Canada is launching a new Agri-Food Immigration Pilot program that will begin accepting applications from May 15, 2020. More details regarding the same will be announced by Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) closer to the launch date.

What is Canada’s Agri-Food Immigration Pilot Program?

This three-year pilot program aims to alleviate labor shortages, primarily focusing on meat processing and mushroom production within the Agri-Food sector. This will, in turn, help Canada meet its ambitious export targets.

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The agriculture and Agri-Food industry is a very important factor for Canada’s economic welfare and vitality. This industry supports around one in eight jobs in Canada.

The aim of this pilot program is to bring in full time, non-seasoned foreign workers that are needed to fulfill the labor shortages that are growing.

This program is focused on attracting and retaining workers with the opportunity of becoming permanent residents following an initial 2 year period on a temporary work permit. This way, they won’t have to constantly worry about renewing their work permits.

A total number of 2,750 principal applicants, along with their family members will be accepted for processing in a given year. This would open up approximately 16,500 possible new permanent residents over the three-year pilot program.

The idea is to give permanent resident status to foreign workers, as they would have more access to the social programs they help pay for through taxation. The programs they would benefit from are; Employment insurance & Canadian Pension Plan. This would allow foreign workers to approach this opportunity with a deeper sense of settling down in Canada, rather than a temporary work situation.

This pilot is a collaboration between Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada and Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

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Who all are eligible for Canada’s Agri-Food Pilot program?

The occupations and industries eligible for this program are:

  • Meat processing (retail butcher, industrial butcher, food processing labor)
  • Labor for harvesting year-round mushroom production and greenhouse crop production.
  • General farm worker for year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production, or raising of livestock.
  • Farm supervisor and specialized livestock worker for meat processing, year-round mushroom production, greenhouse crop production or livestock raising.

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’s program, in an eligible occupation mentioned above.
  • A Canadian language benchmark level 4 in English or French.
  • Education at a High-school Level or greater (Canadian Equivalent)
  • An intermediate job offer for full time, non-seasonal work in Canada outside Quebec, at or above the prevailing wage.

Details on how individuals may apply for permanent residency through this pilot program will be available closer to the launch date: May 15, 2020.

Link: Canada.ca

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