Canada’s new Agri-Food Pilot Program will accept the first applications on May 15, 2020. Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) will announce more details closer to the launch date. The Agri-Food Pilot Program was expected to launch in March 2020; however, it was suspended due to the outburst of coronavirus (COVID 19).
The pilot is expected to fill the labour shortages in various fields, particularly in meat processing and mushroom production within the sector and help meet Canada’s ambitious export targets. The pilot is a collaboration between Agriculture and Agri-food Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).
Eligibility for Canada’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot:
To be eligible to participate in the pilot, candidates must have:
- 12 months of full-time, non-seasonal Canadian work experience in the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, in an eligible occupation in processing meat products, raising livestock, or growing mushrooms or greenhouse crops;
- A Canadian Language Benchmark level 4 in English or French;
- An education at the high school level or greater (Canadian equivalency);
- An indeterminate job offer for full-time, non-seasonal work in Canada, outside of Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage.
In the pilot, a maximum of 2,750 principal applicants, plus family members, will be accepted for processing in any given year. This represents a total of approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the three-year duration of the pilot. With permanent resident status, foreign workers would have access to more of the social programs they help pay for through taxation, such as Employment Insurance and the Canadian Pension Plan. With the agri-food immigration pilot, more workers will be able to plan long-term settlement in Canada, rather than a temporary stint with little-to-no hope of settling permanently.