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Important Changes to the Specialized Knowledge Intra-company Transferee Work Permit Category

June 12, 2014

On June 9, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada released a much-anticipated update to its guidelines regarding the assessment of work permit applications under the intra-company transferee (ICT) category available to those who hold specialized knowledge. Dale & Lessmann LLP is well versed with both the outdated and updated guidelines, and can assist companies in determining whether their employees may be considered eligible as specialized knowledge workers under the new guidelines.

What’s the same?

Under the new guidelines, applicants will have to demonstrate that they possess both a high degree of proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise related to the employer’s product or services and the products’ or services’ application in international markets. This knowledge should be uncommon and relate to the company’s products, processes or procedures. The language of these new guidelines is not wildly different from previous instructions, but it is anticipated that there will be stricter adherence to the rules’ application by the immigration officers who consider ICT applications.

What’s new?

Every employer whose foreign workers utilize the ICT work permit category should be aware of the following two important changes:

  • Specialized knowledge workers should not require training in Canada related to the foreign worker’s area of expertise. Specialized knowledge workers must also not receive training from other employees where this training might lead to the displacement of Canadian workers; and
  • Specialized knowledge workers’ salary must satisfy the prevailing wage associated with their job duties and location of work. Practically speaking, this will mean that applicants must disclose their proposed salary in Canada and include evidence to that effect when filing their applications.

It is important to note that those whose ICT applications fall under a Free Trade Agreement, including the NAFTA, are exempt from the new wage requirement.

What are the implications of these changes?

Employers will now have to be much more careful when opting to use the specialized knowledge work permit category. Those who are already working in Canada under the specialized knowledge category may also have difficulties extending their work permits under the new guidelines.

Dale & Lessmann LLP invites you to contact a member of our Immigration Practice Group for advice on which workers remain eligible as specialized knowledge workers, or for alternative strategies for those who no longer qualify.

Tags: Canadian Business Immigration


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