Move Company to Canada

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How to Move Your Company To Canada

Relocating your existing company abroad can be both challenging and rewarding. As an immigration destination, Canada remains an attractive choice for entrepreneurs, business immigrants, and workers.

If you’re thinking about expanding your business to Canada, the team at Sobirovs Law Firm can help you move your existing Company to Canada. Here is an overview of the main points and steps to consider when moving to Canada.

Flowchart of how to move company to Canada that outlines the entire business immigration process

Step-by-Step Guide on How To Expand Your Business to Canada

If you want to set-up your company’s operations in Canada and obtain a Canadian work permit for yourself or your team members, you should consider applying for the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) program. The ICT program allows foreign companies to expand to Canada and transfer their staff members (executive, managerial or specialized knowledge employees) to work in Canada. To be eligible for this program, both the expanding company and the applicant must meet a number of requirements as discussed below.

Getting a work permit may take approximately 2-4 months depending on your country of nationality and a number of other factors.

Below are the steps to follow in order to expand your business to Canada.

Step 1: Check if your company is eligible to expand to Canada under the Intra-Company Transferee Program

Not all business owners can move their companies to Canada. There are multiple requirements that both the expanding companies and the chosen applicants must meet to benefit from the provisions of the ICT program.

Requirements for Foreign Companies:

  • Active engagement in business: your home company must be fully operational and currently engaged in doing business (selling services or goods, having employees, customers and generating revenue).
  • History of operations: your company must be at least 1 year old. The older the company, the more support it can lend to your application.
  • Sufficient gross revenue: your company must have sufficient revenue to fund the expansion to Canada. While there are no minimum revenue requirements, your business should be able to demonstrate gross sales of CAD $300,000+. If your company’s revenue is less than that, talk to a lawyer on how to properly strategize your company’s expansion efforts.
  • Availability of liquid funds to expand: while there is no minimum amount to operate a business in Canada, your company should be able to demonstrate sufficient funds to finance operations in Canada. We recommend setting aside at least CAD $100,000 to sustain the business during the first year of operations.
  • Rationale for expansion: your company should have good business reasons to expand to Canada. For example, better serving customers in North America or engaging in export activities from Canada are usually considered good reasons to expand. There may be other good reasons to expand, so make sure to discuss this aspect with your immigration lawyer.

Requirements for Applicants:

  • Position in your home country: you must hold a position of an executive, senior manager, or specialized knowledge worker in your current company.
  • Length of employment: You must demonstrate that you are currently employed by your home company and have at least 1 year of work experience in the past 3 years in this position for your company.
  • Position in Canada: you must demonstrate that you are being transferred to a similar position in Canada.

If you think your company meets the eligibility criteria for the ICT program, you can proceed to the next step,  which is registering your company’s presence in Canada.

Step 2: Establish your company in Canada

When establishing your presence in Canada, it is important to pay attention to the corporate ownership structure of your Canadian company. The law requires that your existing business in your home country and your company in Canada must have a parent/subsidiary or an affiliate relationship. In other words, your Canadian company must be registered as a parent, subsidiary or as an affiliate company of your existing business.

  • Subsidiary relationship between two companies exists when your foreign company owns and controls your Canadian company.
  • Parent relationship is established when your Canadian company owns and controls your home company.
  • Affiliate relationship is established when same individuals (or group of individuals) who own and control your home company also own and control your company in Canada.

Once you are clear about your Canadian company’s ownership structure, you need to decide where to base your first corporate office in Canada. If you wish to register a Federal company in Canada, then you must have at least 1 Canadian Director in your business. Some provinces do not require the presence of the Canadian Director when establishing a business in Canada.

For example, if you want to base your business in Ontario or British Columbia, you do not need a Canadian Director. On the other hand, if your target province is Alberta, then you would need to nominate at least 1 Canadian director who will be responsible and accountable for managing your Canadian operations. If you don’t have someone who can act as your Canadian Director, you should get your Canadian law firm’s guidance on this issue or talk to an accounting form in Canada who can assist you with this matter.

