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Agri-Food Pilot Overview + Application Process

The Agri-Food Immigration Pilot began accepting applications in May 2020. The third-year agri-food pilot aims at filling labour shortages, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production, within the agri-food sector and help meet Canada’s ambitious export targets.

The agriculture and agri-food industries are crucial contributors to Canada’s economic progress and vitality, supporting around one in eight jobs in Canada. Agricultural exports hit an all-time high in 2018, reaching $66.2 billion.

The goal is to help the agri-food sector usher in full-time, non-seasonal foreign workers needed to fill growing labour gaps.

This new pilot aims to draw in and retain workers by providing them with a chance to become permanent residents following an initial two-year stint on a short-term working permit, rather than having to renew their work permits repeatedly.

A maximum of two thousand, seven hundred and fifty (2,750) principal applicants, plus relations, are going to be accepted for processing in any given year.

This represents a totality of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the three-year duration of the pilot.

Who is Eligible for Canada’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot?

To be considered eligible for Canada’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot, foreign workers must meet five eligibility requirements:

  • have qualifying work experience
  • have a qualifying job offer
  • meet or exceed the minimum language requirements
  • meet or exceed the tutorial requirements
  • prove you’ve got enough money to settle within the community

1 – Qualifying Work Experience

You must have a minimum of one year of Canadian work experience (at least 1,560 hours within the past three years). This Canadian work experience must be:

  • Non-seasonal;
  • In an eligible occupation within an eligible industry; and
  • Through the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (it must be supported by an LMIA with a minimum 12-month duration).

Eligible Industries

Eligible industries for the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot are

  • meat product manufacturing (NAICS 3116)
  • greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114)
  • animal production, excluding aquaculture (NAICS 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124 or 1129)

Industries are classified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS). you’ll see specific industry definitions by searching the industry codes below on the NAICS website.

Eligible jobs for the pilot are classified by the National Occupational Classification (NOC) code. You will see the duties for every job by searching the NOC database.

Eligible Jobs For Meat Product Manufacturing (NAICS 3116)

  • NOC B 6331 – Retail butchers
  • NOC C 9462 – Industrial butchers
  • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC D 9617 – Food processing labourers

For greenhouse, nursery, and floriculture production, including mushroom production (NAICS 1114), eligible jobs are

  • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC C 8431 – General farm workers
  • NOC D 8611 – Harvesting labourers

For animal production, excluding aquaculture (NAICS 1121, 1122, 1123, 1124, and 1129), eligible jobs are

  • NOC B 8252 – Farm supervisors and specialized livestock workers
  • NOC C 8431 – General farm workers

2 – Qualifying Job Offer

You must have a real job offer from a Canadian employer. This job offer must:

  • Be in an eligible occupation in an eligible industry (see above);
  • Be full-time, non-seasonal, and permanent;
  • The wage must meet or exceed the Work Bank’s prevailing wage for your job offer’s occupation within the province of employment (or at the national level if no provincial rate is available); and
  • Be within the vicinity of Canada but outside the province of Quebec.

3 – Minimum Language Requirements

You must score at the very least of levels, Canadian Language Benchmark (CLB) of Level 4 on an approved language test in either English or French.

4 – Minimum Education Requirements

Minimum completed level of education like a Canadian high school diploma (or higher). Education completed outside Canada must be supported by a legitimate Educational Credentials Assessment (ECA).

5 – Settlement Funds Requirement

You must prove that you have sufficient money to support yourself and your relations upon settlement in Canada.

Those already working in Canada with a legitimate working paper aren’t required to supply proof of funds. If you’re yet to be already working in Canada, the settlement funds requirement is as follows:

Number of family members Funds required (in CAD)
1 (single applicant) $13,213
2 $16,449
3 $20,222
4 $24,553
5 $27,847
6 $31,407
7 $34,967
For each additional family member, add $3,560

How to Apply For Canada’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot?

If you meet the program requirements listed above, then you’ll submit your application for permanent resident status to IRCC.

In order to be qualified to submit an application, it is necessary for the applicant to compile an in-depth application using the guide for application and forms available on the official Agri-Food Immigration Pilot webpage.

You will need to provide documentary evidence that you meet all of the program’s requirements.
upon completion of your application, you’ll be required to submit the application in a hard-copy text by mail to the address listed on the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot webpage.

How does the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot work?
Employers within the agri-food sector who took part in the pilot are eligible for a two-year Labour Market Impact Assessment.

To supplement the pilot, Employment and Social Development Canada are introducing changes that will benefit meat processor employers who are supporting temporary foreign workers in transitioning to permanent residence:

  • A 2-year Labour Market Impact Assessment is going to be issued to qualified meat processor employers, including employers who are using the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot or other existing pathways to permanent residence for temporary foreign workers within the same occupations and industries that are eligible for the pilot.
  • To be considered eligible, meat processors are going to be required to draw out their plans to support their temporary foreign workers in obtaining permanent residency. Furthermore, unionized meat processors would require a letter of support from their union.
  • Non-unionized meat processors will need to meet additional requirements to make sure the labour market and migrant workers are protected. A tri-partite working party is going to be formed immediately to develop these requirements.
  • Adjustments will be made to the way the limit (“cap”) on low-wage temporary foreign workers is calculated, taking into consideration efforts made by employers to assist workers to obtain permanent residence.
  • Employers who have a recent history of recruiting workers who have made the transition to permanent residence might be eligible to be excluded from the limit calculation, variety of workers roughly equivalent to the amount who are likely to acquire permanent residence within the near term.

Why Did Canada Create the Agri-Food Immigration Pilot?

With permanent resident status, foreign workers would have access to more of the social programs they assist in paying for through taxation, like Employment Insurance and the Canadian pension account.

With the agri-food immigration pilot, more workers will have the ability to plan long-term settlements in Canada, instead of a short-term stint with little-to-no hope of settling permanently.

When the agri-food immigration pilot was first proposed earlier in 2019, it had been welcomed by bodies like the Canadian Federation of Agriculture (CFA), with CFA President Mary Robinson stating, “If you’re a farmer and you don’t have secure labour, then you’re less likely to make investments in your industry and you’re less likely to expand your business.

“We know that labour is a limiting factor for tons of agriculture industries in Canada,” added Robinson. “It was reported in 2014 that approximately 26,400 jobs were left unfilled and that we lost 1.5 billion dollars as a result.”

The pilot was designed as a collaboration between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

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