Intra-Company Transfers to Canada

Intra-Company Transfers to Canada

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 Transfer 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.


In order for the relationship between the Canadian company and the foreign employer to qualify both entities must be legal and doing business through a parent, branch, affiliate or subsidiary office and be a qualifying business.

Proof the business is a legal entity

i. Articles of incorporation

ii. Partnership agreements

iii. Business license

iv. Tax returns

Doing Business
Regular and continuous production of good and or services

An entity which has subsidiaries

Part of the same organization operating in a different location

i. One of the two subsidiaries owned by the same parent

ii. One of two entities owned by the same person or group where there is approximate equal ownership

An entity owned by a parent where the parent

i. Owns 50 or more percent

ii. Owns 50 or more percent of joint venture

iii. Owns less than 50 percent but has actual control

Non-qualifying businesses
i. Contractual, licensing or franchise agreements

ii. Less than 50/50 joint ventures

Once the applicant has been able to demonstrate that the entities in both countries have a qualifying relationship, the parties next must demonstrate that a qualifying relationship between the company and the foreign worker exists. The individual transferred must be employed by the company outside Canada for at least one year within the previous 3 years in either an executive/senior managerial position or a position requiring specialized knowledge.

i. Executive – typically means the employee directs the management of the organization or a major component of the organization. Such a person would establish goals, policies, and exercises wide latitude in terms of decisions making.

ii. Senior Managerial – typically means the employer manages some part of the company such as a department, subdivision or component. Managerial capacity typically involves control over other managers or professional employees. It typically does not involve a direct “field” or operational management.

iii. Specialized knowledge – typically means knowledge of the company’s products or services or processes and procedures. It can include knowledge of the services, research, equipment, techniques, management, or other interests and its application in international markets. Positions with specialized knowledge typically require a bachelor degree or equivalent.

Whether working in an Executive, Senior Managerial or Specialized knowledge capacity, work done in Canada must be directed by the Canadian entity but the employee may continue to be paid by the foreign entity.

Intra-Company Transfer work permit duration

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) stipulate 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.