Step 3: Apply for ICT Work Permit

Once your company is registered in Canada, you can apply for a work permit to work at your newly established Canadian company. In order to apply for a work permit, you must collect and present Canadian immigration officers a number of documents to demonstrate your eligibility under the ICT program. Make sure to include the following documents:

  • Foreign Company Documents: company registration documents clearly showing the date of establishment (must be at least 1 year old company), ownership documents & proof of engagement in business (website, marketing materials, tax filings, licenses/permits, commercial lease agreement, employee remittance payments etc.).
  • Applicant’s Employment History with the Company: employment contract, employment records & payslips, personal tax filings with employment information on it, proof of remuneration or dividend payments (for business owners), company’s org chart, business cards, reference letters, etc.
  • Financial Documents: company’s tax reports with information on gross revenues and sales reports; corporate bank statements showing sufficient liquid funds to expand.
  • Canadian company documents: registration documents (Articles of Incorporation), licenses & permits (if any), shareholder agreement or share certificate confirming ownership of the company; lease agreement (if any), financial documents (if any) and marketing material (website and other promotional material, if any).
  • If this is your first ICT transfer: include a Business Plan that clearly explains the rationale for expansion, proposed business activity, investment amount, cashflow projections and hiring plan.
  • Transfer Letter: include a letter from the home company explaining the applicant’s current role in the company (executive, managerial or specialized knowledge worker), the position they will be taking in Canada, and why their presence in Canada is required.
  • Applicant’s Personal Documents: you should also include personal documents of the applicant such as a Resume, educational credentials, certificates & licenses, reference letters, and any evidence of the applicant’s advance education or expertise. You should also include evidence which demonstrates ties to home country (like assets, resident family members, etc.), their travel history, police clearances, medical examination results and other important documents.

ICT work permits are usually issued for 2 years. However, for newly established companies in Canada, the initial work permit may be issued for 1 year and can later be extended multiple times. Your spouse/partner and children under 22 can accompany you to Canada.

an Air Canada airplane landing on the tarmac

Step 4: Arrive and Begin Working in Canada

It usually takes between 1-4 months for the Canadian authorities to process your work permit application.

Once your work permit application is approved, you will be issued a work visa to travel to Canada (depending on your citizenship). The work permit document will be issued at the port of entry upon your arrival to Canada.

In order to extend your ICT work permit , you must demonstrate to the Canadian immigration authorities that you have successfully established your operations in Canada and have been actively doing business. Specifically, the officer will assess the following factors before extending your ICT work permit application:

  • Business in Canada: by the time you apply for extension, you must be able to demonstrate that you have a genuine business in Canada, and that your business is actively selling goods or services to customers in Canada or around the world. Note that you do not necessarily have to be a profitable business, but your business should be viable and generate enough revenue to cover the costs of your operations and pay your employees.
  • Physical Presence: Your company must have a physical presence in Canada and should not be operated virtually from Canada. Given the fact that many businesses now operate virtually or remotely in the new post-pandemic era, your company is still required to secure commercial premises (can be shared or co-working space) in Canada where you and your employees can work from.
  • Employees in Canada: the officer will also assess if your company has employees working in Canada. Even if your employees work remotely in Canada, you must demonstrate that your business has at least 1 local employee by the time you apply for extension. Keep in mind, the officer must be satisfied that your presence in Canada is still required when you apply for your ICT work permit extension. Therefore, you must demonstrate that your business is active and your leadership is essential for your team in Canada.
  • Foreign Company: your foreign company must continue to be actively engaged in doing business in your home country with the same ownership structure as in your initial work permit application.

These are the most important factors to be established and demonstrated to the Canadian immigration authorities to extend the ICT work permit. 

hands typing on a laptop

Step 5: Apply for Permanent Residence

After 12 months of employment in Canada under the ICT work permit you may be eligible to apply for permanent residence in Canada under the Express Entry program, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria and obtain sufficient CRS scores. You can obtain 200 (executives and senior managers) or 50 (specialized knowledge workers) additional CRS points towards your Express Entry application if you have a job offer from your company in Canada without the need to secure an LMIA approval first.

Keep in mind that in order to apply for permanent residence you must meet the following eligibility criteria in addition to other requirements:

  • Scoring at least CLB 7 for your language skills (IELTS General Test score of 6 for each band);
  • Having at least 1-year post-secondary education;
  • A police clearance for every country where you lived for more than 6 months in the past 10 years;
  • Medically fit and have no serious medical conditions.

This is how existing foreign companies may expand into Canada.  If you still have questions, please contact us.

Sobirovs Law Firm Can Help

We hope that we’ve given you an understanding of the process of expanding your company from any part of the world to Canada using the ICT program. You can now decide whenever you are ready to take your company to the next level.

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There have been many cases recorded in the past where people took this step of courage to expand their companies to Canada and have seen boosted profits. As with doing business anywhere, doing business in Canada has its challenges. Nonetheless, the advantages of expanding your business to Canada are far greater than the challenges themselves. We are here to help you overcome them!

