By: Loft Immigration Services Inc

Expanding your business to Canada: Understanding the Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit Visa

Canada’s immigration pathway offers a range of pathways for business immigration, one of which is the Intra-company transfer. 

The intra-company transfer also referred to as the ICT program is specifically designed for foreign business owners aiming to broaden their company’s operations in Canada. 

In this article, we’ll be exploring all you need to know about the ICT program, covering its requirements, benefits, the application process, and how to achieve permanent residency through this pathway. 

What is an Intra-company transfer? 

The Intra Company Transfer (ICT) is a specific immigration pathway under the International Mobility Program, enabling eligible foreign business owners to relocate their businesses to Canada and obtain a work permit.  

This pathway facilitates the acquisition of an ICT Work Permit, leading to potential permanent residency (PR). Additionally, in many instances, the primary applicant’s spouse may obtain an open work permit, while children can secure a study permit. Fill out this free assessment form to learn about other business immigration options 

Who is eligible for the ICT Program? 

This intra-company transfer program caters to three distinct categories of individuals: 

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

In addition to the above, business owners/applicants are also required to: 

  • Ensure the home company is financially sound and capable of supporting foreign operations in Canada. 
  • Ensure that the home company has been operational for at least 12 months before expanding to Canada. 
  • Ensure any applicant seeking a work permit has been working with the home company for at least 12 months before applying for a work permit in Canada. 
  • Ensure that the home company is related to the company in Canada (in this case, acting as the parent company or subsidiary) 

When the company is expanding to Canada for the first time, Immigration officers also look out for the following requirements: 

  • A sound business plan to demonstrate that the business will generate enough revenue to cover operational costs and pay employees. 
  • Ensure the company will create economic benefits for Canada and Canadians. 


How Much Is Required to Expand Your Business to Canada? 

The Canadian government does not have a specific minimum investment amount for companies expanding into Canada. Nevertheless, these companies must exhibit financial stability and possess the necessary capital to sustain their new operations in Canada while engaging local talent. 

Based on our experiences, companies should showcase a robust net revenue of $1,000,000 annually and have readily available liquid funds to cover the initial operational costs for the first year.  

Advantages of Intra-Company Transfer 

Global Expansion Opportunities: Enables business owners to expand their operations into the Canadian market, tapping into new business opportunities and potentially growing their market share. 

  1. Retaining Key Personnel: Facilitates the transfer of key employees with advanced knowledge, ensuring the continuity of expertise within the business. 
  2. Seamless Employee Relocation: ICT streamlines the relocation process for key personnel, making it easier for them to move to Canada compared to other immigration routes. 
  3. Access to International Talent: Allows business owners to access and leverage their global talent pool, bringing in skilled professionals to contribute to the success of Canadian operations. 
  4. Long-Term Presence in Canada: Provides a pathway to permanent residency for key employees, ensuring their continued presence in Canada and fostering stability for the business. 
  5. Flexibility in Financial Requirements: While financial stability is essential, the ICT route doesn’t have a specific minimum investment requirement, providing some flexibility for business owners. 
  6. Opportunity for Family Members: Often allows the principal applicant’s family members, such as spouses and children, to obtain open work permits and study permits, enhancing family unity during the relocation process. 
  7. Contribution to the Canadian Economy: Contributes to the Canadian economy by bringing in established businesses, creating job opportunities, and contributing to economic growth. 
  8. Networking and Collaboration Opportunities: Provides opportunities for networking, collaboration, and potential partnerships with Canadian businesses and professionals. 
  9. Enhanced Business Reputation: Expanding internationally, especially in a country like Canada, can enhance the business owner’s reputation and credibility on a global scale. 

How to Apply for Intra Company Transfer Work Permit? 

Applying for any immigration program in Canada requires thorough adherence to eligibility criteria and the development of a compelling case strategy. Applicants must gather substantial evidence supporting their application, offering detailed explanations demonstrating eligibility and justifying their necessity in Canada. 

