March 9, 2022



Canada has been a chalk horse of attracting caliber and competence from around the world with its carefully curated immigration programs catering to every segment of the working class. An intra-company transfer is the most prominent option for foreign high-skill workers to relocate to Canada while continuing as an employee under their current company. 

If you’re an employee in a multinational company having its parent company or subsidiary in Canada, you may seamlessly transfer to the Canadian location of your company as an intra-company transferee under Canada’s International Mobility Program. All countries can exercise this option. 


The Intra-Company Transfer Program is characterized by an easier, more accessible and cost-effective relocation to Canada as compared to other programs. Here’s what gives a prospective intra-company transferee an edge:

  • Under this program, a prospective transferee is able to procure a temporary Canadian work visa which exempts him/her from obtaining a Labor Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). That implies that in order to apply for a work permit, the employer is not required to issue a positive LMIA to the transferee, which is otherwise mandatory to hire a temporary foreign worker. 
  • A transferee is not required to take any language proficiency examinations for English or French. Moreover, the role of the Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) is also minimized. 
  • The work experience gained in Canada as an intra-company transferee can catapult a temporary foreign skilled worker to a permanent resident as Canadian work experience is put in high regard and value under the point-based immigration system. However, one may opt out of full-time service in Canada to reside in their native country post the completion of a project/assignment. 
  • The family members can also accompany the transferee to Canada. The transferee’s spouse or common-law partner may get hired for employment under an open work permit. As for school-going children, Canadian public schools offer admissions for free or a nominal fee. 

The Intra-Company Transfer Program enables smooth procurement of talent and expertise from across the globe with minimal formalities and interference from authorities.  



The Intra-Company Transfer Program mandates the workers to be eligible for a category of employment status/position in the employer company i.e. executive, senior manager or specialized knowledge. Their definitions, as adopted under the NAFTA, are summarized as follows:

  • Executive 

An executive position should administer the company’s management or a major part or function thereof. It is identified by wide discretionary powers. Higher-level executives may only exercise general supervision on this position. 

  • Senior Manager

A senior manager should direct the entire organization or a part thereof and supervise or control other managers and professionals under it. 

  • Specialized Knowledge

A worker with specialized knowledge should demonstrate specialized knowledge of the organization’s products and services or expertise in the organization’s process and procedures.  

If a foreign worker qualifies for the above positions, he becomes eligible for an intra-company transfer work permit if he: 

  • is employed with the company full-time for at least one year in the last three years.  
  • relocates to Canada for comparable or equivalent work as in the native country.
  • has a qualifying relationship with the employer. 

The process of applying for a permit depends on the nationality of the prospective transferee. An applicant from a visa-exempt nation or the US can apply at the Port of Entry (POE). However, others have to apply online. 


The employer company must establish that they are conducting business operations in Canada at present and will continue to do so in the future. That implies that the employer company must have a parent, subsidiary or affiliate relationship with the company situated in Canada. 

The prospective transferee can also acquire a work permit if the employer company intends to grow its operations in the Canadian market. In such a case, the company can help establish the involvement of the applicant in such activities. The mere presence of a company in Canada does not meet the requirements for this program. 


Initially, the work permits under this program are granted for a period of one year. Subsequently, they can be renewed. An extension of up to seven years can be claimed for transfers under executive or senior management positions and five years under specialized knowledge positions. Re-entry in Canada requires a stay of at least one year outside Canada. 


All Canadian immigration programs have a dynamic processing period that changes based on the bulk of applicants and market scenario. Normally, the processing time for an intra-company transfer application takes about one or two months. This varies according to the type of application or the immigration category one applies under. An application can be expedited if the transferee application is prioritized under the global skills strategy. 

However, COVID 19 has plundered all immigration procedures and the applicants for a Canadian temporary work permit have faced its brunt. The expected waiting time for such applications is estimated to be 35 weeks and the wait could be even longer for those who have already applied a while back. For most applications, estimating the exact time is a challenge considering the backlog and uncertain working conditions under the prevalent COVID culture. 


The intra-company transfer program is a win-win trade-off between the employer and employee. While companies can seamlessly recruit international talent and expertise with minimal formalities, highly skilled foreign nationals can look for lucrative work prospects beyond their native countries backed by a simpler and cost-effective program.  If you are looking to relocate as an existing multinational company employee or hire one, you may have a fair idea of the complexities of the immigration process. Book an appointment for a hassle-free and comprehensive solution to all immigration queries at Arora Canadian Immigration Consultancy Inc where we walk you through the entire process with in-depth assistance.

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