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Intra-Company Transfers: Managers, Executives, Workers

Updated: May 15

Intra-company transfer program allows the transfer of managers, executives, and specialized workers from a foreign company to a Canadian company.

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Intra-Company Transfers: Managers, Executives, Workers

As our world becomes more interconnected and globalization continues to dominate the business landscape, intra-company transfers are becoming a more common practice.

Intra-company transfers refer to the movement of employees from one branch or office of a company to another in a different country or location. This practice is beneficial because it allows companies to benefit from the expertise of their employees while expanding into new markets.

This article will be focusing on the transfer categories of managers, executives, and specialized knowledge workers.

Intra-company transfers for managers, executives, and specialized knowledge workers are all different categories that require different qualifications and processes. As a CEO or HR representative, it is important to understand the differences between these categories to ensure a successful transfer. 

Who are Executives and Senior Managers?

Senior or functional managers, for example, are individuals in charge of a department or team, and they must have at least one year of continuous employment with the company before being eligible for an intra-company transfer.

Furthermore, they must have already worked in a managerial role for at least one year with the company before being eligible. 

Functional managers must operate at a senior level within the organization or within the function managed and have discretion over the day-to-day operations of the function.

Executives, on the other hand, are those who hold a senior position in the company, like a CEO, CFO or COO. Intra-company transfers for executives generally have a quicker processing time because they typically have a higher level of mobility than managers. The main requirement for an executive transfer is that the individual must have been employed for at least one year in the company and must have worked in a senior role for at least one year.

When it comes to determining executive and managerial capacities within an organization, there are specific criteria to consider. Let's break it down:

Executive Capacity:

  • The employee primarily directs the management of the organization or a major component/function.

  • They establish goals and policies for the organization, component, or function.

  • They exercise wide latitude in discretionary decision-making.

  • They receive general supervision or direction from higher-level executives, the board of directors, or stockholders.

Managerial Capacity:

  • The employee primarily manages the organization, a department, subdivision, function, or component.

  • They supervise and control the work of other managers/supervisors, professional employees, or manage an essential function.

  • They have the authority to hire, fire, and recommend personnel actions like promotions and leave authorization.

  • If no other employee is directly supervised, they function at a senior level within the organization hierarchy.

  • They exercise discretion over the day-to-day operations of the activity or function they have authority over.

In general, executives and managers play crucial roles in planning, organizing, directing, and controlling business activities. They may operate independently or through middle managers. These individuals are responsible for implementing the organization's policies, while more senior individuals, either alone or with a board of directors, formulate policies that set the overall direction for the business.

Understanding these definitions can help organizations identify and classify employees in executive and managerial roles more effectively.

Who are Specialized Knowledge Workers?

Specialized knowledge workers are those who possess specialized knowledge, skill, or expertise in a particular field or area of work. They include professionals like engineers, IT specialists, and other technical experts. The critical requirements for specialized knowledge worker transfers are that the worker must have worked for the company for at least one year and must possess specialized knowledge that is not readily available in the country they’re transferring to.

ICT specialized knowledge workers must possess "knowledge at an advanced level of expertise" and "proprietary knowledge of the company's product, service, research, equipment, techniques, or management."

The following additional guidance provides further insight into the evaluation criteria:

Balance of Probabilities

To qualify as a specialized knowledge worker, an Intra-company transfer applicant must demonstrate, with a high degree of certainty, both proprietary knowledge and advanced expertise. It is important to note that possessing only proprietary knowledge or advanced expertise alone does not meet the requirements for this exemption.

Proprietary Knowledge

This refers to company-specific expertise related to a company's product or services. It implies that the company has not disclosed specifications that would enable other companies to replicate the same product or service.

Advanced Proprietary Knowledge

To demonstrate advanced proprietary knowledge, an applicant must showcase either uncommon knowledge of the host firm's products/services and their application in international markets, or an advanced level of expertise in the organization's processes, procedures, production, research, equipment, techniques, or management.

Advanced Level of Expertise

An applicant must possess specialized knowledge gained through significant and recent experience (within the last 5 years) with the organization. This knowledge should have significantly contributed to the employer's productivity. Officers evaluating expertise or knowledge consider factors such as uniqueness within the industry and the host firm, the criticality of the applicant's proprietary knowledge to the business, and the potential disruption if that expertise were not available.

It is crucial to assess whether the applicant's abilities are extraordinary and cannot be easily transferred to another individual in the short term. Additionally, the proprietary knowledge should be specific to a particular business process or operational method, not widespread across the organization, and unlikely to be readily available in the Canadian labor market.

Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) Exemption Codes for International Mobility Program Intra-company Transfers (ICT)

Another important factor to note is that intra-company transfers are made possible through LMIA-exempt work permits specifically designed for this purpose. Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) is a popular program under the International Mobility Program that enables companies to transfer their skilled, experienced, and specialized employees from their home country to a Canadian subsidiary, branch, or affiliate. However, before doing so, companies must comply with Canada's immigration laws, including applying for a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA) exemption code. 

The Importance of Understanding the Intra-Company Transfer Categories

For employers, understanding these categories is crucial when planning intra-company transfers. It is necessary to ensure that the employees meet the requirements and qualifications for their respective categories.

For employees, being aware of these categories can help them understand their roles and responsibilities better and prepare for their assignments in the new location.

Intra-company transfers present a valuable opportunity for companies to leverage their global talent, enhance their operations, and drive their growth. At the same time, they provide employees with unique opportunities for career development and growth.

Chitra & Associates: Your Expert in Intra-Company Transfers

At Chitra & Associates, we specialize in facilitating intra-company transfers, helping employers seamlessly relocate their foreign employees to Canada. We have a proven track record of assisting foreign workers in securing their intra-company transfer visas, ensuring a smooth transition for both the company and its staff.

Our spectrum of services includes consultation, application processing, and complete guidance throughout the immigration process. With our wealth of expertise in Canadian immigration laws and procedures, we can make your intra-company transfers an efficient and stress-free process.

Let us help you leverage global talent to drive your operations and growth!


Intra-company transfers are a vital strategy for corporations seeking to tap into their global talent pool and drive their growth. Navigating the complexities of these transfers, however, requires a deep understanding of immigration policies and procedures.

This is where Chitra & Associates can step in as your trusted advisor. Our comprehensive services are designed to ensure a smooth transition, mitigating potential obstacles and ensuring compliance at every stage. Trust us to bridge the gap between your international branches and help you realize your strategic objectives through successful intra-company transfers.

Disclaimer: For the most accurate and updated information, we strongly recommend referring directly to the websites of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), and Service Canada.

A Cautionary Note: The foregoing provides only an overview and does not constitute legal advice. Readers are cautioned against making any decisions based on this material alone. Rather, specific legal advice should be obtained, and the readers are asked to refer to the government website for the most updated information.

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