For first-time applicants to the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program, the following steps are advised: 

Step 1: Register your company in Canada as a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of your home company. 

Step 2: Craft a comprehensive business plan detailing proposed activities, market research, operational plans for profitability, hiring strategies, and cash flow projections for 2-3 years in alignment with industry standards. 

Step 3: Assemble all required documents (bank statements, articles of incorporation, evidence of investment funds, etc.) and prepare your work permit application. 

Step 4: Submit your work permit application and await the decision. 

It’s essential to note that the application process varies significantly based on the applicant’s nationality. Some countries benefit from agreements with Canada, offering their citizens a more streamlined immigration process under the ICT. 

In instances where the applicant is from a visa-exempt country, there may be the option to apply for an ICT Work Permit at the port of entry (POE). 

How long does it take to process an intra-company transfer Visa? 

Typically, ICT Work Permit applications adhere to standard processing times, which can be verified on the IRCC’s website tailored to your specific country. 

However, seeking guidance from an immigration consultant to strategize the submission process will ease your application. Fill out this free assessment form to learn about other business immigration options 

How to Transition from Canada ICT to PR 

Following a year of full-time employment with the Canadian company, the foreign national becomes eligible to pursue permanent residency through the Express Entry program. Depending on the nature of the employment, they may qualify for an additional 50 or 200 points for arranged employment (job offer) within their Canadian business. 


This often translates into a notable boost in their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score, enhancing their chances of being selected under the Federal Skilled Worker (FSW) category within the Express Entry stream. Subsequently, this could result in an invitation to apply for permanent residency from the immigration authorities. 

Fill out this free assessment form to learn how we can help you with your ICT work permit application. 

How to Apply for Canada ICT and get approved 

ICT applications often face rejection due to insufficient evidence or, particularly in start-up ICT cases, a poorly presented business case for Canada by a foreign company. To enhance your prospects of receiving a positive decision when applying for ICT work permits, consider the following tips: 


  1. Focus on Evidence: Provide all necessary documents with your ICT work permit application, ensuring active engagement evidence of the foreign company’s business and ownership documents are included. Avoid unnecessary documents that may confuse immigration officers who have limited time to review applications. 
  2. Effective Organization: Streamline your documents to make it easy for officers to process your application. Prioritize providing all required documents while excluding irrelevant ones to avoid overlooking key evidence. 
  3. Craft a Solid Business Case: For start-up ICT applications, a well-developed business plan is crucial. Include it with your application. Collaborate with your immigration consultant to create a business plan that aligns with your immigration strategy. Avoid outsourcing this task to non-immigration professionals, as it may result in misalignment with your overall strategy, leading to potential rejections. Ensure your business plan addresses key components such as business details, market entry strategy, and feasibility assessments, which IRCC officers will assess. 
  4. Avoid Generic Business Plans: Steer clear of using generic business plans found online. Instead, tailor your plan to your specific business and immigration needs in collaboration with your immigration consultant. 
  5. In-House Development or Carefully Vetted Professionals: Develop business plans in-house or collaborate with carefully selected and vetted professional companies to maintain alignment with legal submissions and overall immigration and business strategy. 
  6. Hire the services of an expert immigration consultant: Leveraging the service of an expert immigration consultant can ease your intra-company transfer journey to Canada and ensure your application gets approved and ultimately, gets you approved for permanent residency. 


Taking these steps ensures a comprehensive and well-aligned application, minimizing the risk of rejection and increasing the likelihood of a positive outcome in your ICT work permit application process. 

Navigating Canadian business immigration can pose significant challenges for businesses, business owners, and foreign employees. Securing the assistance of a skilled and experienced immigration consultant is often essential for a successful journey through this intricate process.  

The adept professionals at Loft Immigration provide customized consultancy services across all business and corporate immigration aspects.  

Reach out to us for further details on how we can assist you in fulfilling your immigration requirements. 

