As international companies can be spread across the globe, Canada takes into consideration that branch companies in Canada may require the transfer of internal skills and knowledge from parent companies abroad. These skills can only be gained through experience and in depth knowledge of the business. For this reason, Canada has adopted the intra company transferee program which is aimed at assisting companies either take root or continue to expand with the influx of experience from the parent company abroad.
There are a few things to consider before undertaking this route. You first need to be sure your home company and the company in Canada meet the right qualifications before you determine whether you yourself meet the right qualifications.
How do I know my company and its Canadian counterpart qualify?
In order for the two companies to meet the criteria, they have to have what is called a "qualifying relationship." This means that the Canadian company and the foreign company must be:
- Legal entities that are doing business through a branch, parent or subsidiary
- The Canadian company must be doing business in Canada and be active with the Canadian job force
- Must be operating in Canada and at least one other country
Demonstrating the above can be complicated at times as the proper documentation can be complex. Some basic documents required are articles of incorporation, business licences, shareholder agreements, tax information etc.
An intra company transferee meets very basic criteria:
- Must have worked with the company for at least one year continuously within the last three years prior to the application
- Is intended to transfer from the parent company to the same or affiliate company in Canada
- His duties must be considered to be managerial, executive or require specialized knowledge
Being an intra company transferee under NAFTA simply means that you will be transferred to Canada from the other countries that comprise NAFTA, which are the United States or Mexico.
Managerial, executive or specialized knowledge; which am I?
Providing the right documentation based on your intended duties in Canada can easily make or break your application.
Executive Capacity: you primarily direct management, establish goals and policies, have broad decision making powers and may receive general supervision by higher level executives, board members or shareholders depending on the corporation
Managerial Capacity: you manage the organization, department or function, supervise the work of others, have the ability to hire and fire, have control over the day to day functionality of the organization
Specialized Knowledge: you possess knowledge of the company's product/service or processes and procedures and are uniquely qualified to contribute to the Canadian company's employment force based on previous success abroad and/or your prior experience with the employer
Once you have determined that your company has a qualifying relationship and you meet the basic criteria of an intra company transferee, it is only a matter of compiling the proper documentation and acquiring your work permit. Under NAFTA, intra company transferees or exempt from first having to acquire a Labour Market Opinion prior to obtaining a work permit.
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