residency.

The ICT program is a way for qualified foreign business owners to move their businesses to Canada and obtain a work permit. Through this program, you can get an ICT Work Permit and, in the long run, become a permanent resident (PR). In many cases, the principal applicant’s spouse can get an open work permit, and their children can get study permits.

Who Can Apply for the Intra Company Transfer Program?

The ICT program is designed to attract successful companies from around the world that want to expand into Canada. There are three groups of people who may benefit from this program:

  1. Business owners, entrepreneurs, and shareholders of successful companies who currently hold executive positions in their companies and plan to do similar work in Canada.
  2. Senior managers and functional managers who are currently working in a foreign company and intend to hold a similar position in Canada.
  3. Key employees of a business who have advanced specialized knowledge that is unique or uncommon.

Applicants in one of these categories also need to meet several additional requirements, as described below, to get a work permit through the ICT program.


Entrepreneurs who own successful businesses in their home countries can apply for the ICT Work Permit to expand their business to Canada. There are some extra requirements they must meet, including the following:

  1. The home company should have been operating for at least 12 months (ideally 3 years) before expanding to Canada.
  2. The home company should be financially strong enough to support operations in Canada.
  3. The applicant applying for an ICT Work Permit should have been working with the home company for at least 12 months in the past three years before applying for immigration.
  4. The home company should be related to the company in Canada as a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate.
  5. Canadian operations should be a viable business and lead to job opportunities for Canadians.

For the first expansion of a foreign company to Canada, immigration officers will also check the following:

  • Is there a strong business plan that shows Canadian operations will be a viable business, generating enough revenue to cover costs and employee compensation?
  • Will this expansion result in job opportunities for Canadians?
  • Will the company be big enough to need an executive or manager in Canada?

So, if it’s the first ICT application in Canada, companies must show that expanding to Canada makes sense and that the new Canadian operations are likely to succeed and grow large enough to hire local staff. For companies expanding to Canada for the first time, it’s crucial to present a good business case and explain why you’re expanding, along with meeting the basic requirements for ICT applications.

Investment Amount for Initial Business Expansion to Canada

The Canadian government doesn’t specify a minimum investment amount for companies expanding to Canada. However, companies need to have enough money to support their new operations in Canada and hire local employees.

In our experience, companies should have strong annual sales of over $250,000 and access to at least $100,000 in cash to cover the first year’s operational costs. Apart from the initial investment, applicants should also show that they have extra funds or assets to support the business in Canada if it doesn’t become self-sufficient in the first year.

Processing Time

In general, the time it takes to process ICT Work Permit applications depends on your country of origin and can be checked on the IRCC’s website.

Keep in mind that ICT applications for executives and managerial staff are often processed by the CPC-Edmonton office in Canada. This office uses a specific case processing technology known as “Chinook,” which leads to quicker decisions, usually within 1-2 months. However, we’ve noticed that the CPC-Edmonton office tends to have higher rejection rates compared to other offices. So, it might be a good idea to consult with an immigration lawyer about where to send your application.

How to Apply

To apply for any immigration program in Canada, you need to first check if you meet the requirements for that program. Then, you should create a plan for presenting your case to Canadian immigration authorities. After that, gather the documents and information needed for your immigration application and provide detailed explanations about how you meet the requirements and why your presence in Canada is necessary.

If this is your first ICT application, follow these steps:

  1. Register your company in Canada as part of your home company, either as a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate.
  2. Create a business plan that outlines your proposed activities, market research, and how you plan to run a successful operation in Canada. This plan should also include details about your hiring plans and cash flow projections for 2-3 years, based on industry standards.
  3. Collect all the required documents, such as bank statements, articles of incorporation, and evidence of your investment funds. Use these to prepare your work permit application.
  4. Submit your work permit application and wait for a decision.

Please note that the process can vary depending on your nationality. Some countries have agreements with Canada that make the immigration process easier under the ICT program.

For citizens of visa-exempt countries, you may be able to apply for an ICT Work Permit when you arrive at the port of entry (POE).

Duration of ICT Work Permits

ICT work permits are typically issued for 1-2 years. If you’re working for a startup company, the work permit is limited to 1 year. Some nationals from visa-exempt countries benefit from a 3-year work permit. You can renew work permits for an additional 2-3 years for specialized knowledge workers and up to 5 years for executives and managers.

After working full-time for a Canadian company for one year, foreign nationals may become eligible to apply for permanent residency through the Express Entry program. Depending on the job role, you may be eligible for additional points for an arranged employment (job offer) from your own business in Canada. This can significantly boost your Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, potentially leading to selection in the Express Entry program and an invitation to apply for permanent residency.