Operational Bulletin 575 – June 09, 2014
Various Intra-Company Transferees (ICTs) apply under the Specialised Knowledge Labour Market Opinion (LMO) Exemption category. This Operational Bulletin (OB) provides expanded guidance to officers, who process the work permit applications for these ICTs.
Under the new guidelines, the assessment criteria currently includes:
- A more stringent definition of “specialised knowledge” and,
- A mandatory wage requirement for some ICTs
The operational manuals of Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) provide detailed outlines of other aspects of specialised knowledge. Therefore, officers would need to continue considering other aspects of specialised knowledge, as mentioned in the CIC operational manuals.
The new guidelines come into force with immediate effect. Therefore, officers would need to apply the standards and new guidelines contained within this OB for assessing work permit applications hereafter. Officers would need to apply the new standards and guidelines on work permit applications for Specialised Knowledge ICTs received with effect from June 09, 2014.
In the 2012 – 2013 Economic Action Plan, the Government outlined its objectives of:
- Aligning the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) with the labour market demands in a better manner and,
- Ensuring that employers looked to fill temporary labour or skills shortages with people from the domestic labour force as a priority, before turning to the Temporary Foreign Workers (TFWs) to fill these vacancies
Officers have the authority to issue work permits without requiring a labour market test. This is in accordance with the LMO-exempt component of the TFWP. The authorities have given this authority to officers because of the broader benefit to Canada. In the Economic Action Plan 2014 (EAP 2014), the Government declared that it would introduce reforms to the LMO-exempt streams of the TFWP. This was to ensure that the program continues to meet its objective of promoting Canada’s economic interests.
The ICTs constitute one of the LMO-exempt streams. Canada facilitates the entry of a specific set of categories of ICTs into the country. One of the categories is “specialised knowledge” ICTs. Canada facilitates the entry of certain ICTs to enable international companies to:
- Improve the effectiveness of the management
- Expand the domain of Canadian exports and,
- Enhance the competitiveness of Canadian goods and services in the overseas markets
Given this backdrop, it is understandable that the Government is keen to ensure that people are using the program as intended. As a result, the Government is making the assessment of ICTs entering Canada under the Specialised Knowledge category more rigorous. The Government believes that by making the ICT assessment more rigorous, it would be fulfilling the objectives it outlined in the EAP 2014.
Therefore, officers would need to use the amended assessment criteria for processing LMO-exempt work permit applications for Specialised Knowledge ICTs, with immediate effect. The amended assessment criteria would help officers determine:
- Whether the foreign worker possesses a high standard of specialised knowledge and,
- Whether the employer of the foreign worker is paying the foreign worker a wage that is consistent with the prevalent Canadian wages
- As far as the payment of wages at a commensurate level with the prevalent Canadian wages goes, this policy:
- Does not apply to Specialised Knowledge ICTs entering Canada via the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) once in force and,
- Does not apply to any current or future Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with coverage of LMO-Exempt Specialised Knowledge ICTs once in force
- Officers must not include per diems that are non-cash per diems, when they calculate the overall salary or wage of the worker
- Non-cash per diems could typically include expenses borne by the employer such as:
- Hotel expenses
- Officers would need to consider only the following components of a worker’s salary or wage when they assess the application:
- Allowances compensated for in monetary form and,
- Allowances paid directly to the employee
The Guidelines for Temporary Foreign Workers
The authorities would update the instructions based on the latest guidelines and requirements.
Source: Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC)