Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Start-Up Explained

by | Jun 18, 2021

If you own a company outside of Canada and you want to establish a branch in Canada, and use it as a means to transfer an employee, that is yourself or someone else to Canada, it is possible to do so. This immigration option is generally referred to as the intra-company transferee (ICT) Start-Up. However, there are some specific requirements that the company being established inside Canada must meet in order for it to be eligible to effect the employee transfer.

Canadian Subsidiary

The intra-company transferee (ICT) Start-Up means that there is one company that has multiple branches, one in the home country and a branch in Canada. The company in the home country is going to be transferring an employee to the branch in Canada. This is typically an option where there is already an existing relationship between two or more entities. Therefore, if there is a company in your home country and you have already established a branch or subsidiary or an affiliate entity in Canada then you already have things in place to effect the transfer of an employee. 

If you do not have a branch established in Canada, you lack the structure that can allow you to take advantage of the intra-company transferee (ICT) Start-Up. You will need to establish the subsidiary first, known as a Start-Up for purposes of the intra-company transferee (ICT) option. It is only after you have established the Canadian entity that you will be able to do the transfer. There are some specific requirements that must be met in order for you to successfully effect the transfer after you have set up the Canadian entity. In addition, the employee being transferred needs to meet very specific requirements. 

Work Permit

It is important to note that even after creating the Canadian entity, you may apply for a work permit to be granted to the employee being transferred and the work permit application is refused. The existence of the Canadian entity is not a guarantee that the employee will be granted a work permit. Therefore the employee needs to meet all the requirements for the Canadian work permit application.

Physical Address

One of the key requirements for the ICT Start-Up option is that the Canadian branch must have secured a physical address in Canada. Once you have set up the Canadian subsidiary, it is advisable to have a physical address for instance a leased property even though you do not absolutely have to lease premises. You can secure a premise through shared space arrangements. Whichever the choice, ultimately you need to have a mailing address in Canada that can be used in your application and other address needs.

Business Plan

Another important requirement to bear in mind is that you need to include a business plan. The business plan must show that you have realistic objectives in the new proposed operations in Canada. You must be able to show that your new company will ultimately be employing Canadians to fill the roles that this new job will be creating. 

This is because you are applying to set up a business in Canada. Therefore, Canadian authorities will want to ensure that Canadians will be benefiting before they go ahead and issue a work permit for you to immigrate to Canada as a worker through the Start-Up. In other words, the business plan must be robust enough and detailed enough to convince the officers that the staffing plans are realistic. 

Financial Status Of Start-Up

Another crucial element is that the business plan and other supporting documentation that you will be providing must show that the company has the requisite financial ability to start its business in Canada and to compensate its employees. For instance, if you are arguing that by setting up the business, you will be transferring yourself as the main executive who will operate the business in Canada then the new business that you have established in Canada must be able to pay your salary.

The company must also be able to offset the operational costs it is likely to incur. Hence, you must be able to show that your company has the right financial health to sustain itself in Canada through supporting documentation such as the company’s tax filings from previous years, profit and loss documentation, and account statements

Company Management

Additionally, the company must show that it can support an executive or managerial team in Canada. If the employee being transferred to Canada is not going to be a managerial employee they need to at least be a specialized knowledge employee with industry-specific experience. 

Therefore, when transferring a specialized worker who is not a senior managerial employee but an employee with very specific industry experience and knowledge of the company’s proprietary processes, the company will be required to show that the employee is going to be supervised by a management team at the Canadian subsidiary.


Lastly, once you have established a subsidiary in Canada and the employee’s work permit application is successful, an evaluation will be conducted by Canadian authorities one year later to assess how well the company has been meeting the objectives laid out in the company business plan at the time when the ICT Start-Up was initially made. 

Hence, it is crucial that the company ensures that throughout the first year, it actually meets all the objectives of the business plan because this will be crucial when the assessment is being conducted at the end of the first. The assessment is important because it will be used to determine whether or not the work permit should be extended assuming that a work permit had been issued. 

Let Us Help

Should you be interested in exploring the Intra-Company Transferee (ICT) Start-Up immigration option, we are happy and available to provide you with the best professional advice on how to affect the whole process successfully. 

In case you need any assistance with putting together the required documentation to enable you to immigrate to Canada under the ICT Start-Up program, please feel free to contact us.

Book a call with us today!


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