On July 4, 2011, Citizenship and Immigration Canada ("CIC") published an Operational Bulletin instructing CIC Officers (at the border and inland) on how to interpret the assessment criteria of intra-company transferee applications under the specialized knowledge category.
Following the dissolution of the IT Worker program in September 2010, CIC has observed a significant increase of intra-company transfer applications in the specialized knowledge category. As a result, CIC released new guidelines on the assessment of specialized knowledge applications, particularly the nexus between the salary offered and the position.
According to the new guidelines, job offers must present salaries that are "realistic" in terms of Canadian wage levels for the occupation concerned. CIC Officers are instructed to approximate the "average wage" for the stated occupation, as classified in the National Occupation Classification (NOC), in the specified geographic region of employment.
The new guidelines remind Officers that, while salary should be heavily weighted in determining eligibility under the specialized knowledge category, they must consider other factors when determining whether an applicant possesses specialized knowledge. These factors include:
- Education - is a diploma or degree required for the position sought?
- Knowledge - is it relatively unique within the company and industry in that it is not commonly held?
- Experience - does the experience with the foreign company/the respective industry support the claim of specialized knowledge?
- Relevant training - does any previous training support the claim to specialized knowledge?
- Supporting documentation - do the resume, reference letters, etc. support the claim?
This new policy suggests that all specialized knowledge applications will now be subject, at least to a certain extent, to a determination of the prevailing wage. This determination is based on two factors: (1) NOC code for the position and (2) region where the position will be located. Prevailing wage information can be found here. For positions not limited to one specific region in Canada, the wage offered to the foreign national must meet the highest prevailing wage for any of the relevant regions where the employee will be assigned.