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ICT Canada: The Intra-Company Transferee Permit Explained (Plus Similarities to the US L-1 Visa)

Business Immigration | ICT | L-1

Considering immigrating to Canada? There are many ways to secure immigration, with the ICT Canada work permit being one of the most attractive options for employees of foreign organizations with ties to Canada.

For those who think the ICT permit applies to their situation, we’ll take a look at the details and help you determine whether you’re a viable candidate.

Keep in mind, the US also offers a similar option. In fact, the ICT work permit is comparable to the L-1 visa in the US in many ways. You’ll discover just how similar the two immigration options are below, as well as what is necessary for approval.

ICT Canada - What is it?

The Intra-Company Transferee, or ICT Canada, is a work permit that allows immigrants to come to Canada as employees of foreign companies with connections in Canada. While not identical, the L-1 visa in the United States is similar in many ways to the ICT, allowing US businesses to transfer foreign employees to their offices.

The intention behind the ICT work permit is to allow individuals to immigrate with the intention of improving Canadian businesses and their operations, resulting in significant value to the Canadian economy. Therefore, this permit also offers an attractive opportunity for employers: the ability to bring skilled foreign workers to Canada to help expand or improve operations.

While the ICT work permit allows foreigners to legally work in Canada temporarily, it also provides a pathway to permanent residency. This possibility is appealing to many immigrants who hope to come to Canada long-term.

The ICT permit falls under the International Mobility Program (IMP). As a result, a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) is not needed for approval. The LMIA is typically a long and complicated process, meaning the ICT work permit offers shorter processing times and a more cost-effective solution.

In fact, some entrepreneurs with existing enterprises in their home country are finding the ICT a good alternative to the recently changed LMIA Owner Operator (LMIA OO) program–as long as they are eligible, of course. The LMIA OO was previously one of the top immigration pathways for hopeful immigrants who wanted to purchase or establish a business in Canada. However, changes earlier this year made it much more difficult to be approved for this program. Therefore, several candidates have turned to the ICT work permit. Under the ICT, applicants can set up a new enterprise in Canada under their foreign company and hire themselves to establish and run operations in Canada.

ICT Requirements

Several requirements must be met for a foreign worker, and their employer, to be approved for the ICT Canada permit.

First and foremost, the employee transferring to Canada must be an executive, senior management, or have specialized knowledge about the company and its products or services. This individual must be coming to Canada to help improve or expand the company’s operations.

While the term “specialized knowledge” may sound subjective, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) expresses clear expectations about what this entails. Put plainly, according to IRCC, specialized knowledge is knowledge that is unique and proprietary to the employer. In other words, to be approved, the applicant must have knowledge that others within the company do not possess, or at least only a small percentage possess, and that is not typical among other organizations or individuals. Additionally, this knowledge must be essential to the business and their productivity. It is this specialized knowledge that exempts the applicant from the Labour Market Impact Assessment.

Much like the ICT Canada permit, L-1 visa candidates must be executives or managers or have specialized proprietary knowledge regarding the processes and/or products and services of the organization they are transferring to. However, unlike the ICT work permit, the L-1 Visa is subdivided into the L1a and L1b. The L1a applies to managers and executives, while the L1b applies to employees with specialized and proprietary knowledge.

With regards to ICT employer requirements, the Canadian-based organization must be a legitimate Canadian business. In addition, it must be an affiliate, branch, subsidiary, or parent of the multi-national company from which the applicant is transferring.

The same holds true for the L-1 visa in the US. The foreign company from which the applicant is transferring must be closely affiliated with the organization in the US. Namely, an affiliate, branch, subsidiary, or parent organization. However, if no affiliated US office has yet been established, the L-1 visa also allows an executive or manager to be sent to the US to develop one. One specification set out by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that is unlike IRCC’s requirements is that the foreign company must also be affiliated with an organization in one other country in addition to the US.

Both the ICT work permit and L-1 visa also require the applicant to be currently, or recently, employed by the organization that is transferring them. More specifically, the applicant must have worked full-time for the foreign organization for at least one year within the last three years. This individual must also have been working in the same, or similar, capacity as they will be when they arrive in Canada or the US.

Obtaining ICT Approval

One of the most important factors for obtaining approval for an ICT Canada work permit is offering persuasive evidence of specialized knowledge.

In addition to general work permit documentation, the foreign company will require a professional and compelling ICT Intra-Company Transferee Work Permit Business Plan.

This ICT business plan must clearly express the following:

  • Foreign company’s relationship to its Canadian counterpart
  • Employee’s work history with the foreign company
  • Applicant’s job position within the company

Similarly, when applying for an L-1 visa in the US, an L-1 Visa business plan is also required. Like the ICT business plan, this L-1 business plan must clearly demonstrate the qualifications above, including the role of the transferee, salary details, and other factors that illustrate the value this employee will bring to the US economy through their contributions to the business.

Not sure where to begin or how to develop an effective business plan?

Joorney can help! Our experienced team of professional business plan writers provides services in both the US and Canada.

We work directly with Canadian and US immigration lawyers and consultants to create professional and effective plans. Above all, our experience in the field means our team will develop an expertly crafted ICT business plan or L-1 visa business plan that provides a comprehensive and influential overview of your case, offering the best chance of approval.

Disclaimer: Joorney Business Plans Canada is not an immigration consultant, lawyer, or advisor and cannot be held responsible for damages incurred from the use of this information. If you require more information about a program or your specific immigration case, please contact a registered immigration professional.

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