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Intra-company transfers to Canada are a popular way for international workers to move to Canada. If you work for a company that has a parent company, branch, subsidiary, or affiliate in Canada, you may be able to secure a Canadian work permit through the Intra-company transfer program.

Approved applicants through the Intra-company transfer program obtain a temporary work permit. Work experience gained as an intra-company transferee in Canada may then be used as a springboard to permanent residence in Canada, as Canadian work experience is highly valued under Canada’s points-based immigration system.

Accompanying family members may also join the foreign worker in Canada, with the spouse or common-law partner of the intra-company transferee being able to work in Canada on an open work permit.

Employers bringing international staff to Canada as intra-company transferees are exempt from the requirement to obtain a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). For this reason, the process can be quicker, simpler, and more cost effective than the LMIA route. Qualified intra-company transferees provide ‘significant economic benefit to Canada’ through the transfer of their skills and expertise to the Canadian labour market. Intra-company transferees may be from any country.

Intra-company transfers to Canada: categories

In order to be eligible to work in Canada under the Intra-Company Transfer program, foreign workers must fall into one of three defined categories:

  • Executives primarily direct the management of the enterprise, or a major component thereof, and receive only general (if any) supervision from higher level executives.
  • Senior managers manage all or part of the enterprise and supervise or control the work of other managers or professional employees.
  • Workers with ‘specialized knowledge’ can demonstrate specialized knowledge of the enterprise’s product or service, or an advanced level of expertise in the enterprise’s processes and procedures.

In all cases, workers being transferred to Canada must have at least one year of full-time work experience with the foreign enterprise and be coming to Canada to perform comparable work. There must be a qualifying relationship between the employer and employee in order for a work permit to be issued.


Intra-company transfers to Canada: work permit duration

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stipulates that initial work permits granted under the Intra-Company Transfer program are typically for a one-year duration. However, these work permits may be renewed. For renewals, evidence should be provided that:

  • the Canadian and foreign companies still have a qualifying relationship;
  • the new office has engaged in the continuous provision of goods or services for the past year; and
  • the new office has been staffed appropriately.

Transition to permanent residence for intra-company transferees

Intra-company transferees are often in a strong position to become permanent residents of Canada, should they wish to do so. Permanent residents can reside and work in any location in Canada.

Since launching in 2015, Canada’s Express Entry immigration selection system has become the main driver of economic immigration to Canada. Intra-company transferees looking to transition to permanent residence can obtain Comprehensive Ranking System (CRS) points without first being issued a LMIA, making it relatively simple for intra-company transferees to increase their CRS score. In turn, this improves their chances of being invited to apply for permanent residence.

There may also be options to transition to permanent residence outside the Express Entry system, such as through one of the Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs).

Ultimately, some people who begin working in Canada as intra-company transferees may become naturalized Canadian citizens. This step comes after the granting of permanent residence.

Do you need assistance in preparing an application for Canadian permanent residence? If so, view our Book an Immigration Consultant page to see Moving2Canada’s list of recommended, accredited representatives who can assist you in your goals.

About the author

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Rebecca Major

Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant
Rebecca Major is a Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultant (R511564) with nearly 15 years of licenced Canadian Immigration experience, gained after graduating with a Bachelor of Laws in the UK. She specializes in Canadian immigration at Moving2Canada.
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