The Canadian Intra-Company Transfer Work Permit Explained

Green and Spiegel LLP


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If you are working for a multinational company, you might be able to get a work permit in Canada through the Intra-Company Transfer ("ICT") program.
Canada Immigration
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If you are working for a multinational company, you might be able to get a work permit in Canada through the Intra-Company Transfer ("ICT") program. This program is for specialized knowledge workers, executives, and/or senior managers who wish to transfer to a Canadian entity such as a parent company, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of an overseas enterprise in Canada.

The Eligibility Criteria

  • Are you currently employed by a multinational company outside Canada?
  • Have you been continuously employed by this multinational company at least one year within the past three years?
  • Is your current employment a full-time position?
  • If transferred to Canada, will you be working in a similar position?
  • Are you being transferred as an executive or senior managerial level? If not, are you a specialized knowledge worker?

If you answer yes to these questions, then, you may be eligible to apply for a work permit in Canada under the ICT category.

ICT Categories Defined: Executive, Senior Managerial, Specialized Knowledge

Executive: Employees in executive roles are usually the people who direct the management of the company. They establish organizational goals and policies, exercise discretion in decision-making, and receive general supervision from higher-level executives.

Senior Managerial: Senior managerial roles and job duties include managing all or parts of the company, supervising other managers, and controlling work processes.

Specialized Knowledge Workers: This category requires workers to demonstrate an advanced knowledge of the company's products or services, essential processes, and procedures. Their expertise must be critical to the enterprise's competitiveness, with specialized knowledge that is uncommon in the Canadian marketplace.

The Duration of the Work Permit

It is important to remember that Executive and Senior Managerial ICT work permits have a cap of 7 years and Specialized Knowledge Workers have a cap of 5 years for total work permit duration. Time beyond this limit may be recaptured in limited circumstances. To explain this with a simple example, if an ICT Executive Manager has a one-year work permit, but has only spent five months inside Canada working, then, they may be able to reclaim the remaining seven months.

Final Notes to Remember

The ICT work permit category is Labour Market Impact Analysis ("LMIA") exempt – meaning that your employer does not need to go through an LMIA application for this type of work permit.

The ICT work permits are employer specific work permits (commonly know as "closed work permit"), and therefore, tied to a specific employer. If you decide to change employment during the validity period of your ICT work permit, you will need to apply for a new work permit.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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