A general rule in Canadian Immigration law is that Foreign Nationals require a work permit in order to perform work in Canada legally.   Furthermore, in most cases an employer must obtain a positive Labour Market Opinion (LMO) before the worker is eligible for a work permit.  However, there are number of important exceptions to the rule including Intra-Company Transfers.


In order for an intra-company transfer to qualify for the exemption there must be a qualifying relationship between the Canadian and foreign entity.   An intra-company transfer is available to all qualified companies and individuals irrespective of country of citizenship or business location.


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 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 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.

Work Permit Duration

Work permits may be initially issued for 3 years with 2 year extensions done through Vegraville with a total stay in Canada not to exceed 7 years for executives and Senior Managers and 5 years for those with specialized knowledge.  Once the maximum has been reached, the same employee cannot utilize this category again until one year has elapsed from the date of the expiration of the last permit.