Establish Your Foreign Business in Canada with Start-Up Program

CIC News
Published: September 17, 2012

If you own and/or work in a foreign business, and you wish to establish a business presence in Canada, the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program may be for you. The ICT Start-Up option was created to bring important workers to Canada who will launch a Canadian branch, subsidiary, or affiliate of a foreign company.

The ICT Start-Up allows key staff members of a foreign business to travel to Canada on a temporary basis. Once in the country, they are expected to open their new office, benefitting both their own enterprise as well as the Canadian economy.

Benefits of the ICT Start-Up Program

The ICT Start-Up program presents a straightforward path for businesses looking to expand into a dynamic, booming economic marketplace. Canada is experiencing steady growth across many sectors, including natural resources, technology, health, and communication. Establishing an office in Canada today may reap financial rewards in the future.

The ICT Start-Up program is also an ideal option for business owners who wish to come to Canada. By opening a Canadian office, owners will be able to relocate to Canada without giving up the company they have worked hard to build.

For individuals wishing to pursue Canadian Permanent Residency, the ICT Start-Up program may present a pathway to achieving this goal. By securing a temporary work permit, applicants can then build Canadian experience, a valuable asset to an immigration application.

The ICT Start-Up Program

Successful applicants to the ICT Start-Up program will receive a 1-year temporary work permit. This permit is conditional and may be extended, should an individual choose to continue working with the Canadian start-up.

Applicants to the program must demonstrate that their company is able to establish itself in Canada. They must provide documentation that shows the company’s ability to financially support a start-up operation. They will also have to outline plans for staffing and doing business in Canada, and prove that they have secured (or are in the process of securing) physical premises.

The individual(s) being transferred must also meet program requirements. Generally speaking, they must be current, full-time employees of the foreign company. Job positions must fall into one of two categories:

  1. Executive/Managerial: The company will have to show that it will be large enough to support an executive or managerial function; or
  2. Specialized Knowledge: The company will have to show that the employee’s knowledge is essential to start-up operations

After securing a 1-year temporary work permit, individuals will be authorized to travel to Canada to work only for their Canadian start-up. In order to qualify for work permit renewal, the company will have to show that:

  1. The foreign and Canadian offices continue to maintain a qualifying relationship (branch, affiliate, subsidiary);
  2. The Canadian entity has been conducting business ; and
  3. The Canadian entity has been staffed (by a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident)

Pursuing an ICT Start-Up application is not limited to large international businesses. Small businesses, provided they have the capacity to establish a Canadian presence and fulfill the above requirements, are also eligible to apply. Big or small, the ICT Start-Up option is an option worth considering for individuals wishing to come to Canada.

To find out if you or your business may be eligible for the ICT Start-Up Program, please fill out a free online assessment.

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