Having worked with and represented clients from diverse backgrounds, we are always available and eager to aid you in commencing your and your family’s journey to Canada. 


  1. 1. What is the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program in Canada?

Answer: The ICT program is a specific immigration pathway under the International Mobility Program designed for eligible foreign business owners seeking to relocate their businesses to Canada and obtain a work permit. 


  1. Who is eligible for the ICT Program?

Answer: The ICT program caters to three categories of individuals: key employees with advanced specialized knowledge, senior managers, and functional managers intending to work in Canada, and business owners or shareholders of successful companies holding executive positions. 


  1. What requirements do companies expanding to Canada for the first time need to meet?

Answer: Companies need a sound business plan, the ability to generate sufficient revenue, and a commitment to creating economic benefits for Canada and Canadians. Individual applicants must ensure the home company’s financial stability, operational history, and relatedness to the Canadian company. 


  1. Is there a minimum investment requirement for expanding businesses to Canada?

Answer: The Canadian government does not specify a minimum investment amount. However, financial stability and sufficient capital are essential. It is recommended to showcase gross sales exceeding $250,000 annually and have liquid funds of at least $100,000 for the first year’s operational costs. 


  1. What are the advantages of the Intra-Company Transfer?

Answer: Some Advantages of the ICT program include global expansion opportunities, retaining key personnel, streamlined employee relocation, access to international talent, a pathway to permanent residency, flexibility in financial requirements, opportunities for family members, contribution to the Canadian economy, networking opportunities, and enhanced business reputation. 


  1. How do I apply for an Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit? 

Answer: For first-time applicants, the steps include registering the company in Canada, crafting a comprehensive business plan, assembling required documents, and submitting the work permit application. The process may vary based on the applicant’s nationality. 


  1. How long does it take to process an Intra-Company Transfer Visa?

Answer: Processing times for ICT Work Permit applications typically follow standard timelines. Applicants should check the specific processing times on the IRCC’s website based on their country. 


  1. How can I transition from Canada ICT to Permanent Residency?

Answer: After one year of full-time employment, foreign nationals become eligible for permanent residency through the Express Entry program. Depending on the employment role, they may qualify for additional points, enhancing their Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) score. 


  1. What tips can improve the chances of getting a positive decision for ICT work permits?

Answer: Key tips include focusing on evidence, organizing documents effectively, crafting a solid business case, avoiding generic business plans, and collaborating with immigration professionals. Providing necessary documents while excluding unnecessary ones is crucial for officer review. 


  1. What are the key steps for a successful ICT work permit application?

Answer: Steps include registering the company in Canada, developing a comprehensive business plan, gathering required documents, and submitting the work permit application. The application process varies based on the applicant’s nationality. 


  1. How much is required to expand a business to Canada?

Answer: While there is no specific minimum investment requirement, companies are advised to showcase robust gross sales exceeding $250,000 annually and have at least $100,000 in liquid funds for the first year’s operational costs. 


  1. What are the advantages of hiring an expert immigration consultant for ICT applications?

Answer: Leveraging the services of an expert immigration consultant can ease the intra-company transfer journey, ensure application approval, and enhance the chances of permanent residency approval. 


  1. How can Loft Immigration assist in business immigration to Canada?

Answer: Loft Immigration offers customized consultancy services for businesses, business owners, and foreign employees navigating Canadian business immigration. Reach out to learn more about their expertise in fulfilling immigration requirements. 


  1. How does Loft Immigration differentiate itself in the business immigration landscape?

Answer: Loft Immigration distinguishes itself through skilled, experienced, and patient immigration professionals providing tailored services across various business and corporate immigration aspects. 


  1. How can individuals and families commence their journey to Canada with Loft Immigration’s assistance?

Answer: Loft Immigration has a track record of working with diverse clients and is readily available to aid individuals and families in initiating their journey to Canada. Interested parties can contact them for personalized immigration guidance. 



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