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International Business Start-ups In Canada

International Business Start-ups In Canada


Canada has created a special category for foreign businesses that want to set up new operations in Canada through the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) category.

The ICT Start-Up Program allows senior management and key staff of a foreign business to travel to Canada on a temporary basis to open a new office and begin doing business.

When applying for an ICT Start-Up visa, applicants must demonstrate their company’s ability to become established in Canada, which includes:

  • Evidence that the company can financially support the start-up costs of the operation and has the ability to compensate employees.
  • Preparing a business plan that outlines realistic plans for staffing the new operation and doing business in Canada.
  • Evidence that physical premises have been secured (or are in the process of securing).

Employees being transferred through the ICT Start-Up program must fall under one of two categories:

  • Executive/Managerial: The company must demonstrate that it is large enough to support an executive/managerial function.
  • Specialized Knowledge:
    • the company must demonstrate that the employee’s knowledge is proprietary and is essential to start-up operations;
    • demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business;
    • ensure that the employee’s work will be overseen by Canadian management

The ICT Start-Up program provides a one-year temporary work permit. Renewal of this type of permit is conditional to the company fulfilling three major factors:

  • the Canadian and foreign companies must maintain a qualifying relationship (branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the foreign employer);
  • Canadian business and the foreign company must have engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year; and
  • the new office must have been staffed.