Effective immediately, the assessment criteria for Immigration officers will include a more rigorous definition of “Specialized Knowledge” for Intra-Company Transferees (“ICTs”) as well as a mandatory wage requirement in some instances.

ICT applicants will now be required to demonstrate:

• A high degree of proprietary knowledge; AND
• Advanced expertise.

Proprietary knowledge alone, or advanced expertise alone will NOT qualify the applicant under the exemption any longer. Proprietary knowledge is company-specific expertise related to a company’s product or services. The applicant will be required to demonstrate uncommon knowledge of the host firms’ products or services and its application in international markets, or an advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the enterprise’s processes and procedures such as its production, research, equipment, techniques, or management. An advanced level of expertise is also required, which requires the individual to 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.

CIC considers specialized knowledge to be knowledge that is unique and uncommon; it will be held by only a small percentage of employees of a given firm. Specialized Knowledge workers must therefore demonstrate that they are key personnel, not simply highly skilled.

Mandatory Wage Floor: If a worker possesses a high standard of specialized knowledge that is uncommon in a particular industry as described above, then the salary should be
consistent with such a specialist. Employers seeking to pursue the Specialized Knowledge entry for certain candidates must at least meet the prevailing Canadian wage as determined by Employment and Skills Development Canada (“ESDC”). Please be advised that this policy does not apply to Specialized Knowledge ICTs entering Canada pursuant to the NAFTA or to any future or current Free Trade Agreements.

Elimination of the Recruitment and and Advertising Exemption for International Students with an Expiring PGWP

Effective immediately, ESDC is ending the Recruitment and Advertisement Exemption for employers wishing to hire international students who have graduated from recognized Canadian post-secondary institutions and have a Post Graduate Work Permit (“PGWP”) shortly expiring.  Employers submitting a Labour Market Opinion to hire an individual transitioning from the PGWP must now ensure that they meet the full scope of requirements (including advertising and recruitment) for the Labour Market Opinion stream in which they apply.

Please contact us with any questions regarding these changes and we will make every effort to assist in these matters.