June 20, 2014:
Those responsible for global mobility to Canada should be aware that Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) released Operational Bulletin 575 on June 9, 2014, which provides expanded guidance to officers who process work permit applications for Intra-Company Transferees (ICT) applying under the Specialized Knowledge Labour Market Opinion (LMO) exemption category.
The rules, effective immediately, provide a more rigorous definition of specialized knowledge and establish a mandatory wage floor.
Specialized knowledge demonstration aspects:
- An applicant must demonstrate a high degree of both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise in order to meet the new requirements
- Applicants must demonstrate that they have “specialized knowledge gained through significant and recent experience with the organization and used by the individual to contribute significantly to the employer’s productivity”
- Applicants will demonstrate that the knowledge is unusual or different than typically found in that industry and which is critical to the business of the Canadian branch
- “Specialized Knowledge workers must therefore demonstrate that they are key personnel, not simply highly skilled”
This list is not exhaustive, but is indicative of the guidelines given to Immigration Officers.
It should be noted that since autumn 2010, CIC has been applying these rules (as a memo-based policy) in deciding applications for a work permit in a number of visa offices (VO) overseas, specifically in India and the Philippines.
It will be expected that applicants under the category will typically be paid a salary higher than the prevailing wage in the proposed location of employment for the particular occupation. This is simply a clarification that the Prevailing Wage is simply the minimum amount that must be paid to an intra-company transferee who possesses specialized knowledge.
Note: Non-cash per diems (i.e. hotel paid for by the employer) will not be considered in the calculation of the overall salary or wage. Only allowances compensated in monetary form and paid directly to the employee will be considered as part of salary / wage.
a) If companies use per diem payments to vendors or landlords directly, this practice should be reviewed if it is currently considered part of compensation;
b) Human Resource personnel responsible for global assignments and permanent transfers to Canada should communicate early and frequently with those recruiting from overseas offices for ICT Transfers with Specialized Knowledge. Those responsible for recruiting for assignments to Canada should always conduct early reviews of candidates’ experience and if that experience is proprietary and rare;
Above all, All Points Relocation encourages all employers to review the changes thoroughly, and note that this Relo-lert is not intended as an exhaustive consideration of the changes. It is provided for information purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice or counsel. No one should act upon such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. This article has been prepared with the assistance of a certified immigration counsel.