When foreign companies set up their first subsidiaries in Canada, they often use the following types of visas and programs:
Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA)
When a Canadian employer wants to hire a foreign worker temporarily through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) or permanently through the International Mobility Program (IMP), they usually need to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment unless an exemption applies. The LMIA application requires the employer to demonstrate that they have made efforts to recruit Canadian citizens or permanent residents but were unable to find suitable candidates.
The LMIA process is designed to protect Canadian workers by ensuring that there is a genuine need for a foreign worker to fill a specific job position that cannot be filled by a Canadian citizen or permanent resident.
Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Program
The Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program is an immigration pathway that allows multinational companies to transfer their employees from a foreign branch, subsidiary, or affiliate to work in a related position within their Canadian operations. Intra-Company Transferee work permits fall under the International
Mobility Program and require a qualifying relationship between the foreign company and the Canadian entity. The ICT program recognizes that the mobility of specialized personnel within a multinational corporation can contribute to the growth and competitiveness of the company in Canada.
Start-up Visa Program
The Start Up Visa Program is designed for foreign entrepreneurs who want to establish innovative businesses in Canada. To qualify, entrepreneurs must secure a commitment from a designated Canadian venture capital fund, angel investor group, or business incubator. Applicants must demonstrate that their business idea is innovative, has the potential for growth, and can create jobs for Canadians.
Alberta saw over 51,000 people move to the province in Q1-2023
Provincial Nominee Program (PNP)
Each province and territory in Canada has its own PNP, allowing them to nominate foreign entrepreneurs and investors based on their specific economic needs. PNP streams, such as the Entrepreneur or Business Investor categories, provide avenues for foreign companies to establish their subsidiaries in specific provinces or territories. The requirements and processes vary between provinces and may involve minimum investment thresholds, business experience, and business plans.
Foreign companies may acquire or establish a Canadian subsidiary and operate it as an owner/operator. This pathway requires the foreign company owner to apply for an LMIA, demonstrating that they will actively manage and operate the Canadian entity. The owner/operator must provide a detailed business plan, financial statements, and evidence of relevant experience and qualifications.