For more information on moving your company to Canada, speak to our senior business immigration lawyer. The business immigration experts at the Sobirovs Law Firm will not just help you move your existing company to Canada but will also help you choose the right type of business entity when moving your business to Canada.

Learn more about Golden Visas in Canada

Reasons to Bring Your Business to Canada

Canada is the world’s 2nd largest country by land area and the 10th largest economy. Entering Canada comes with many benefits, such as exploring new markets, taking advantage of the government’s incentives, and enjoying business-friendly laws and regulations.

An Ever-Growing Economy

With an ever-growing economy, Canada facilitates global business owners. Many such business owners and business immigrants wonder whether they can move their companies to Canada, and face disproportionate fear and anxiety when considering the challenges that come with making such an immigration decision.

The steps to moving your company to Canada are fairly straightforward. We will help break down the complexities and highlight the benefits of moving or expanding your company. The following are some of the many reasons that entrepreneurs all over the world are choosing to benefit from the opportunities that Canada has to offer them.

Comparatively lower costs of expansion than the United States

The U.S. and Canada are two similar countries, but there are some major differences. A 2016 study report by KPMG suggests that the cost of doing business in Canada is 14.6% lower for U.S. companies than in the U.S. This provides Canada with a competitive edge over not only the US, but other industrialized nations like the UK, Australia, Germany, and Japan as well.

Canada also boasts a number of business-focused policies and standards to help attract thriving businesses and innovative entrepreneurs. They include:

Low Corporate Taxes

The tax rate in Canada’s corporate system in 2019 was as low as 15%, which is marked to be an economical rate internationally. In contrast, the corporate tax was 21% in the US by 2019, which remains an extra cost and tax burden for companies.

Access to the US and Mexico Markets through the new NAFTA

Canada also enjoys the benefits of having trade agreements with many other countries. Due to the new Canada-United States-Mexico Agreement, Canada has access to the US and Mexico markets, providing exponential benefits to new and growing companies choosing Canada as their home.

Friendly Immigration Policies

Canada provides immigrants with easy, welcoming, and feasible policies. The Canadian immigration system is based on merits and prefers skilled and degree-holding immigrants. It possesses one of the highest per-capita immigration rates among developed nations. In 2018 alone, Canada welcomed over 310,000 immigrants into the country.

Highly skilled workforce

Canada has historically been the go-to destination for high-skilled workforce migrants. Access to a highly skilled workforce is one of the main competitive advantages of Canadian companies.

Ease of Doing Business

Canada ranks 22nd out of 190 countries in the Ease of Doing Business rankings of the World Bank, and a breakdown of that statistic puts Canada third in ease of starting a business and seventh in ease of obtaining credit. Apart from this, other factors also make doing business easy in Canada.

The natural resources in Canada provide a positive aspect of the Canadian economy. Canada’s oil and natural gas provided $108 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2018, supported nearly 530,000 jobs across the country in 2017 and provided the government with average annual revenue of $8 billion for the 2016-2018 period.

Fundamental human rights and additional freedoms are guaranteed in Canada. Business immigrants can benefit from free health care and free secondary education for their children if they opt for Canada for their company’s international expansion.

Bringing You, Your Tech Talent & Your Business To Canada

Get started and make your first step towards Canada. Book your 1-hour strategy meeting with a licensed Canadian immigration lawyer.

Immigration to Canada can be very complicated for businesses, business owners, and foreign employees. Hiring business immigration lawyers with the skill, experience, and patience is often crucial to successfully navigating this complex process. The experienced professionals at Sobirovs Law Firm offer tailored legal services in all business and corporate immigration matters. Contact us for more information on how we can help you meet your immigration needs.

We have worked with & represented clients from all walks of life. Always just one call – or click – away, weʼre happy to help you begin your & your familyʼs journey to Canada.

