The Intra-Company transfer policy under the new Canadian immigration regulations allows international companies to transfer qualified employees (executives, senior managers and specialized knowledge workers) to the Canadian branch, subsidiary or affiliate of an international company, temporarily in order to improve management effectiveness, expand Canadian exports, and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian entities in overseas markets. There is no requirement for the employer to first apply to Service Canada for a Labour Market Opinion.
Canada’s general policy regarding intra-company transfers has been harmonized with the provisions in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). This means that:
- There are difference in terms of entry requirements and durations of Work Permits, and
- The policy is universally applied to citizens of all countries
This provision can be very useful for foreign companies who wish to establish a presence in North America but have failed to obtain work visa to USA. Low operating costs and greater government benefits in Canada such as government loans, grants and subsidies compared to USA can immensely benefit companies in the IT, Telecom, Manufacturing, R & D industry and Exports.
An applicant seeking a work permit to open a new office on behalf of the foreign enterprise may also qualify, having established that the enterprise in Canada is expected to support a managerial, executive or specialized knowledge worker. An applicant may apply for the work permit in advance at any Canadian Visa Office. Alternatively, the foreign worker may apply for the permit at a Canadian Port of Entry. Also, if the foreign worker is in Canada as a Visitor, a work permit application can be filed within Canada.
There are certain General Criteria applicable to all the intracompany transferee provisions. These fall into the following categories:
- There must be a qualifying relationship between the Canadian and the foreign employer,
- There must be a qualifying relationship between the employer and the foreign worker, and,
- The foreign worker must be working in a qualifying occupations