Getting an Intra-Company Transfer to Canada

Edana Robitaille
Published: October 4, 2022

Multi-national companies that have parent, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate companies in Canada may be eligible to send employees to Canada with an Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) without needing to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA).

LMIAs can be costly and time consuming so not needing to get an LMIA is one of the biggest benefits of an ICT. For example, in order to get an LMIA businesses need to demonstrate that bringing in an employee from a foreign country will not have a negative impact on the local labour force or economy.

ICT permits are initially valid for up to three years. After that, it is possible to renew for up to five years for specialized knowledge holders and seven years for executives and senior managers.

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Employer requirements

A company is only eligible to take advantage of ICT work permits if they are operating in Canada. Canadian and foreign locations need to provide goods and services. Simply having a physical presence or office in Canada will not suffice.

There are, however, some exceptions made for start-ups. If a company is trying to transfer a senior manager or executive, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) may acknowledge that the start-up address is not secured yet, and the company may be allowed to use its lawyer’s Canadian address until a location is leased or purchased.

A start-up must be able to demonstrate a tangible and realistic plan to staff their new operation in Canada. They need to be financially able to start and maintain the business as well as pay employees.

If the transferee is an executive or a manager, the company needs to show that it is large enough to require, and support, executive or management functions.

In many instances, a worker is transferred because of their specialized knowledge. If this is the case, the company needs to make sure that the employee is directed by management at the Canadian branch instead of being overseen from abroad.

Transferee requirements

An employee may be eligible to apply for an ICT work permit if they meet certain criteria.

To begin with, they must be an employee of a multi-national company that has a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate in Canada, and they must be being transferred to a position as an executive, senior manager, or in a specialized knowledge capacity.

They must also have been employed continuously with the company for at least one year out of the three-year period immediately before the date of the initial application. Also, they must only intend to stay in Canada temporarily and comply with all the immigration requirements for temporary entry.

It may also be possible to obtain an ICT if the transferee has not had full-time work experience with the company. Immigration officers may consider the number of years of work experience the applicant has had on a part-time basis, or the number of positions within the company.


It is also possible to get an intra-company transfer through the Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement (CUSMA). This is another option that does not require a Labour Market Impact Assessment.

This program facilitates increased movement for employees of North American companies. Like ICT’s, the transferee must have worked continuously for their employer in the U.S. or Mexico for a year over the past three years at the time of applying.

In order for a transferee to be eligible for an ICT under CUSMA, they need to be employed at the time of application and doing similar work in their foreign job as they will be doing when they arrive in Canada.

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