You May Not Be That Specialized – New guidelines for assessing Intra-company Transfer – Specialized Knowledge work permits

On June 9, 2014, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) announced expanded guidelines for immigration and border service officers to follow when assessing work permit applications under the intra-company transfer – specialized knowledge category.  What’s Different?

  • Changes in interpreting what qualifies as “specialized knowledge”
  • Minimum wage requirement as set by Employment and Skills Development Canada (ESDC)

Specialized knowledge means that applicants must have both a high degree of proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. This includes abilities that are unusual and uncommon in the industry and within the company, knowledge and skills that are difficult to transfer to another person but are required by the Canadian business, expertise that would be difficult to recruit for in the Canadian labour market and knowledge that only a small percentage of the company’s employees would hold.

To find the minimum mandatory wages please go to ESDC’s site where low, median and high wages are listed for occupations using the Canadian National Occupation Classification (NOC). The mandatory minimum wages to be paid to intra-company transfers – specialized knowledge workers will be the median wages listed for each NOC occupation on this site. Please note that although the mandatory minimum wages do not apply to those applicants under NAFTA or other Free Trade Agreements with Canada, wages will be a factor that is considered by officers, as wages paid can be an important factor when assessing the expertise of a specialized knowledge worker.

Please note that the changes are effective immediately. CIC’s full Operational Bulletin can be found at:

As more pressure is placed on Canadian employers to look to the Canadian labour market before hiring foreign workers, we anticipate greater scrutiny and further changes to the temporary foreign worker program in the coming months.


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Helen Park

About Helen Park

Helen practices immigration law with a focus on business immigration for corporate clients and businesses in Canada, the United States and worldwide. She has extensive experience in all categories of work permit applications and she works closely with clients to provide strategic advice to fulfill their specialized work force and labor shortage needs.

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