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Who qualifies as “specialized knowledge” employee for an intracompany transferee work permit for Canada?

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The intracompany transferee (ICT) work permit is a great way to quickly bring in an executive, managerial, or specialized knowledge employee from a foreign corporation to their Canadian branch, affiliate, or subsidiary office.

Unfortunately, the definition is quite strict on who can qualify as a “specialized knowledge” employee. To qualify, the employee must demonstrate he or she has a high degree of bothknowledge at an advanced level of expertise,” and “proprietary knowledge of the company’s product, service, research, equipment, techniques, or management.”

Advanced Level of Expertise

Advanced expertise in this context is defined as specialized knowledge gained through significant (likely gained through long duration of work experience), and recent (within the last 5 years), with which the employee has contributed significantly to the organization. The government will look for the following:

  • Unusual or different abilities that cannot be easily transferred to another individual, knowledge which is highly unusual both within the industry and within the firm;
  • The applicant’s unique knowledge must be critical to the Canadian branch’s business, and a significant disruption of business would occur without the applicant’s expertise;
  • Applicant’s proprietary knowledge of particular business processes or methods of operation must be unusual, not widespread across the organization, and not likely be available in the Canadian labour market.
  • For example, an applicant is likely to be found to have specialized knowledge if they directly contributed to the development of a product, rather than to the implementation of a pre-existing product.
  • High TEER categories (0,1, 2, or 3) with the appropriate degree and extensive experience in a company and the industry, necessary to acquire this specialized knowledge, make it favorable to make a case for specialized knowledge.

Proprietary knowledge

Proprietary knowledge is defined as company-specific expertise related to a company’s product or services, such as specifications that are not divulged to other companies to allow them to duplicate this product or service. Advanced proprietary knowledge can include:

  • Uncommon knowledge of the firm’s products or services and its application in international markets.
  • An advanced level of expertise or knowledge of the enterprise’s processes and procedures such as its production, research, equipment, techniques or management.

Types of evidence to prove specialized knowledge

The applicant can present a variety of evidence to support their case that they have specialized knowledge under the above standard. Relevant documentary evidence includes:

  • Applicant’s resume
  • Reference letters
  • Letter of support from the company
  • Job descriptions that outlines the level of training acquired
  • Years of experience in the field
  • Degrees or certifications obtained in the field
  • List of publications and awards (where applicable)
  • Detailed description of the work to be performed in Canada.

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