Canada expands Duration of Stay for some Work Visas

Extensions for Intracompany Transferees Work Visas

On September 19th, 2011, Citizenship & Immigration Canada (CIC) provided new guidance concerning the maximum allowable work stay of intracompany transferees (ICTs).  ICTs are certain employees of multinational companies who have been transferred from a company abroad to a related company in Canada.  Those transferred as executives or managers have a cap on their work stay in Canada of seven years, while those transferred based on their possessing specialized knowledge are subject to a cap of five years. ICTs who have reached their work stay cap must work for the company outside of Canada for a year before re-applying to start the work cycle over again as an ICT.

Under prior guidelines it did not make a difference if an ICT spent time outside of Canada during the seven/five year time frame, and the cap remained the same.  Under the new guidance, time spent outside of Canada during the duration of the work permit can be deducted from the total cap, and at the end of the seven/five year period a further extension of work permit may be obtained for the time spent outside of Canada.  This is known as “recapture” of time to allow ICTs full seven/five years of physical presence working in Canada. Thus, it is very important that those of you who are working in Canada as ICTs, document all time spent out of Canada.

Lest you think this is a novel or innovative concept, please note that CIC has simply copied verbatim the idea from US immigration law, where recapture of time has been available for many years to those working in the US under visas such as L-1 and H-1B.

It is noteworthy that in April of this year CIC imposed a four year cap on certain Canadian work permits. A true test of CIC’s innovation will be to see if the notion of recapture is extended to all Canadian work statuses subject to a cap, not just ICTs. However, if CIC wanted to do this, it could have been included with the Sept 19th guidance.

Michael Niren

About Michael Niren

Michael is a graduate of Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto. He is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Canadian Bar Association’s Citizenship and Immigration Section and the Associate Member of the American Bar Association. Read more

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