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Our Clients Say…

Yemi Okunbor
Yemi Okunbor
From the initial consultation to the successful acquisition of my permanent resident card, the entire process was seamless and stress free.A big thank you to the entire Sobirovs team, especially Yulia, and Farouk. They demonstrated exceptional expertise and professionalism throughout, guiding me with precision and clarity. Their commitment to providing personalized and thorough assistance made a significant impact on my overall experience. Thank you, Sobirovs law firm for your exceptional service and for making my journey to permanent residency a smooth and gratifying experience.
Kenneth Leong
Kenneth Leong
I must say that SOBIROVS has an excellent team to guide us to getting our work permits approved. I want to personally thank Feruza, Judy, Owen and Medina in getting us "pass the gates". Not to mention the entire team that is behind the scene. My family and I are deeply grateful for their excellent work and professional advice. A special thanks to Ms Judy for her untiring dedication to making this opportunity a reality for my family and I. We have full confidence in Feruza and her team and I will continue to use their services for the next step of our application for PR status later on.
Siarhei Vasilyeu
Siarhei Vasilyeu
My family (5) have chosen Sobirovs for our ICT visa application, and now we confidently recommend them! Right from the start you will be assigned a special team within their firm who will be busy with your plans, needs and documents. The process is organized very efficiently, what is crucial when you run your own business on your side. Once the documents submitted to IRCC, the pre-submission team entrust your case to post-submission group, who monitor the progress and keep you constantly updated what's going on with the case. As a result, our ICT application was approved in just several weeks from submission, just wooow. Thank you and thumbs up for Monique, Mariam, Owen, Madina, and Ms. Feruza who was our lead lawyer. Sobirovs is your smart choice, they know how to do the rest.
Muzammil Habib
Muzammil Habib
I would like to thanks Sobirovs Law Firm team especially Monique, Mariiam Jamal, Owen and Ms. Feroza. They done a great job and help me to get ICT work permit. Their team work was excllent and they worked professionally. Here I would like to present my special thanks for Monique who communicated with me nicely. She respond me quickly whatever I have questions in my mind. She is so nice I like her working style. In the end I can say that all of them are really professional. Thanks for all this. Hope to see you soon.
Rahul C
Rahul C
Exceptional service of the utmost quality and professionalism. I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the entire team, with special acknowledgments to Nity, Judy, Feruza, Owen, and Medina, for their invaluable assistance in securing the approval of my application. I am sincerely appreciative of the outstanding service and unwavering support provided. This is by far the best immigration law firms in Canada who work with complete transparency.
Ulugbek Holmatov
Ulugbek Holmatov
Great job 👏👏👏👏 Great leader, Rakhmad Sobirov for his leadership skills and great managers: Feruza, Monique, Mariam, Owen, Madina for their respective professionalism 👌👌👌 Well organized and professional law team for Canadian immigration. I really enjoyed with my Canadian business visa process. I really appreciate Sobirovs Law firm for their great service and experience. P.S.: This law firm was selected by Our company among top 5 law firms for Canadian business immigration process Great successes🎉
Thomas Bulmer
Thomas Bulmer
Mariam, Monique and the team have been great to work with. Sobirov's has helped a number of our team members identify, apply for and get granted the necessary visas for us to set up our Canadian enterprise. Recommend.
Jason Tsarouhas
Jason Tsarouhas
Mariam and her team have helped us migrate our entire workforce from Australia to Canada. We couldn't have been more prepared by the time we made it to the border. The team were accessible, informative and detail orientated which is exactly what you want when you have stresses of moving your company and life to the other side of the world! A HUGE thank you to the team for their efforts so far and future work we'll be doing together! Jason, Learning Online!
Victor Arakaki
Victor Arakaki
We're incredibly grateful for the fantastic work done by the entire Sobirovs team!. While our work permit application had its share of challenges, Feruza, an outstanding lawyer with extensive expertise in business immigration, played a pivotal role. Her leadership and guidance were so important in getting our Work Permits approval. We must also acknowledge the exceptional contributions of Judy Lee, Nitty, Monique, Rachel and the rest of the team who supported us on this journey. It's clear that we'll continue to entrust Feruza and her team with any of our future legal needs. We have full confidence in Feruza and her team and highly recommend their services.
Hardik Vyas
Hardik Vyas
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I cannot express enough how impressed and satisfied I am with Sobirovs Law Firm's immigration services. Their professionalism and extensive knowledge in the field of immigration are truly outstanding. We recently applied for an ICT (Intra-Company Transfer) application, and to our amazement, we received a decision within just two months from the date of application. This prompt and efficient service reflects the exceptional quality of Sobirovs' work. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Feruza, Mariam, Monique, Owen, and the entire post-submission team who guided us through every step of the application process. Their dedication, expertise, and willingness to assist were invaluable throughout the entire journey. We are now filled with excitement as we embark on our new journey, thanks to Sobirovs Law Firm's assistance. Without a doubt, we will be relying on their services for all our future matters related to permanent residency or immigration services. I wholeheartedly recommend Sobirovs Law Firm to anyone seeking top-notch immigration assistance. Their commitment to their clients and their ability to deliver results is truly commendable. Thank you, Sobirovs, for making our dreams a reality!

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