International Mobility Program (IMP) allows high-skilled foreign workers to temporarily work in Canada as an Intra-Company Transferee (ICT). If an international company has a location (branch, subsidiary, or affiliate) in Canada that company can transfer their employee to the Canadian location. Employers bringing international staff to Canada as intra-company transferees are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) as they provide significant economic benefit to Canada through the transfer of their expertise to Canadian businesses. Intra-company transferees may be from any country.
Intra-Company Transfer Categories
Under the Intra-Company transfer program, foreign workers must fall into one of three defined categories (executive, senior manager, and worker with specialized knowledge).
A position must meet some or all the following criteria to meet the definition of executives:
Directs the management of the organization or a major component or function of the organization..
Establishes the goals and policies of the organization, component, or function.
Exercises wide latitude in discretionary decision-making.
Receives only general supervision or direction from higher level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders of the organization/company.
A position must meet some or all the following criteria to meet the definition of Senior Manager:
Manages the organization/company, or a department, subdivision, function, or component of the organization. .
Supervises and controls the work of other supervisory, professional, or managerial employees, or manages an essential function within the organization, or a department or subdivision of the organization. .
Has the authority to hire and fire or recommend those, as well as other, personnel actions (such as promotion and leave authorization); if no other employee is directly supervised, functions at a senior level within the organization hierarchy or with respect to the function managed..
Exercises discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function for which the employee has the authority. .
A position having “specialized knowledge” requires both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise.
Proprietary Knowledge: “company-specific expertise related to a company’s product or services. It implies that the company has not divulged specifications that would allow other companies to duplicate the product or service.”
Advanced Expertise: “specialized knowledge gained through significant (i.e., the longer the experience, the more likely the knowledge is indeed “specialized”) and recent (i.e., within the last 5 years) experience with the organization and used by the individual to contribute significantly to the employer’s productivity.”
You are currently employed by an international company and seeking entry to Canada in a parent, subsidiary, branch, or an affiliate of that company.
You are transferring to a company that has a qualifying relationship and will be undertaking employment at a legitimate and continuing establishment of that company.
You are being transferred to a position in an executive, senior managerial, or specialized knowledge capacity.
You 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.
You are coming to Canada for a temporary period only.
You comply with all the immigration requirements for temporary entry.
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.
The company must furnish realistic plans to staff the new operation.
The company must have the financial ability to commence business in Canada and compensate employees.
When transferring executives or managers, the company must demonstrate that it will be large enough to support executive or management function.
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.
Confirmation that the foreign national is currently employed by a multi-national company outside Canada, and seeking entry to work in a parent, subsidiary, branch, or affiliate of that enterprise in Canada.
Confirmation that the foreign national has been employed (via payroll or by contract) continuously (full-time, not accumulated part-time) by the company outside Canada, in a similar full-time position, for at least one year within the three-year period immediately preceding the date of initial application.
Outline of the applicant’s position in an executive or managerial capacity or one involving specialized knowledge (i.e., position, title, place in the organization, job description).
In the case of “specialized knowledge”, evidence that the person has such knowledge and that the position in Canada requires such knowledge.
Outline of the position in Canada (namely, position, title, place in the organization, job description).
Indication of intended duration of stay.
Description of the relationship between the company in Canada and foreign country (the officer may request tangible proof to establish the relationship between the Canadian and foreign organization wishing to make the transfer).
Work Permit Duration
The initial work permit is usually granted for 1 year. In certain cases, the IRCC may issue a work permit for 2 years, provided that the company in Canada is a subsidiary of the established foreign company.
The work permit can be renewed several times (for 2-3 years at a time and up to 7 years in total) provided that all the requirements of the program are met (such as having an office in Canada, employing at least 1 staff member who is a Canadian permanent resident or citizen and active business in both Canada and the home country).
Average processing time for the Intra-Company Transfer is 2 to 10 weeks but there are priority processing options. Those who are qualified for the 2-week processing time will get the Intra-Company Transfer visa within 2 weeks. This priority processing option is for visa-exempt countries (biometrics processing is not included in these 2 weeks).