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Intra-company transferees

If you are a staff member or employee of a foreign company that has branches, offices or subsidiaries in Canada, you may be able to obtain a Canadian work permit through the  program for people transferred within a company also called Intra-Company Transfer Program.

Only foreign companies that have branches in Canada have the opportunity to apply for the International Mobility Program and make an intra-company transfer for one of their employees.

This process, if successful, leads the personnel concerned to work under the Canadian branch of the company that qualifies there.

Intra-company transfer is a work permit exempt from LMIA. As a result, employers who bring foreign staff in Canada as intra-company transferees are exempt from the requirements for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). This makes the process much easier, faster and more cost-effective.

The workers for whom a work permit can be obtained are:

  • Executives and senior managers
  • Workers who have acquired specialized knowledge

Executives and managers are defined as follows:

  • Manage an organization or a major component or function of that organization;
  • Has the power to set objectives and policies;
  • Has wide latitude in discretionary decision-making; and
  • Is supervised only by senior management, the board of directors or shareholders;
  • Has been working in the foreign subsidiary for at least one year full-time.

Workers with specialized knowledge are defined as follows:

  • Exclusive and advanced know-how specific to the company and linked to its products and services;
  • An advanced level of expertise is also required, which is specialized knowledge gained through significant experience (for example: the longer experience a worker has, the more likely it is that his knowledge is actually “specialized”);
  • A recent level of expertise (for example: within the last five years) with the organization and used by the individual to contribute significantly to the employer’s productivity.

In assessing this know-how or knowledge, officers assess:

  • the skills are exceptional and different from what usually exists in a particular industry, and are difficult to transfer to another person over a short period of time;
  • the knowledge or expertise is exceptional in the industry and within the company in question;
  • they must be of such a nature that the applicant’s proprietary know-how is essential to the activities of the Canadian subsidiary and that the absence of such know-how would result in a significant disruption of its activities;
  • the applicant’s proprietary expertise in a particular process or mode of operation of the business must be exceptional, not widely used within the organization, and not likely to be available in the Canadian labour market.

Eligible intra-business transferees provide a significant economic advantage in Canada through the transfer of their technical know-how, skills and expertise to the Canadian labour market.

Eligibility Criteria

Intra-company transferees may apply for a work permit under the general provisions if they meet the following conditions:

  • they are currently employed by a multinational and applying for admission to Canada to work for a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate of that company;
  • they are transferred to a business that has an eligible relationship with the business in which they currently work and that they will be employed in a legitimate and consistent facility of that business (for which an assignment of 18 to 24 months may serve as a reasonable minimum);
  • they are transferred to a position of executive, senior manager or worker with specialized knowledge;
  • they have held a similar position on a continuous basis (permanent or contractual following the signing of a contract directly with the company) on a full-time basis (and not the accumulation of part-time hours) in the company that intends to transfer them, abroad, for at least one year in the three years immediately preceding the date of the initial application; extensions may be granted up to 5 years (specialized knowledge) and a maximum of 7 years (executive and manager)
  • they come to Canada only for a temporary period;
  • they meet all existing immigration requirements for temporary admission.

If it is a company recently affected by an acquisition or merger, the applicant does not have to have worked for a year for the company from which he or she is transferred. It is sufficient that he has worked for one of the affiliates for at least one year in the previous three years, provided that the new “successor entity” can demonstrate that it has assumed the interest, obligations, assets and liabilities of the original owner, and engages in the same type of activities as the original owner.

Required documents

The following documents are required:

  • confirmation that the foreign national is currently employed by a multinational abroad and is seeking admission to Canada to work for a parent, subsidiary, branch or affiliate of the company in Canada;
  • confirmation that the foreign national has continuously held a similar position (permanent or contract) in the business abroad, on a full-time basis (and not a combination of hours of part-time work), for at least one year in the three years immediately preceding the date of the initial application;
  • the person’s job description, which must be an executive or manager position, or a position that requires specialized knowledge (position, title, rank in the organization, job description, etc.);
  • in respect of the class of workers with specialized knowledge, proof that the person concerned possesses that knowledge and that it is required for the proposed employment in Canada;
  • the description of the position in Canada (position, title, rank in the organization, job description);
  • an indication of the expected length of stay;
  • a description of the relationship between the business in Canada and that of the foreign country (the officer may require physical proof of the relationship between the Canadian business and the foreign company wishing to make the transfer).

Maximum duration of work permits for intra-company transferees

After the maximum duration of their work permit, people who have been transferred within a corporation (seven years for executives and managers, and five years for workers with specialized knowledge) must work full-time for one year with the corporation outside of Canada if they wish to apply again as a intra-company transferee. This requirement applies to all intra-corporate transferees, whether they entered Canada under the general provisions of paragraph 205(a) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations (IRPR) or the provisions of paragraph R204(a) on international agreements. This requirement also applies to foreign nationals who wish to change a work permit that was issued under paragraph R205(a) to a work permit issued under paragraph R204(a).

Spouses and children

It should be noted that spouses of work permit recipients under this program may also benefit from an open work permit covering the period of the conjugal partner’s work permit. Children can benefit from a visitor’s permit.

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