Canada’s new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Project is now open and has began accepting applications on May 15th, 2020. This program mainly aims to fill labour shortages in agricultural industries and help meet Canada’s target in exporting goods. The program was first proposed earlier in 2019 and it runs until May 2023. The program seeks to help the country’s agri-food sector and to attract and retain workers by providing them with an opportunity to become permanent residents.

IRCC has released the program requirements and procedures as well as the eligible and qualifying agricultural industries and occupations which may avail the Agri-Good Immigration Pilot Project.

What are considered eligible agricultural industries and occupations and the annual application limits?

Categories and NOC CodeOccupationAnnual Application Limits
Meat Product Manufacturing  
NOC B 6331  
NOC C 9462  
NOC B 8252    
NOC D 9617
Retail butchers  
Industrial butchers  
Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers   Food processing labourers
1, 470  
1, 470
50  
 
730
Greenhouse, nursery and floriculture production industries  
NOC B 8252    
NOC C 8431  
NOC D 8611
Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers  
Livestock workers  
General farmworkers
Harvesting labourers
50
   
200
 
600
Animal production industry excluding aquaculture  
NOC B 8252    
NOC C 8431
Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers  
Livestock workers
General farmworkers
50    
200

Who is eligible for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot?

To be eligible for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, foreign workers and potential applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements:

#1 Qualifying Canadian work experience must be:

  1. At least 1 year (at least 12 months or 1,560 hours of full-time hours) in the past 3 years prior to applying
  2. Non-seasonal
    1. This means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the 1 year or 12-month duration
  3. In 1 or more eligible occupation within an eligible industry (see table above)
  4. Through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program and supported by an LMIA (Labour Market Impact Assessment) with a minimum of 12-month duration)

#2 Qualifying job offer must be:

  1. In an eligible occupation and in an eligible industry (see table above)
  2. Full-time and permanent
    1. This means you work at least 30 paid hours per week and that there is no set end date of the job being offered
  3. Non-seasonal
    1. This means you have consistent and regularly scheduled paid employment throughout the 1 year or 12-month duration
  4. At or above prevailing wage for the job offer occupation with accordance to the province/territory of employment (or at the national level if no provincial/territorial rate is available)
  5. In Canada that is outside the province of Quebec

#3 Language requirements: a minimum of Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of level 4 in reading, writing, speaking, and listening

  • You must submit your results from an approved language test (eg. IELTS, CELPIP, TEF)
  • These results must be less than 2 years old on the date of your application

#4 Educational requirements: a minimum of the Canadian equivalency of a high school diplomaor greater

  1. An educational credential assessment (ECA) report from a designated organization or professional body is required if you have completed a foreign credential at the secondary level or above
    1. This report must be less than 5 years old on the date of your application
    1. The original report must have been issued on or after the date the organization or professional body was designated

#5 Settlement funds: must prove that you have enough money to support yourself (and your family) after you get to Canada, unless you are already working in Canada. Note: the amount of funds varies per family size and these amounts are updated every year.

The table below shows the minimum amount applicants will need to immigrate to Canada in the year 2020.

How to apply for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot?

Applicants who meet the eligibility and program requirements listed above can submit their application for permanent residence to IRCC (Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada).

It is important to note that IRCC requires applicants to acquire both the qualifying Canadian work experience and qualifying job offer meet the requirements. If the application does not meet both requirements, the application for permanent residence will be refused.

IRCC also requires applicants to complete an application package in accordance to the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot instruction guides and application forms for the principal applicant and employers to fill. Applicants must provide documentary evidence that they meet all the program requirements.

What to expect after applying?

Upon submission of application, immigration officers will check that applicants have:

  • Met all the eligibility and program requirements
  • Submitted their application before the annual limit for their occupation is full (see table above)
  • Filled out the application forms complete and in accordance to the instruction guide
  • Paid the processing fees
  • Included all the required documents

IRCC will then contact applicants to:

  • Confirm that they have received the application
  • Provide fingerprints and photo (biometrics)
  • Confirm that they have reviewed the application
  • Ask for more documents, if necessary
  • Set up an interview, if necessary
  • Inform of the next steps regarding their application

What is the processing time for the permanent residence applications submitted through the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot?

The program had just started accepting applications in May 15th, 2020 and the processing time for this category of permanent residence application has not been posted in the Government of Canada website.

In conclusion, Canada has released the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Project in hopes of filling labour shortages in agricultural industries and meet the country’s target in exporting goods. With this program, more workers will be able to plan for a long-term settlement in Canada rather than a temporary stay which comes with little hope of settling permanently.

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