International Mobility Program: Intra-Company Transfers
Q. I own an international company. Can I transfer an employee to our office in Canada? Submitted by Steven R.
What is an Intra-Company Transfer?
Intra-Company Transfer falls under the International Mobility Program. The International Mobility Program allows an employer in Canada to hire a temporary worker without a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). The employer would submit an offer of employment through the Employer Portal and the temporary foreign worker would apply for a work permit once that is approved.
The Intra-Company Transfer is a specific pathway under that program. It permits international companies to temporarily transfer qualified employees to Canada for the purpose of improving management effectiveness, expanding Canadian exports, and enhancing competitiveness in overseas markets. Qualified intra-company transferees require work permits but are exempted from the LMIA because they provide significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of their expertise to Canadian businesses. ICT work permits are initially valid for one year and may be eligible for renewal.
Intra-company transferees requirements
The transferee should be currently employed by a multi-national company and seeking entry to work in a parent, a subsidiary, a branch, or an affiliate of that enterprise;
They should be transferring to an enterprise that has a qualifying relationship with the enterprise in which they are currently employed, and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company;
They will need to be transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity;
They should also have been employed continuously by the company that plans to transfer them outside Canada in a similar full-time position for at least one year in the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application.
Note: If the applicant has not had full-time work experience with the foreign company,
the officer should consider other factors before refusing the applicant solely on this
basis, such as the following:
the number of years of work experience with the foreign company;
the similarity of the positions
the extent of the part-time position
signs that this is an abuse of the intra-company transferee provision.
The company must be operating in Canada
The Canadian and foreign locations must be ongoingly providing goods and services
When assessing start-up companies some key things to know are:
Generally, the company must secure physical premises to house the Canadian operation, particularly in the case of specialized knowledge. However, in specific cases involving senior managers or executives, it would be acceptable that the address of the new start-up not yet be secured; for example, the company may use its counsel’s address until the executive can purchase or lease a premise.
When transferring executives or managers, the company must demonstrate that it will be large enough to support executive or management functions.
When transferring a specialized knowledge worker, the company must demonstrate that it is expected to be doing business; and ensure that work is guided and directed by management at the Canadian operation.
Work Permit Duration
Most foreign nationals who have worked in Canada under the intra-company transferee category may again receive consideration under this category if they have been on an assignment with a branch of the same company in a foreign jurisdiction for at least 12 months. For example, a foreign national who worked in Canada as a specialized knowledge worker for two years for the Canadian entity, then transferred to an Australian branch of the same company for two years, would be eligible for consideration under the intra-company transferee provisions as a specialized worker for another five-year period, with the initial work permit not exceeding the three-year maximum duration.
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