Canada is home to one of the world’s most diverse immigration systems. It has various immigration channels for all types of people, but the most known are its economic visas.
Economic visas encompass everything – investment, business establishment, and worker visas – accounting for over 50% of all recent immigrants.
While some economic immigration routes, such as the PNPs and Express Entry, are well known, others do not get enough coverage, and one of those programs of high interest is the Intra Company Transferees or Intra Company Transfer Visa (ICT).
What is the ICT Visa
Canada’s government introduced ICT under the International Mobility Program initiative to improve the overall management effectiveness, competitiveness within the market, and Canadian exports to international markets.
The ICT is an immigration channel open to workers who want to come to Canada and work within a branch, subsidiary, or parent company of the multinational enterprise in which they are employed.
The ICT was designed to facilitate smoother employee movement between foreign businesses and their Canadian-based companies, so it is more focused on the nuances of international trade rather than just the immigration aspect regarding the employee.
Hence, ICT’s qualification criteria heavily centre around the company, the employee’s status, and the operation within Canada.
For a person to qualify for an ICT Visa, the following requirements must be met:
- The applicant is currently employed by a multinational company abroad and wishes to come to Canada to work in an affiliate, parent, branch, or subsidiary.
- The applicant must have been employed by the company for at least one full year in a continuous full-time role during the three years before applying.
- The applicant must transfer in an executive, senior managerial, or specialised knowledge capacity.
- The foreign company must be financially capable of supporting the applicant.
- The foreign and Canadian companies must have a clear relationship (parent, branch, affiliate, subsidiary) and must be conducting business together or will do so pending the transfer.
It is important to note that some exceptions can be made for part-time employees on a case-by-case basis.
How long is the ICT Visa valid?
The ICT is a temporary residence permit. It is valid for one year and can be renewed for up to seven years. After seven years, the transferee will have to leave Canada for 12 months before they can apply again.
The ICT does not lead to permanent residence, especially since it does not require applicants to remain in Canada as tax residents (reside for at least six months a year). However, that is not to say there is no way for an ICT Visa holder to obtain permanent residency.
After working for a Canadian company for one year, ICT Visa holders can apply for the Federal Express Entry Skilled Worker stream. Since they will have gained a year of Canadian experience, this will significantly boost their overall score and put them ahead of the pack.
ICT Visa holders will have the experience and background needed to get high points on Express Entry because ICT requires that they transfer as an executive, senior management, or specialised skill role, making their prospects of gaining a permanent residency permit through Express Entry even higher.
After residing in Canada as permanent residents for three years, they can apply for Canadian citizenship.
What are the benefits?
The ICT may not be a mainstream immigration channel because it targets a smaller niche than other economic immigration categories. Still, it does come with its own set of benefits:
- A Simple Route
For those who meet the criteria, the ICT Visa is one of the simplest to get in Canada.
- Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemption
Canadian employers needing to hire foreign workers must submit an LMIA document. This will require a lot of effort and time, as they have to prove they could not find a suitable Canadian citizen or permanent resident worker to fill the role. This puts massive pressure on the company and prospective employees.
ICT workers, however, are exempt from the LMIA rule.
- No Physical Residence Requirement
ICT Visa holders do not need to reside a minimum amount of time in Canada to renew. They only need to show that they are working with the company full-time, even if that includes a lot of travel abroad.
- Inclusion Of Family Members
ICT Visa applicants can include their spouse, dependent children below the age of 22, and dependent parents in their application as accompanying family members.
- Fast Processing Time
Since the ICT Visa is a temporary residence permit, processing times are quick, ranging between two to ten weeks on average.
Savory and Partners’ Business Migration Division supports businesspersons looking to set up a new company, buy an existing business in a foreign country, and obtain a residency for themselves and their families.
For more information about the ICT visa, processing, and eligibility, contact us today to book a comprehensive consultation with one of our experts.
We are available on every channel convenient for you.