This week, Citizenship and Immigration Canada ("CIC") announced significant changes to the Intra-Company Transfer ("ICT") work permit category, a Labour Market Opinion ("LMO") exempt category. As we discussed in our prior blog post entitled "Towards the US Model," it was anticipated that the requirements for Specialized Knowledge workers under this category would mirror the requirements for an L-1B visa in the United States.

The following changes are effective immediately:

  • In order to demonstrate that they have specialized knowledge, ICT applicants must hold both proprietary knowledge and advanced knowledge.
    • Proprietary knowledge is defined as company-specific expertise; and
    • Advanced knowledge is knowledge held by the applicant that is unique and uncommon in the industry and in the company.
  • If a worker is sufficiently specialized to qualify for this category, their wage must be indicative of this expertise. CIC has set a wage floor at the “prevailing wage” levels which will act as a guide for officers in assessing applications.

Officers have also been instructed to look at the characteristics of the employment to ensure that the applicant will be employed and supervised by the 'host' company, and that Temporary Foreign Workers (TFW) will not be entering Canada for training.

The policy with respect to wages does not apply to those applying under the North American Free Trade Agreement or other international trade agreements.

These changes will make the criteria for this category much stricter, and perhaps more challenging.