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NPZ Immigration Law Blog

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Canadian Law Group Transfers IT Workers to Canada!

The Canadian Law Group is pleased to announce that it continues to successfully transfer high-level IT workers from foreign countries like Israel, to Canada. This is indeed a success, considering the recent changes to intra-company transfer law.

This past summer, the Immigration branch of the Government of Canada, ("CIC") published a new guide for CIC officers assessing work permit applications for Intra-Company Transfers (ICTs) under the Specialized Knowledge category. The new criteria now includes a more stringent definition of "specialized knowledge" and a mandatory wage requirement. Individuals covered under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or under any future or current Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) appear to be exempt from these changes. It was expected that this change was primarily in response to the over-use of the specialized knowledge exemption category by the IT industry. Many employers in the IT field indeed used this category to transfer IT workers from foreign countries to Canada, advancing the argument that their workers had "specialized knowledge" of the IT programs and structure of the company. Under the new guideline, the argument that a worker knows C++ or Javascript will no longer fly, as this software is now considered common place in the IT industry. A worker in the IT field may now have a much harder go at showing specialized knowledge.

Under the new ICT- Specialized Knowledge definition, a person who applies as an ICT under the Specialized Knowledge Worker category must possess BOTH proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. Proprietary Knowledge: It is company-specific expertise related to a company's products or services. It is NOT common knowledge readily available in the Canadian labour market. An Advanced Level of Expertise: It is specialized knowledge gained through significant and recent (within the last five years) experience with the organization. Additionally, the individual must show that he or she contributes significantly to the employer's productivity.

Another change is that in order to receive an LMO- exempt work permit, an ICT worker who possesses specialized knowledge is now required to receive an above average salary. Officers will look at the specific occupation and region of work to determine the average salary in Canada.

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