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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 key staff members 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. They must provide documentation that shows that the company can financially support a start-up operation. They will also have to outline plans for staffing and doing business in Canada, and prove that they have secured (or are in the process of securing) physical premises.

Individuals 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; or

  • Specialized Knowledge: The company must show that the employee’s knowledge is proprietary and is essential to start-up operations.


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

  • The Canadian and foreign companies must maintain a qualifying relationship (branch, subsidiary or affiliate of the foreign employer);

  • Both the new Canadian office and the foreign employer must have engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year; and

  • The new office must have been staffed.


To learn if you or your company are eligible to apply to this program, please contact us.

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