Major changes for specialized knowledge workers

It’s not as easy for foreign workers and their employers to avoid the LMO process by claiming specialized skills
By Sergio Karas
|Canadian Employment Law Today|Last Updated: 09/17/2014

On June 9, 2014, the federal government published Operational Bulletins (OB) 575, which expands guidelines for immigration officers assessing work permit applications for Intra-Company Transferees with Specialized Knowledge. The OB provides direction to the officers as to how to evaluate the criteria under which those workers are granted work permits. The OB also makes it more difficult to use this exemption from the Labour Market Opinion (LMO) process as it now requires a higher threshold of advanced proprietary knowledge to qualify. Immigration lawyer Sergio Karas looks at the new scrutiny of foreign workers claiming specialized skills.

Following the federal government's scrutiny of the temporary foreign worker program, employers have increasingly looked at ways to bring temporary foreign workers to Canada while avoiding the cumbersome labour market opinion (LMO) process. One of the ways in which this is often done is by using the Intra-Company Transferee category, which allows the transfer of senior managerial and executive personnel — as well as Specialized Knowledge workers who comply with the prescribed criteria — who are performing services for an employer in Canada that is a related entity to their employer abroad. Intra-Company Transferees admitted under the Specialized Knowledge category are LMO exempt. Effective immediately, immigration officers are directed to use the new criteria under the OB to determine if the applicant possesses a high standard of specialized knowledge and is receiving wages that are consistent with the Canadian prevailing wage for that occupation.