If you are struggling to qualify for a work permit under the TFWP due to the LMIA requirement, then you should explore the International Mobility Program and try to qualify for an LMIA-exempt work permit (ICT Work Permit).
Ordinarily, the work permit route into Canada is available only to those working for a business, firm, or company i.e. to employees only. However, there is one LMIA-exempt work permit under the IMP that’s available to employees as well as entrepreneurs.
Understanding the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) LMIA-Exempt Work Permit
As the name suggests, the ICT work permit enables a company located outside Canada to transfer employees from foreign locations into Canada.
To qualify for the ICT, both you and your employer i.e. the foreign company must be eligible for the work permit.
For the foreign company to be eligible for the ICT, it must
- Have been operational for more than one year with necessary documentary proofs of existence and operations, and
- Have a good reputation, and
- Have ability and willingness to operate a subsidiary in Canada
Skilled Worker Eligibility
To qualify, you must fulfill the following conditions.
- You must be employed by the foreign company that has setup the subsidiary in Canada.
- You must have been a full-time employee for a continuous period of at least one year in the three years immediately preceding the ICT application.
- You job profile must fit one of these three categories.
- You are an executive who directs the company or has a major say in the company’s management. You formulate goals and policies and have a lot of discretion in taking business decisions.
- Or, you are managing the company or its department or component. You supervise and control the working of other employees and have significant authority for managing human, financial, and/or material resources.
- Or, you are a specialized knowledge worker with ‘specialized knowledge’ about the company’s product or services or with “knowledge at an advanced level of expertise”.
If you and your employer fulfill these conditions, then you can apply for the LMIA-exempt ICT work permit and get transferred to Canada. The visa will first be issued for a period of two years and can be extended up to a maximum of seven years.
ICT for a Foreign Entrepreneur
So far, we have discussed how an employee can enter and work in Canada. But, the same ICT can be used by a foreign business owner to live and work in Canada. The company you own will have to setup a subsidiary in Canada.
Once this is done, then you can transfer yourself from the parent company located in the foreign company to your Canadian subsidiary. You can live and work in Canada and can take care of your exiting business as well as the subsidiary setup in Canada.
ICT to Permanent Residence
The ICT is available for a period of up to seven years but there’s no need for you to wait that long to apply for permanent residence.
Once you have worked for one year in Canada, you can apply for PR through Express Entry—CEC route and become a permanent resident. Since you already have a job with a Canadian employer, you are assured of the 200 point jump to your CRS score.
If you want the PNP route, then you can qualify for PR through PNP streams setup for foreign workers already working in the province. Alberta and Manitoba have streams designed specifically for foreign workers on work permit in the province who want to be nominated for permanent residence.
Once you have the ICT work permit, then the route to PR is very easy because you are a key employee for your company in Canada and are assured for a permanent job offer. And if you are an entrepreneur, then you are, for all practical purposes, your own boss.
Family Members of ICT Workers
The ICT work permit holder can be accompanied by his/her spouse and dependent family members. The spouse can work in Canada on an open work permit and minor children can study without onerous study permit requirements.